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Matt Abrahams: The Power of the Paraphrase

An expert on public speaking shows how paraphrasing can help you navigate tricky communication situations.

November 19, 2014

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

A job seeker raises his hand to ask a question | Reuters/Rick Wilking

When you are giving a public presentation, don’t you hate it when you face … the dreaded question. You know the one: the emotionally loaded challenge that serves to undermine everything you presented prior. You had hoped you wouldn’t get it, but here it is. Or, you may face … the obnoxious meeting participant. You know this guy: He thinks he’s Mr. Smarty-Pants and wants everyone to know it. He ruins your meeting by going on long rants that contribute little and waste much.

These two situations can make even the most confident and calm speaker nervous. One powerful way to navigate your way through these two tricky communication situations is to rely on paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is a listening and reflecting tool where you restate what others say in your own words. The most effective paraphrases concisely capture the essence of what another speaker says. For example, at the end of your presentation a questioner asks: “In the past you have been slow to release new products. How soon will your new product be available?” You might paraphrase her question in one of the following ways:

  • “You’re asking about our availability.”
  • “You’d like to know about our release schedule.”
  • “Our release timeline will be … ”

Effective paraphrasing affords you several benefits. In Q&A sessions, for instance, it allows you to:

Make sure you understood the question correctly. After your paraphrase, the question asker has the opportunity to correct you or refine his or her question. There is no sense in answering a question you were not asked.

Think before you respond. Paraphrasing is not very mentally taxing, so while you are speaking your paraphrase you can begin to think of your response.

Acknowledge emotions prior to addressing the issue(s). Occasionally, you may find yourself confronted with an emotionally laden question. In order to be seen as empathetic, and to get the asker to “hear” your answer, you should recognize the emotion as part of your paraphrase. To a questioner who asks, “I get really exasperated when I try to use some of your features. How are you going to make it easier to use your product?” you might say: “I hear that you have emotion around the complexity of our offering.” By acknowledging the emotion, you can more easily move beyond it to address the issue at hand. Please note that you should avoid labeling the emotion, even if the asker does. If someone seems angry, it is better to use terms such as “strong emotion,” “clear concern,” and “passion.” I have seen a number of speakers get into a labeling battle with an audience member when the speaker names a specific emotion that the asker took offense to (e.g., saying an audience member seems frustrated when he is actually angry).

Reframe the question to focus on something you feel more comfortable addressing. I am not recommending pulling a politician’s trick and pivoting to answer the question you wanted rather than the one you got. Instead, by paraphrasing, you can make the question more comfortable for you to answer. The most striking example I have come across was in a sales situation where a prospect asked the presenter: “How come your prices are ridiculously expensive?” Clearly, the paraphrase “So you’re asking about our ridiculous pricing” is not the way to go. Rather, you can reframe the issue in your paraphrase to be about a topic you are better prepared to address. For example, “So you’d like to know about our product’s value.” Price is clearly part of value, but you start by describing the value and return on investment, which will likely soften the blow of the price.

Using paraphrases can also help you in facilitation situations, such as a meeting. In meetings, paraphrasing allows you to:

Acknowledge the participant’s effort. For many people, contributing in meetings can be daunting. There are real consequences for misspeaking or sounding unprepared. By paraphrasing the contributions you get from others, you validate the person’s effort by signaling that you really listened and valued their input.

Link various questions/ideas. You can pull together disparate contributions and questions and engage different participants by relating a current statement to previous ones. For example, you might say: “Your comment about our profitability links to the question a few minutes ago about our financial outlook.”

Manage over-contributors. Someone who over-shares or dominates a meeting with his or her opinions can be very disruptive and disrespectful. If it is your meeting, then the other participants will expect you to manage the situation. If you don’t, you will lose control and potentially credibility. Paraphrasing can help you move beyond the over-contributor while looking tactful. Fortunately, even the most loquacious person needs to inhale once in a while. During a pause, simply paraphrase a meaningful portion of the person’s diatribe and place focus elsewhere — to another person or topic. For example, you might say, “Forrest’s point about manufacturing delays is a good one. Laurie, what do you think?” Or, “Forrest’s point about manufacturing delays is a good one. What other issues are affecting our release schedule?” In both cases, you have politely informed Forrest that he is done, and you’ve turned the focus away from him and back to your agenda.

Beginning a paraphrase can sometimes be tricky, and people often ask me for suggestions for ways to initiate their paraphrases. Try one of the following lines to help you start your paraphrase:

  • “So what you are saying/asking is … ”
  • “What is important to you is … ”
  • “You’d like to know more about … ”
  • “The central idea of your question/comment is … ”

Paraphrasing has the power to help you connect with your audience, manage emotions, and steer the conversation. And once you begin to use the technique, you will realize it has the power to help you not only in presentations and meetings, but in virtually any interpersonal conversation.

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July 25, 2014 Matt Abrahams: A Good Question Can Be the Key to a Successful Presentation A Stanford GSB lecturer and expert on public speaking explains how you can become a more compelling and confident presenter by asking – not telling – in the right situations.

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Mastering communication: paraphrasing and summarizing skills.

A-bussiness-woman-discussing-with-a-man-in-an-office.

Two very useful skills in communicating with others, including when coaching and facilitating, are paraphrasing and summarizing the thoughts of others.

How to Paraphrase When Communicating and Coaching With Others

Paraphrasing is repeating in your words what you interpreted someone else to be saying. Paraphrasing is powerful means to further the understanding of the other person and yourself, and can greatly increase the impact of another’s comments. It can translate comments so that even more people can understand them. When paraphrasing:

  • Put the focus of the paraphrase on what the other person implied, not on what you wanted him/her to imply, e.g., don’t say, “I believe what you meant to say was …”. Instead, say “If I’m hearing you right, you conveyed that …?”
  • Phrase the paraphrase as a question, “So you’re saying that …?”, so that the other person has the responsibility and opportunity to refine his/her original comments in response to your question.
  • Put the focus of the paraphrase on the other person, e.g., if the person said, “I don’t get enough resources to do what I want,” then don’t paraphrase, “We probably all don’t get what we want, right?”
  • Put the ownership of the paraphrase on yourself, e.g., “If I’m hearing you right …?” or “If I understand you correctly …?”
  • Put the ownership of the other person’s words on him/her, e.g., say “If I understand you right, you’re saying that …?” or “… you believe that …?” or “… you feel that …?”
  • In the paraphrase, use some of the words that the other person used. For example, if the other person said, “I think we should do more planning around here.” You might paraphrase, “If I’m hearing you right in this strategic planning workshop, you believe that more strategic planning should be done in our community?”
  • Don’t judge or evaluate the other person’s comments, e.g., don’t say, “I wonder if you really believe that?” or “Don’t you feel out-on-a-limb making that comment?”
  • You can use a paraphrase to validate your impression of the other’s comments, e.g., you could say, “So you were frustrated when …?”
  • The paraphrase should be shorter than the original comments made by the other person.
  • If the other person responds to your paraphrase that you still don’t understand him/her, then give the other person 1-2 chances to restate his position. Then you might cease the paraphrasing; otherwise, you might embarrass or provoke the other person.

