This is a sequel to my previous post. That tip was about asking questions. This tip is called Refer Back. It too helps us become a better conversationalist overnight.
As with questions, the Refer Back Tip (RBT), shows we are listening. It is one thing to listen. It is another to show we are. RBT helps with that.
Advancements in artificial intelligence have shown another value in this tip. It is hard to include it in the conversational program of computers. Our use of it then adds a more human, dynamic quality to our conversations.
RBT has two parts:
- A transition statement referencing an earlier comment
- A question about that comment
The figure to the right helps us see how this works. It gives a sample transition statement. It follows this with seven sample questions.
The keys to using this tip are:
- Listening for opportunities to refer back
- Asking the right question to make the transition seamless
Here are some other examples.
- I found your comment earlier about ____________ fascinating. What other insights can you share on that?
- I’d like to go back to something you said before about ____________. How would you apply that in a situation where____________?
- I thought what you said earlier about ____________ was important. What other reasons can you give?
This tip is also very useful with endless talkers. It helps us refocus them on the topics we want. In this way, their comments become the menu from which we select what we want to hear.
Why This Makes Us a Better Conversationalist
The main reason why RBT makes us a better conversationalist is that we make conversations better. It not only shows we listen. It shows we add a unique aspect to the conversation.
It is this. Research on how conversations flow shows that they go with the most recent comment. If I mention cars and then someone mentions houses, the third person will likely talk about houses.
It is so predictable. This is a major way we program computers to continue conversations. They focus on the last thing we said.
RBT adds spice to conversations. It breaks up their mundane, predictable flow. We make conversations better. That makes us better conversationalists.