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Raise the level of conversation by using paraphrasing as a listening skill

By Robert J. Garmston
April 2008
I’ve just left Rome, and though I spoke through a trans- lator, I am very clear that emotion was being expressed in the room. Just as E.E. Cummings knew that feeling is integral to relationships, we know that the expression and recognition of feelings is a major factor in conversa- tional competence. This column explores the importance of expressing feeling and thinking. THINKING AND FEELING Meetings facilitate reflecting, planning, problem solving, constructing, and building community. None of us are cognitive machines, processing only logic and analysis. Decisions are often informed by gut reasoning and feelings. Too often I have seen a group member temporarily overcome with sadness or discomfort, and the group tries to either comfort the person (“It’s all right, dear”) or withdraw. Both

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References

Cummings, E.E. (1994). One hundred selected poems. New York: Grove/Atlantic.


Robert J. Garmston (fabobg@gmail.com) is an emeritus professor of education administration at California State University, Sacramento, and co-developer of Cognitive Coaching and Adaptive Schools.


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