How to Effectively Summarize

A summary is a concise overview of the most important points from a communication, whether it’s from a conversation, presentation or document. Summarizing is a very important skill for an effective communicator.

A good summary can verify that people are understanding each other, can make communications more efficient, and can ensure that the highlights of communications are captured and utilized.

When summarizing, consider the following guidelines:

  • When listening or reading, look for the main ideas being conveyed.
  • Look for any one major point that comes from the communication. What is the person trying to accomplish in the communication?
  • Organize the main ideas, either just in your mind or written down.
  • Write a summary that lists and organizes the main ideas, along with the major point of the communicator.
  • The summary should always be shorter than the original communication.
  • Does not introduce any new main points into the summary – if you do, make it clear that you’re adding them.
  • If possible, have other readers or listeners also read your summary and tell you if it is understandable, accurate and complete.

For many related, free online resources, see the following Free Management Library’s topics:

  • All About Personal and Professional Coaching
  • Communications Skills
  • Skills in Questioning
  • Team Building
  • LinkedIn Discussion Group about “Coaching for Everyone”

————————————————————————-

Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD – Authenticity Consulting, LLC – 763-971-8890 Read my blogs: Boards , Consulting and OD , and Strategic Planning .

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

Carter McNamara

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Paraphrasing Examples for Better Communication

Paraphrasing is a vital communication skill that helps simplify complex ideas, foster understanding, and enhance interpersonal relationships

Olga Ayvazyan

Why is paraphrasing important for better communication?

Paraphrasing is crucial for better communication because it helps simplify complex ideas, making them easier for the audience to understand. It also demonstrates active listening and engagement, fosters empathy, and allows for effective communication across diverse cultural backgrounds.

What are some tips for effective paraphrasing?

To paraphrase effectively, read and understand the original content thoroughly. Use your own words and sentence structure while maintaining the overall meaning and context. Incorporate synonyms and alternative phrasing where appropriate, and remember to cite the source if using specific ideas or information from it.

How can paraphrasing enhance relationships in personal and professional settings?

Paraphrasing can enhance relationships by showing that you have understood and considered the speaker's perspective, leading to greater empathy and rapport. In professional settings, it can promote collaboration and understanding among team members, while in personal relationships, it fosters effective communication and mutual understanding.

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

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Paraphrasing Examples for Better Communication

Effective communication is vital in today's fast-paced world. Paraphrasing is a valuable tool that helps people convey complex ideas and information in a simplified and understandable manner. Here we will discuss the importance of paraphrasing for better communication and provide examples that demonstrate its application in different contexts.

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing involves expressing the ideas, thoughts, or information found in another source using your own words. It is a vital skill in many professional, academic, and everyday situations where accurate and clear communication is necessary. The goal of paraphrasing is to simplify or clarify the original message while maintaining its essence and meaning.

Why is Paraphrasing Important for Better Communication?

  • Improved Understanding: Paraphrasing helps in breaking down complex ideas and jargon into simpler language, making it easier for your audience to grasp the message you are trying to convey.
  • Avoiding Plagiarism: In academic and professional settings, paraphrasing is essential to avoid plagiarism, which can have severe consequences for one's reputation and career.
  • Active Listening: Paraphrasing demonstrates active listening and engagement in a conversation, showing that you have understood and considered the speaker's perspective.
  • Enhancing Relationships: Paraphrasing can foster empathy and rapport between the communicator and the recipient, promoting collaboration and understanding in personal and professional relationships.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Paraphrasing can help in adapting the message to suit the cultural context and language of the audience, ensuring effective communication across different backgrounds.

Tips for Effective Paraphrasing

  • Read and understand the original content thoroughly.
  • Use your own words and sentence structure.
  • Maintain the overall meaning and context of the original source.
  • Use synonyms and alternative phrasing where appropriate.
  • Cite the source if you are using specific ideas or information from it.

Original Statement (1): The current rate of global warming is alarming, and if we don't take significant steps to reduce our carbon footprint, the consequences could be catastrophic for future generations.

Paraphrase Example: The speed at which our planet is heating up is deeply concerning, and if we don't make substantial efforts to lower our carbon emissions, the impact on our descendants could be disastrous.

Original Statement (2): Many companies now offer flexible work arrangements, including remote work and flextime, which provide employees with better work-life balance and increased job satisfaction.

Paraphrase Example: Numerous businesses are now introducing adaptable work options, such as working from home and flexible hours, leading to an improved balance between personal and professional life and higher employee contentment.

Original Statement (3): A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are crucial for maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases.

Paraphrase Example: Eating a varied and nutritious diet, staying physically active, and getting enough rest are essential for preserving our overall well-being and avoiding long-term health issues.

Original Statement (4): In today's fast-paced business environment, effective communication is a key factor in fostering collaboration, productivity, and innovation.

Paraphrase Example: In the rapidly-evolving corporate world, efficient communication plays a pivotal role in promoting teamwork, enhancing output, and stimulating creativity.

Original Statement (5): Research has shown that students who engage in extracurricular activities tend to have better academic performance and develop important life skills, such as time management, problem-solving, and teamwork.

Paraphrase Example: Studies indicate that students who participate in after-school activities generally demonstrate higher academic achievement and acquire crucial life competencies, including organizing their time, finding solutions to challenges, and working collaboratively.

As you can see, paraphrasing is a vital communication skill that helps simplify complex ideas, foster understanding, and enhance interpersonal relationships. By mastering the art of paraphrasing, you can improve your communication in various professional, academic, and personal settings. As demonstrated, paraphrasing allows for the clearer and more accessible expression of ideas, ensuring that the intended message is effectively conveyed to the listener. In a world where effective communication is paramount, developing strong paraphrasing skills can greatly contribute to success in both personal and professional spheres.

