The Magic of Parrot and Echo

I have grown to admire a woman with whom I work on several charitable committees.  Recently, I have begun to study her uncanny ability to win individuals over when in discussions, negotiations, or just in ‘small talk’ scenarios. I have picked up two traits which have clearly been of benefit to her.

1. She practices echoing what others say when in dialogue. For example: someone would say: “I really think the new donor campaign needs to be focused on a new demographic segmentation.”  And her reply is simply: “So, you think the new donor campaign needs to be focused on a new demographic segmentation?”  And before you know it, the other individual has taken the reins of the discussion, feels that she has been heard, and feels acknowledged enough to proceed with her ideas for implementation. All this through a simple ‘echo’ of what the other person said.

2. The other technique she uses is an truncated version of an echo. She simply repeats  – just a like a parrot – the last few words of a person’s commentary. It sounds like this: the other person may say, “The fund raiser was fabulous at the new convention hall.”  She would say, “The new convention hall?”  The reply: “Yes, the new hall was fabulous to house the symphony.”  She would say, “The symphony?” And on and on! I have witnessed this banter going on for over 30 minutes – and I promise this individual did nothing but parrot the last 2-3 words of other persons’ commentary.

How simple – and how effective. This clearly won’t work with every business or social encounter we may have; yet, what an effective way to insure the other person feels heard! All we need to do is be an active listener!  Magic.

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