Make Better Conversations By Repeating The Other Person’s Words

Make Better Conversations By Repeating The Other Person’s Words

If you want to be great at making and continuing conversations, you have to be a good listener. Barking Up the Wrong Tree’s Eric Barker points out one way to do active listening that hostage negotiators use to build rapport: repeat the last few words your companion said.

Photo by crazytales562.

Social skills expert and author Leil Lowndes recommends simple repetition.

Via How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships:

…simply repeat — or parrot — the last two or three words your companion said, in a sympathetic, questioning tone. That throws the conversational ball right back in your partner’s court.

It shows you’re listening, interested, and lets them get back to telling their story.

You’ve got to be slightly savvy about this one but it’s surprisingly effective.

Surprisingly effective?

Yes, it is.

It is?

Research shows repetition is effective in negotiations as well.

Of course, you can’t use this too much during a conversation, lest you really sound like a parrot, but it’s one way to stay more engaged while talking with someone else and keep the conversation going.

How To Make People Like You: 6 Science-Based Conversation Hacks [Barking Up the Wrong Tree]


  • This is only effective if you don’t have to focus on repeating the words. It is easy to get distracted using this method.

  • Whenever anyone does this to me, I think they’re being insincere or they’re using a technique on me.

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