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Olga Ayvazyan

Non-Native English Speaker & Tech Professional, First-Generation Immigrant

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How To Paraphrase For Effective Communication

Paraphrasing For Effective Communication

Today we're going to talk about paraphrasing.

Unfortunately, paraphrasing is a word that gets used and misused a lot.

It's frequently misused because people don't understand exactly what it is.

The idea behind paraphrasing paraphrasing is that you give back what you you think the other person meant by what they said.

It's not simply repeating the words back. That's parroting and of absolutely no value in a high impact conversation.

Here's an example:

If I say to you, "I'm really worried about the way boss is mismanaging the budget."

You don't want to just repeat back to me,  "so what you're telling me is you're really worried about the boss and the way he's mismanaging the budget?"

You want to say something like, "So, if I understand you correctly, you're very concerned about the boss and what he's doing and how it might affect you in the future."

This is what you think they meant by what they said, not just repeating back their words.

The other person will say yes or no, and they'll verify whether you got it right or not. Here's a quick overview of the communication cycle.

We think in ideas, not words so communication starts with the idea one person wants to transmit to another person.

In order to communicate the idea to someone else, it has to be encoded in words, colors, body language, or some other medium

Next it is transmitted to the other person and they decode it to extract the idea.

The last little piece is the feedback loop where the listener paraphrases to verify that they have decoded and received the idea as the sender intended.

effective-communication-cycle

So from now on, don't just repeat back what they say. Especially if it is an important conversation.

Any parrot can do that

Be sure to tell the other person what you think they meant by what they said. That's paraphrasing. Start using it today and as soon as you use it, drop me a comment to let me know.

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The Power of Communication: The Principle of Paraphrasing

This lesson is a part of an audio course the power of communication: learning to communicate effectively by hans fleurimont.

Let's talk about paraphrasing and why in my view it is a very important principle to know and to understand. A paraphrase is an accurate response to the person who’s speaking, which states the essence of the speaker’s words in the listener’s own words. To put it another way to paraphrase is to express the meaning of something written or spoken using different words in order to achieve greater clarity. (And that what I just did was an example of paraphrasing).

So if I’m talking to someone and they’re explaining something to me, what I would do is paraphrase what they just said but in my own words. For example, let’s say that my wife is talking about her day and what she did at work and she is explaining the process of doing someone's taxes to me. So she says:

“One of my clients got all upset because they didn’t receive the whole amount they expected from their tax return and they threw a fit in the office.”

And then I would say “So they got mad because it was less than what they thought.” It’s as simple as that. You can paraphrase what someone says to you and you can also paraphrase something you said (Like how I did earlier). So now let’s talk about what goes into paraphrasing.

The Essential Elements of Paraphrasing Are:

  • Condensed. A good paraphrase is accurate. When people begin using this technique, they tend to be too wordy. A paraphrase should be shorter than the speaker’s statement.
  • Only the essentials. An effective paraphrase reflects only the essentials of the speaker’s message. It cuts through the clutter of details and focuses on what is central in the original message.
  • Focus on the Information. Another Characteristic of a paraphrase is that it focuses on the content of the message. It deals with the facts or ideas rather than the emotions the sender is expressing. Even though a firm distinction between facts and feelings is artificial, paraphrasing focuses on the content of the message.
  • Stated in the listener’s own words. The listener summarizes their understanding of what they heard in their own words. Repeating the speaker’s exact words (which is parroting) usually stifles or dry’s up a conversation, while paraphrasing, when used appropriately, can contribute greatly to the communication between people.

Example of Paraphrasing

Here is another example of paraphrasing:

Person A says “I want to bring you up to speed on a particular project. I talked with Claire, and she has been meeting with people at the state level for weeks about the funding. Things sound really up in the air. We should proceed with caution until we know more.”

One way we can paraphrase this statement is by saying “So the whole project is dependent on whether or not state funding goes through.”

This is just a quick example but there are many ways you can use paraphrases.

Always remember paraphrasing is very useful because it shows the person or people we are talking to that we are actively listening to them and that we understand what they are communicating with us. It is also helpful when you are teaching or giving instructions to a group of people. To paraphrase, it's a great principle to use when communicating. Believe me, the ability to paraphrase helps a whole lot especially in meetings with important people in your career and life.

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Article • 12 min read

How to Paraphrase and Summarize Work

Summing up key ideas in your own words.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

Imagine you're preparing a presentation for your CEO. You asked everyone in your team to contribute, and they all had plenty to say!

But now you have a dozen reports, all in different styles, and your CEO says that she can spare only 10 minutes to read the final version. What do you do?

The solution is to paraphrase and summarize the reports, so your boss gets only the key information that she needs, in a form that she can process quickly.

In this article, we explain how to paraphrase and how to summarize, and how to apply these techniques to text and the spoken word. We also explore the differences between the two skills, and point out the pitfalls to avoid.

What Is Paraphrasing?

When you paraphrase, you use your own words to express something that was written or said by another person.

Putting it into your own words can clarify the message, make it more relevant to your audience , or give it greater impact.

You might use paraphrased material to support your own argument or viewpoint. Or, if you're putting together a report , presentation or speech , you can use paraphrasing to maintain a consistent style, and to avoid lengthy quotations from the original text or conversation.

Paraphrased material should keep its original meaning and (approximate) length, but you can use it to pick out a single point from a longer discussion.

What Is Summarizing?

In contrast, a summary is a brief overview of an entire discussion or argument. You might summarize a whole research paper or conversation in a single paragraph, for example, or with a series of bullet points, using your own words and style.

People often summarize when the original material is long, or to emphasize key facts or points. Summaries leave out detail or examples that may distract the reader from the most important information, and they simplify complex arguments, grammar and vocabulary.

Used correctly, summarizing and paraphrasing can save time, increase understanding, and give authority and credibility to your work. Both tools are useful when the precise wording of the original communication is less important than its overall meaning.

How to Paraphrase Text

To paraphrase text, follow these four steps:

1. Read and Make Notes

Carefully read the text that you want to paraphrase. Highlight, underline or note down important terms and phrases that you need to remember.

2. Find Different Terms

Find equivalent words or phrases (synonyms) to use in place of the ones that you've picked out. A dictionary, thesaurus or online search can be useful here, but take care to preserve the meaning of the original text, particularly if you're dealing with technical or scientific terms.

