We often don’t learn the value of listening techniques in building relationships. Consequently, people might not realize we are listening; this needs to occur in relationship building.
Reflection phrases our assessment of the other person’s emotions and feelings in a nonjudgmental way. It’s similar to summarization but with a focus on emotions, how others are feeling. This puts us in a better position to assess how others are interpreting our message while letting others know we are in tune with their feelings. Reflection is extremely helpful in venting as part of a conflict management.
Examples of reflection include:
- “You seem very pleased with the assignment.”
- “It’s obvious that you enjoy working with Bob.”
- “It appears that something about this project displeases you.”
- “I can tell that this subject upsets you.”
- “It looks like you’re very happy with the results.”
From a relational perspective, reflection conveys the feeling that we are:
- In tune on a deeper, human level
- Appreciating their feelings
- Finding their emotions important and worthy of discussion
- Grasping the seriousness or importance of the conversation’s subject matter
- Aware of their emotional state
The effect of reflection is to:
- Lower emotional barriers preventing a positive conversation
- Establish an emotional connection
- Encourage additional conversation on a more open, truthful level
Reflection is the most difficult of the relationship techniques because emotions are fuzzy, making them difficult to assess and verbalize. As with summarization, it’s used less frequently, but covers a lot of ground. It does a great job of uncovering underlying emotions because even if we’re wrong, others will likely correct us by stating their true feelings.
Since emotions often determine people’s interpretations, reflection is a very important technique in an integrated, holistic package of relationship building ones.
- Relationship Building Technique #1: Open-ended Questions
- Relationship Building Technique #2: Closed Questions
- Relationship Building Technique #3: Pause
- Relationship Building Technique #4: Acknowledgement
- Relationship Building Technique #5: Encouragement
- Relationship Building Technique #6: Synchronization
- Relationship Building Technique #7: Summarization
- Relationship Building Technique #8: Reflection