Chris Lakin

Parroting

The only way to understand someone else with certainty.

A simple method to avoid or defuse nearly all misunderstandings.


Someone has just explained an idea, feeling, or opinion of theirs. You think you understand. But, how do you know?

You don’t get to decide whether you understand someone else’s thoughts and feelings: they do.

So, ask them. “Let me see if I’m getting this right, you think/feel X, because Y. Is that accurate?

Though this technique is more than merely mimicking their words, I call asking for confirmation like this ‘parroting’.

Assume nothing in your explanation. Ask questions about anything you do not understand 100% clearly. You can only be certain that you understand by asking them.

It is overwhelmingly likely that your first parroting will not satisfy the other person. This is good!—you wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Repeat until they are satisfied.

Expect this to be fairly difficult.


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Posted 2020 July 23, last updated 2020 November 14.

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