3. Put the Text into Your Own Words

Rewrite the original text, line by line. Simplify the grammar and vocabulary, adjust the order of the words and sentences, and replace "passive" expressions with "active" ones (for example, you could change "The new supplier was contacted by Nusrat" to "Nusrat contacted the new supplier").

Remove complex clauses, and break longer sentences into shorter ones. All of this will make your new version easier to understand .

4. Check Your Work

Check your work by comparing it to the original. Your paraphrase should be clear and simple, and written in your own words. It may be shorter, but it should include all of the necessary detail.

Paraphrasing: an Example

Despite the undoubted fact that everyone's vision of what constitutes success is different, one should spend one's time establishing and finalizing one's personal vision of it. Otherwise, how can you possibly understand what your final destination might be, or whether or not your decisions are assisting you in moving in the direction of the goals which you've set yourself?

The two kinds of statement – mission and vision – can be invaluable to your approach, aiding you, as they do, in focusing on your primary goal, and quickly identifying possibilities that you might wish to exploit and explore.

We all have different ideas about success. What's important is that you spend time defining your version of success. That way, you'll understand what you should be working toward. You'll also know if your decisions are helping you to move toward your goals.

Used as part of your personal approach to goal-setting, mission and vision statements are useful for bringing sharp focus to your most important goal, and for helping you to quickly identify which opportunities you should pursue.

How to Paraphrase Speech

In a conversation – a meeting or coaching session, for example – paraphrasing is a good way to make sure that you have correctly understood what the other person has said.

This requires two additional skills: active listening and asking the right questions .

Useful questions include:

  • If I hear you correctly, you're saying that…?
  • So you mean that…? Is that right?
  • Did I understand you when you said that…?

You can use questions like these to repeat the speaker's words back to them. For instance, if the person says, "We just don't have the funds available for these projects," you could reply: "If I understand you correctly, you're saying that our organization can't afford to pay for my team's projects?"

This may seem repetitive, but it gives the speaker the opportunity to highlight any misunderstandings, or to clarify their position.

When you're paraphrasing conversations in this way, take care not to introduce new ideas or information, and not to make judgments on what the other person has said, or to "spin" their words toward what you want to hear. Instead, simply restate their position as you understand it.

Sometimes, you may need to paraphrase a speech or a presentation. Perhaps you want to report back to your team, or write about it in a company blog, for example.

In these cases it's a good idea to make summary notes as you listen, and to work them up into a paraphrase later. (See How to Summarize Text or Speech, below.)

How to Summarize Text or Speech

Follow steps 1-5 below to summarize text. To summarize spoken material – a speech, a meeting, or a presentation, for example – start at step three.

1. Get a General Idea of the Original

First, speed read the text that you're summarizing to get a general impression of its content. Pay particular attention to the title, introduction, conclusion, and the headings and subheadings.

2. Check Your Understanding

Build your comprehension of the text by reading it again more carefully. Check that your initial interpretation of the content was correct.

3. Make Notes

Take notes on what you're reading or listening to. Use bullet points, and introduce each bullet with a key word or idea. Write down only one point or idea for each bullet.

If you're summarizing spoken material, you may not have much time on each point before the speaker moves on. If you can, obtain a meeting agenda, a copy of the presentation, or a transcript of the speech in advance, so you know what's coming.

Make sure your notes are concise, well-ordered, and include only the points that really matter.

The Cornell Note-Taking System is an effective way to organize your notes as you write them, so that you can easily identify key points and actions later. Our article, Writing Meeting Notes , also contains plenty of useful advice.

4. Write Your Summary

Bullet points or numbered lists are often an acceptable format for summaries – for example, on presentation slides, in the minutes of a meeting, or in Key Points sections like the one at the end of this article.

However, don't just use the bulleted notes that you took in step 3. They'll likely need editing or "polishing" if you want other people to understand them.

Some summaries, such as research paper abstracts, press releases, and marketing copy, require continuous prose. If this is the case, write your summary as a paragraph, turning each bullet point into a full sentence.

Aim to use only your own notes, and refer to original documents or recordings only if you really need to. This helps to ensure that you use your own words.

If you're summarizing speech, do so as soon as possible after the event, while it's still fresh in your mind.

5. Check Your Work

Your summary should be a brief but informative outline of the original. Check that you've expressed all of the most important points in your own words, and that you've left out any unnecessary detail.

Summarizing: an Example

So how do you go about identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you to do this.

What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you to uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward in your role.

If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities that you need in order to advance your career and to help you achieve your personal goals.

SWOT Analysis is a technique that helps you identify strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats. Understanding and managing these factors helps you to develop the abilities you need to achieve your goals and progress in your career.

Permission and Citations

If you intend to publish or circulate your document, it's important to seek permission from the copyright holder of the material that you've paraphrased or summarized. Failure to do so can leave you open to allegations of plagiarism, or even legal action.

It's good practice to cite your sources with a footnote, or with a reference in the text to a list of sources at the end of your document. There are several standard citation styles – choose one and apply it consistently, or follow your organization's house style guidelines.

As well as acknowledging the original author, citations tell you, the reader, that you're reading paraphrased or summarized material. This enables you to check the original source if you think that someone else's words may have been misused or misinterpreted.

Some writers might use others' ideas to prop up their own, but include only what suits them, for instance. Others may have misunderstood the original arguments, or "twisted" them by adding their own material.

If you're wary, or you find problems with the work, you may prefer to seek more reliable sources of information. (See our article, How to Spot Real and Fake News , for more on this.)

Paraphrasing means rephrasing text or speech in your own words, without changing its meaning. Summarizing means cutting it down to its bare essentials. You can use both techniques to clarify and simplify complex information or ideas.

To paraphrase text:

  • Read and make notes.
  • Find different terms.
  • Put the text into your own words.
  • Check your work.

You can also use paraphrasing in a meeting or conversation, by listening carefully to what's being said and repeating it back to the speaker to check that you have understood it correctly.

To summarize text or speech:

  • Get a general idea of the original.
  • Check your understanding.
  • Make notes.
  • Write your summary.

Seek permission for any copyrighted material that you use, and cite it appropriately.

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What Is Paraphrasing and Why Do We Do It?

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

To put it simply: paraphrasing condenses information or the main points taken from another source and expresses or interprets it in your own words and writing style. Learning the art of paraphrasing involves comprehending, synthesizing, and conveying information in an original format. This technique is often used in college coursework such as research papers where plagiarism is strictly prohibited, and direct quotations should be kept to a minimum.

