Paraphrasing plays a crucial role in effective listening. However, I don’t use it all the time, as it largely depends on the situation at hand. When I do use it, I am aware of how challenging it can be. I recall an encounter from years ago with someone who always asserted her hierarchical superiority. She said, “So what you’re saying is…” I thought to myself, “That’s not what I meant to say.” I didn’t express this thought, as the following sentence was, “Please do correct me if I misunderstood.” At that moment, it seemed like this person believed she understood me, but she actually didn’t. Reflecting on this conversation later that evening, I realized that I have also made similar statements, which can come off as arrogant or make someone feel unheard. It was an eye-opening experience that prompted me to find a more suitable and respectful language that allows others to express themselves. I can’t recall where I got my inspiration, but I now often say, “What I hear you saying is…” and “Please tell me where I’ve misunderstood.” It’s something I’m still practicing and working on regularly.
Art: Paraphrase by Dor Perez