Relationship Building Technique #7: Summarization
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.
Summarization rephrases the information or key points of the person in a condensed version. The technique verifies what we heard, demonstrates listening, allows focusing of the conversation, and defines parameters for additional discussions. It also allows the other person – once we summarize – to alter, modify or restate so we can correct misunderstandings early.
Typically, summarization will rephrase the point of a sentence, paragraph or entire discussion. The focus is on subject matter not feelings and emotions, such as:
Of all the relationship-building techniques, it will tend to be the most lengthy and involved; however, if too long, its effectiveness diminishes. Often it’s followed by a closed question such as, “Did I understand you correctly?”
Examples of Summarization
Some examples of summarization include:
- “Just to make sure I heard you right, Jack, you’d like us to find a way to secure a steady supply of our old product from this vendor, to negotiate a price based upon our minimum usage, and to find someone else to produce our new product.”
- “To make sure I’m on the same page, let me summarize what I heard. You want to send Sue and Tom out west and to promote Sally to run the plant. Also, you want to find a recruiter to help us to fill Sally’s job and to find us a good service person to manage our top customer.”
- “It seems that what you’re saying is that you want us to start over.”
How Summarization Works
From a relational perspective, summarization conveys the feeling that you are:
- Understanding and valuing what the person is saying
- Paying attention to detail and quality
- Someone in whom the person can have confidence
The effect of this is to create:
- A common understanding of what was said
- Opportunities for correcting any misunderstandings upfront
- Confidence in your abilities in the eyes of the other person
- Confirmation that you know what was said or needs to be done
Summarization, is really a result of the other relationship techniques. It’s used less frequently, but when it is it covers a lot of ground – often the entire conversation. Summarization heads off many problems before they damage relationships. It has helped me much in my career.
- 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
- Reflection Tip to Build Strong Relationships in Conversations
- Crash Course On Becoming A Better Conversationalist By Tomorrow
Very informative and exactly what we need in training our sales people!
Thank you, Michael, for the compliment. I appreciate it.