Paraphrasing is a valuable technique that you can use in many forms of writing and speaking, such as presentations, speeches, blogs, articles, and any other forms of communication where original ideas are shared. In today’s world, there are even paraphrasing tools such as Quillbot AI and Paraphraser.io leveraging technology and AI to help writers paraphrase while avoiding plagiarism.

Read on to learn all about what paraphrasing is, why it’s important and how to put this valuable rewording technique to use. 

Fast Facts About Paraphrasing

  • Paraphrasing is a valuable skill for speaking and writing original content in your own words.
  • When paraphrasing, it is important to keep the facts and express the original idea without copying the original content. 
  • A common goal of paraphrasing is to distill information concisely, creating more clarity, relevance, and/or impact for the receiver of information.

Are Paraphrasing and Plagiarism the Same?

There is a distinct difference between paraphrasing and plagiarism, and a lot of it is based on intention. If the paraphrased wording or sentence structure looks too close to the original passage, then one will assume that the writer is passing it off as their own work.

Unfortunately, intentionally plagiarizing can lead to failing a class, job loss, and even a damaged reputation or career.

A direct quotation is typically permitted if a text citation acknowledges the source. APA in-text citation style guidelines use the author's last name and year of publication when you refer to, paraphrase, summarize or use quotation marks for information from the direct source material.  

Plagiarism is considered intellectual theft and is strictly prohibited in academia and for legal reasons. Copyright is a set of exclusive rights given to a creator of original works. Plagiarism often violates these rights by copying and distributing the work. Copyright infringement can still occur even if the original author is acknowledged.

One instance where plagiarism doesn’t apply is related to commonly known facts such as basic information or historical dates. For example, you would not need to cite the encyclopedia if you wrote that “The United States officially adopted the Constitution in 1788” or that “There are eight planets in the solar system, nine if you count Pluto.”

How To Use Paraphrasing in Your Own Writing

Paraphrasing is a technique used to combat plagiarism, keeping original ideas intact but rephrasing information in your own words and original perspectives. Effective paraphrasing involves reading or listening to the original content until you fully understand it and taking notes on the main points. 

Next, you write down your version of the core concepts without looking at the original passage. Then, make sure that you restate it in a way that the original author has implied and not how you want them to imply it. Lastly, compare and edit your work to ensure it doesn’t resemble the original, and cite your sources when necessary. 

Other strategies to keep in mind when paraphrasing are changing the sentence structure or form, using synonyms, changing active to passive voice, changing clauses to phrases, and starting the sentence or paragraph differently from the original content.

 Suppose you don’t think you can accurately paraphrase a passage concisely. Instead, you can directly quote exact words from the original author and identify the original source of the material with their name or text citation to avoid plagiarizing, as explained previously.

Does Paraphrasing Improve Your Communication Skills?

Practicing paraphrasing as a skill can drastically improve your communication and writing skills since it involves the mental practice of active listening , learning new information or ideas, reflecting upon them, and pulling out the key concepts in your own words.

The process of paraphrasing enables you to truly learn a subject before you can confidently write or communicate that idea . Paraphrasing is a powerful way to further understand a subject or idea for both the writer and reader or speaker and listener.

Active listening and understanding are key components of efficient communication. Using this skill alleviates misunderstandings and prevents conflict.

What Are Some Examples of Paraphrasing?

In daily life, an example situation involving paraphrasing could look like sitting down at your favorite restaurant and ordering from the menu. You tell the server each item you’d like to order. They repeat it back to you for confirmation. If they misunderstand anything you said, you would interject to correct them. 

They will usually repeat it back a second time to ensure they have the correct order. They may not use the exact words you used but provide a restatement of your order. This process confirms the chef prepares the correct meals for you.

Other paraphrasing examples in writing include:

  • Original: He has many old clothes and furniture to donate or throw away.
  • Paraphrase: He needs to get rid of a lot of junk.
  • Original: Polar bears are nearly undetectable by infrared cameras. Thermal cameras detect the heat lost by a subject as infrared, but polar bears are experts at conserving heat.
  • Paraphrase: Because thermal cameras detect infrared heat given off by a subject, polar bears are undetectable due to their unique heat conservation abilities.
  • Original: Although most people learn from experienced sailors, it's possible to teach yourself in a controlled environment. The biggest concern when teaching yourself to sail is safety, as going out on the water alone and inexperienced can be perilous.
  • Paraphrase: In a safe and controlled environment, you can teach yourself to sail, despite trained sailors giving instruction in most cases. Going out on the water alone can be dangerous for a beginner.

Is Paraphrasing Ever a Bad Thing?

Paraphrasing shouldn’t be used when it does not accurately reflect the ideas of the original source. Poor paraphrasing can look like only switching out a few words or failing to acknowledge the source or author with direct quotations or in-text citations when necessary. Ultimately, incorrect paraphrasing could result in a costly mistake. 

Paraphrasing is unnecessary when sharing a famous speech or lines from a book. In this case, you would use direct quotations. For example, you wouldn’t paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech. Therefore, paraphrasing would likely reduce the impact.

Why Do We Paraphrase?

Paraphrasing leaves out unnecessary info.

The art of paraphrasing allows a writer or speaker to succinctly rephrase statements or ideas, focusing on the most critical aspects of the topic or idea. It helps to create clarity by leaving out any unnecessary information.

Paraphrasing allows the speaker or writer to reframe it in a more relevant way to their audience. Sometimes you would only take pieces of the original idea that relate to what you want to express.

Paraphrasing Simplifies Your Communication

Putting paraphrasing into practice regularly helps you focus on the key concepts or crucial information and communicate that, whether it’s in a professional conversation, giving a speech, or writing your paper for a college course. It allows you to hold people’s attention by providing concise information and impacting your audience.

Paraphrasing Puts an Original Spin on Information

Paraphrasing is a great technique to use if the original format of the information is not unique or impactful. It is an opportunity to rephrase it in a more compelling and digestible way, putting an original spin on an idea.

Improving this skill also allows you to keep your authentic communication style even if you’re sharing someone else's ideas.

Using Paraphrasing as a Listener

Using paraphrasing in active listening .

A critical step in the paraphrasing process is active listening. To succinctly communicate an idea or concept in an original way, you must actively listen to extract the main points before you can accurately paraphrase. Paraphrasing what someone said shows the speaker you are actively listening and retaining the information.

How To Paraphrase in Conversation

When in conversation with others, paraphrasing is a great way to ensure both parties are on the same page in understanding the exchange of information. You can practice paraphrasing by actively listening to what someone is saying, condensing the information into a shorter format using your own words, and repeating it for confirmation.

New, Original Words

Paraphrasing is an effective technique for learning, communicating, and restating ideas and concepts in an original format. Improving your paraphrasing skills will help ensure your research paper, presentation, and professional or personal communication is clear, relevant, impactful, and plagiarism free. Just remember to cite any original sources where appropriate.

Did you know you can communicate with clarity, conciseness, and confidence using Poised, the AI communication coach?

Poised gives you real-time feedback on everything from words most spoken to filler words, confidence, energy, empathy, and more. The best part? No one else knows you’re using it. Learn more today .

APA Citation Style Guide | University of South Carolina

Active Listening Definition, Skills, and Examples | The Balance Careers

Quoting and Paraphrasing – The Writing Center | UW–Madison

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7 Active Listening Techniques For Better Communication

It's time to start having more intentional conversations

Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

  • How to Improve

Active listening is a communication skill that involves going beyond simply hearing the words that another person speaks. It's about actively processing and seeking to understand the meaning and intent behind them. It requires being a mindful and focused participant in the communication process.

Active listening techniques include:

  • Being fully present in the conversation
  • Showing interest by practicing good eye contact
  • Noticing (and using) non-verbal cues
  • Asking open-ended questions to encourage further responses
  • Paraphrasing and reflecting back what has been said
  • Listening to understand rather than to respond
  • Withholding judgment and advice

Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD explains, "Active listening requires de-centering from one’s fixed position to be fully present with another. It helps people feel more understood and strengthens relationships as it signals a willingness to sit with the other’s perspective and empathy for their situation instead of singular focus on oneself."

MStudioImages / Getty Images

In communication, active listening is important because it keeps you engaged with your conversation partner in a positive way. It also makes the other person feel heard and valued. This skill is the foundation of a successful conversation in any setting—whether at work, at home, or in social situations.

Romanoff continues, "Ultimately, it shows respect and value for the other person’s needs, concerns, and ideas as the listener is actively signaling the other person matters to them."

When you practice active listening, you are fully engaged and immersed in what the other person is saying.

7 Active Listening Techniques

The word "active" implies that you are taking some type of action when listening to others. This involves the use of certain strategies or techniques. Here are seven active listening techniques to consider.

1. Be Fully Present

Active listening requires being fully present in the conversation. This enables you to concentrate on what is being said. Being present involves listening with all your senses (sight, sound, etc.) and giving your full attention to the speaker.

"Being fully present involves the skill of tuning into the other person’s inner world while stepping away from your own. This is a power skill in deeply connecting and sitting with another’s emotions," says Romanoff.

To use this active listening technique effectively, put away your cell phone, ignore distractions, avoid daydreaming, and shut down your internal dialogue. Place your focus on your conversation partner and let everything else slip away.

2. Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Cues

As much as 65% of a person's communication is unspoken. Paying attention to these nonverbal cues can tell you a lot about the person and what they are trying to say. If they talk fast, for instance, this could be a sign that they are nervous or anxious. If they talk slowly, they may be tired or trying to carefully choose their words.

During active listening, your non-verbal behaviors are just as important. To show the person you're truly tuned in, use open, non-threatening body language. This involves not folding your arms, smiling while listening, leaning in, and nodding at key junctures.

It can also be helpful to pay attention to your facial expressions when active listening so that you don't convey any type of negative response.

3. Keep Good Eye Contact

When engaged in active listening, making eye contact is especially important. This tells the other person that you are present and listening to what they say. It also shows that you aren't distracted by anything else around you.

At the same time, you don't want to use so much eye contact that the conversation feels weird. To keep this from happening, follow the 50/70 rule. This involves maintaining eye contact for 50% to 70% of the time spent listening, holding the contact for four to five seconds before briefly looking away.

4. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Asking "yes or no" questions often produce dead-end answers. This isn't helpful during active listening as it keeps the conversation from flowing. It also makes it difficult to truly listen to the other person because there isn't much you can gain from a short, non-descriptive response.

Instead, ask open-ended questions to show that you are interested in the conversation and the other person. Examples of open-ended questions you may use when active listening include:

  • Can you tell me a bit more about that?
  • What did you think about that?
  • What do you think is the best path moving forward?
  • How do you think you could have responded differently?

The key to open-ended questions is to have a framework of curiosity about the other person. It signals genuine interest – making the other person feel valued and enables you to better understand them," adds Romanoff.

Open-ended questions encourage thoughtful, expansive responses, which is why they are often used by mental health therapists.

5. Reflect What You Hear

After the person has spoken, tell them what you heard. This active listening technique ensures that you've captured their thoughts, ideas, and/or emotions accurately. It also helps the other person feel validated and understood while keeping any potential miscommunications to a minimum.

One way to reflect what you've heard is to paraphrase. For example, you might say, "In other words, what you are saying is that you're frustrated" or "I'm hearing that you're frustrated about this situation." Summarize what you've heard and give the person the opportunity to say whether you've captured their meaning or intent.

If you'd like to better understand something the person has said, ask for clarification. But don't focus so much on insignificant details that you miss the big picture.

6, Be Patient

Patience is an important active listening technique because it allows the other person to speak without interruption. It also gives them the time to say what they are thinking without having to try to finish their sentences for them.

Being patient involves not trying to fill periods of silence with your own thoughts or stories. It also requires listening to understand, not to respond. That is, don't prepare a reply while the other person is still speaking. Also, don't change the subject too abruptly as this conveys boredom and impatience.

During active listening, you are there to act as a sounding board rather than to jump in with your own ideas and opinions about what is being said.

7, Withhold Judgment

Remaining neutral and non-judgmental in your responses enables the other person to feel comfortable with sharing their thoughts. It makes the conversation to a safe zone where they can trust that they won't be shamed, criticized, blamed, or otherwise negatively received.

Ways to be less judgmental when listening include:

  • Expressing empathy for the person or their situation
  • Learning more about different people and cultures
  • Practicing acceptance of others
  • Recognizing when you may be judging the other person, then stopping those thoughts

Active Listening Example

What does active listening look like? Here is an example of a conversation in which several different active listening techniques are used.

Lisa : I'm sorry to dump this on you, but I had a fight with my sister, and we haven't spoken since. I'm upset and don't know who to talk to.

Jodie : No problem! Tell me more about what happened. (open-ended question)

Lisa : Well, we were arguing about what to do for our parents' anniversary. I'm still so angry.

Jodie : Oh that's tough. You sound upset that you're not speaking because of it. (reflecting what was heard)

Lisa : Yes, she just makes me so angry. She assumed I would help her plan this elaborate party—I don't have time! It's like she couldn't see things from my perspective at all.

Jodie : Wow, that's too bad. How did that make you feel? (another open-ended question)

Lisa: Frustrated. Angry. Maybe a bit guilty that she had all these plans, and I was the one holding them back. Finally, I told her to do it without me. But that's not right, either.

Jodie : Sounds complicated. I bet you need some time to sort out how you feel about it. (withholding judgment)

Lisa : Yes, I guess I do. Thanks for listening—I just needed to vent.

Why Active Listening Is Important

Getting into the habit of active listening can have positive impacts in many key areas of your life. It can affect your relationships, your work, and your social interactions.

In Relationships

Active listening helps you better understand another person's point of view and respond with empathy. This is important in all types of healthy relationships , whether with a spouse, parent, child, another family member, or friend.

Being an active listener in your relationships involves recognizing that the conversation is more about the other person than about you. This is especially important when the other person is emotionally distressed.

Your ability to listen actively to a family member or friend who is going through a difficult time is a valuable communication skill. It helps keep you from offering opinions and solutions when the other person really just wants to be heard.

Active listening at work is particularly important if you are in a supervisory position or interact frequently with colleagues. It helps you understand problems and collaborate to develop solutions . It also showcases your patience, a valuable asset in the workplace.

In some cases, active listening while on the job can help improve workplace safety. For instance, if you are in the healthcare field, engaging in active listening can help reduce medical errors and prevent unintentional patient harm.

During Social Situations

Active listening techniques such as reflecting, asking open-ended questions, seeking clarification, and watching body language help you develop relationships when meeting new people . People who are active and empathic listeners are good at initiating and maintaining conversations.

Active listening helps others feel more emotionally supported. This can be beneficial when interacting with a person who has social anxiety . According to research, emotional support impacts the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the brain, resulting in decreased feelings of distress for socially anxious individuals.

Press Play for Advice on Active Listening

Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares the value of listening to others, featuring psychiatrist Mark Goulston.

Follow Now :  Apple Podcasts  /  Spotify  /  Google Podcasts  

Ways to Improve Active Listening

We've all been in situations where our "listeners" were distracted or disinterested. Or maybe you want to improve your own active listening skills so you don't do this to others.

Here are a few ways to be a better active listener yourself, or to encourage others to do the same:

  • Encourage your own curiosity . The more curious you are about something, the easier it becomes to want to know more. This naturally causes you to ask more questions and to seek to understand, which are two of the core foundations of active listening in communication.
  • Find a topic that interests you both . This works particularly well when engaging in small talk as you get to know one another. If you both have passion for the topic, it becomes easier to stay fully engaged in the conversation.
  • Practice your active listening skills . Like with any skill, being good at active listening takes some practice. Be patient with yourself as you go through the learning process . Continuing to practice these skills may just inspire the person you're conversing with to do the same. By seeing you demonstrate active listening, they might become a better listener too.
  • Understand when exiting the conversation is best . If you're talking with another person and they are clearly uninterested in the conversation, it may be best to end that conversation respectfully. This can help keep you from feeling annoyed and unheard.

If you find that you are having trouble with listening, you might benefit from professional treatment. Other options include engaging in social skills training or reading self-help books on interpersonal skills.

Keep in Mind

Active listening is an important social skill that has value in many different settings. Practice its many techniques often and it will become second nature. You'll start to ask open-ended questions and reflect what you've heard in your conversations without much (if any) thought.

"Ultimately, active listening helps the speaker feel more understood and heard—and helps the listener have more information and understanding. On both ends of active listening—people feel more connected and collaborative which is why it is such a vital tool when it comes to communication," says Romanoff.

If you find active listening techniques difficult, consider what might be getting in your way. Are you experiencing social anxiety during conversations or do you struggle with attention ? Getting help for these types of issues can help you improve your active listening skills, making you a better listener overall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Active listening helps you build trust and understand other people's situations and feelings. In turn, this empowers you to offer support and empathy. Unlike critical listening, active listening seeks to understand rather than reply. The goal is for the other person to be heard, validated, and inspired to solve their problems.

The three A's of active listening are attention, attitude, and adjustment. Attention entails being fully tuned in to the speaker's words and gestures. The proper attitude is one of positivity and open-mindedness. Adjustment is the ability to change your gestures, body language, and reactions as the speaker's story unfolds.

Reflection is the active listening technique that demonstrates that you understand and empathize with the person's feelings. In mirroring and summarizing what they've said, they feel heard and understood.

There are numerous ways to improve your active listening skills. One is to watch skilled interviewers on talk and news shows. Another is to research active listening techniques online and try them often in your everyday conversations, noting the speakers' reactions and looking for areas that need improvement.

Topornycky J, Golparian S. Balancing openness and interpretation in active listening . Collect Essays Learn Teach. 2016;9:175-184.

Pennsylvania Department of Health. Unit 6: Effective oral communication . FEMA Effective Communication .

Schulz J. Eye contact: Don't make these mistakes . Michigan State University, MSU Extension.

Dean M, Street Jr RL. A 3-stage model of patient-centered communication for addressing cancer patients' emotional distress . Patient Educ Counsel . 2014;94(2):143-148. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2013.09.025

Jahromi VK, Tabatabaee SS, Abdar ZE, Rajabi M. Active listening: The key of successful communication in hospital managers . Electron Physician . 2016;8(3):2123-2128. doi:10.19082/2123

Jones SM, Bodie GD, Hughes S. The impact of mindfulness on empathy, active listening, and perceived provisions of emotional support . Communic Res . 2016;46(6):838-865. doi:10.1177/0093650215626983

Nishiyama Y, Okamoto Y, Kunisato Y, et al. fMRI study of social anxiety during social ostracism with and without emotional support . PLoS One . 2015;10(5):e0127426. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127426

Colorado State University Global. What is active listening? 4 tips for improving communication skills .

Pennsylvania State University. Active listening . 

University of California, Berkeley. Active listening . Greater Good Science Center.

By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.

In this example, the paraphrase allows us to find out that the speaker is concerned that Bill is avoiding him. While this is not what he said initially, the paraphrase revealed what his real meaning was.

Alternately, the speaker could have responded by saying: "Yes, I'm concerned and not at all sure what to do about it." This would also have revealed more about the message that the speaker was trying to communicate.

Here's another example:

In this case, the listener took the wrong meaning for what the speaker said, but when they checked their understanding by paraphrasing, the speaker corrected their understanding.

Remember... use paraphrasing to check your understanding.

You can learn how to paraphrase when you use Communication University.

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why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

Paraphrasing: 3 Things You Need to Know (What, How and Why?)

Paraphrasing is an essential writing tool for conveying meaning of core concepts and ideas while avoiding plagiarism. In this article, we’ll cover exactly what paraphrasing is and isn’t, the five step approach for effective paraphrasing and finally, the importance of paraphrasing beyond issues of plagiarism.

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is rewording another’s written or spoken words into your own words. This is done by presenting the meaning of the original statement with new words and an altered structure. For example, the above point could be paraphrased to: “Paraphrasing means to share another’s ideas in your own words, keeping the original meaning intact by simply changing the words used or structure involved”. The original point remains, but the wording and sentence structure has changed. 

The focus is to convey the meaning of the original idea using your own words. This writing technique is usually used for a short individual passage or idea, and is not to be confused with summarising. A paraphrase will often be similar in length to the original statement, and will focus on the core points of that idea. In contrast, summaries usually involve synthesising a wide range of information to share the core theme, or results of a piece of work. 

How to Paraphrase

There’s a five step approach to paraphrasing effectively. First, read the material carefully to extract meaning. It’s important to develop an understanding of the points being made in order to effectively convey this meaning to another. Second, note down the key concepts. What have you understood from the passage? What key points would you like someone else to understand? Third, attempt to paraphrase this information without looking at the original. You can do this using a range of methods:

  • Use synonyms to keep some of the original content, without directly using the same words. “Teachers” could be replaced by “Educators”, or “Students” could become “Undergraduates”. This depends on the content, and it’s important to make sure you still convey the core points well. 
  • Rearrange the content by switching the order of certain phrases or sentences. This might involve switching from an active to a passive voice. Although it's best to use the active voice, this is an ideal way to begin paraphrasing content, giving you a starting point to work on. You can continue editing the first paraphrase to ensure it’s written in a clear and concise way. 
  • Utilise digital tools to get you started. In genei’s notepad, you can paraphrase your notes with the click of a button, giving you new words to work with. This is ideal because you can easily work with the notes made from your readings, and minimise your workflow to one space. 

Fourth, compare your paraphrased version to the original. Check if words, sentences or phrases are too similar and make edits. You can also ensure your paraphrase is effective by noting down the core ideas in your paraphrase. Do these match those originally noted from the source? Finally, be sure to cite the source! You must still acknowledge that you have paraphrased someone else’s ideas. 

The Importance of Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is an important academic skill for avoiding plagiarism . However, this isn’t the only reason paraphrasing can be important. The process of paraphrasing involves actively engaging with the material you want to rework. This can improve your own knowledge of the idea you’re working with, which can be more effective for long term understanding in comparison to simply memorising facts. Likewise, the ability to paraphrase well, is evidence that you understand the content and core ideas involved.

Beyond academia, paraphrasing still proves to be essential. This technique can act as a bridge and communication tool for sharing valuable information with a non-specialist audience. Original sources of information can be hard to digest if you’re not familiar with the subject area, however, sometimes this information still needs to be communicated. Paraphrasing allows you to tailor ideas to a particular audience, making it accessible, while still retaining the core message. For example, being able to convey important business information to a client, would require certain professional documents and plans to be paraphrased for clearer communication. 

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How to communicate effectively with your team members

Effective communication can be tough — especially since good communication skills are considered soft skills that don’t always receive much attention during training. However, great communication offers a number of benefits within teams, and its ripple effect can lead to greater success for the business overall.

There are several ways to encourage effective communication with your team, even when everyone works remotely. Below we’ll explore the importance of great communication with your team, the types of communication, and eight communication techniques you can use to help elevate your remote teamwork.

The importance of effective communication in the workplace

First, it’s critical not to skimp on the importance of effective communication. It’s the foundation for everything that you do — and just like the foundation of a home, if there are cracks in your communication, the whole structure is liable to fall.

In fact, communication is cited as one of the largest problems at most modern workplaces. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 7% of U.S. workers strongly agree that their workplace communication is accurate, timely, and open .

When you have communication breakdowns, it leads to lower productivity, greater inefficiency, and higher turnover in extreme cases. Without effective communication, you set your team members up for failure — whether it’s because they can’t get crucial information about the projects they’re working on, can’t resolve problems efficiently, or because they fear the repercussions of saying the wrong thing.

Now that working remotely is rising in prominence, workplaces without solid communication strategies face even more issues as team members struggle to form new communication habits — all while learning to navigate things like Zoom meetings and instant messaging.

Types of communication

You can see how crucial it is that your team establishes effective communication. However, there are four different types of communication that you must understand in order to build a cohesive communication strategy in a busy workplace: verbal, written, visual, and non-verbal.

Verbal communication

This is what first comes to mind when most people envision communication. While you usually picture face-to-face speech, verbal communication also happens during phone and video calls or when people speak aloud to each other.

Tips for verbal communication: During verbal communication, remember to pay attention to your tone of voice and speak in a clear, professional manner.

Written communication

Written communication is somewhat the opposite of verbal communication in that it happens via written messages (emails, letters, memos, etc.), and there is no face-to-face element to add context. It’s a little harder to communicate with written words because of the missing visual context that facial expressions and body language can add.

Tips for written communication: Take care to keep your language clear and professional. A big part of that clarity and professionalism means using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation, so be sure to use your word processor's spelling and grammar checker.

Visual communication

Here’s another type of communication that takes place without speaking. Visual communication includes things you can see — like images on social media posts, infographics, models, diagrams, and similar mediums. You can present them on their own (like an infographic that needs no further explanation), with text (like when you include graphs in a report), or as visual aids to help illustrate the things you’re speaking about.

Tips for visual communication: Be mindful of the color and design choices you make. Use a clear, easy-to-read font, and choose colors that contrast well — such as white text on a dark background, or primary colors for your charts.

Non-verbal communication

We’ve already discussed written and visual communication, both of which are types of non-verbal communication — but there’s plenty left to cover in the non-verbal category. Think of how you can get a message across without speaking, writing, or including imagery. This includes things like body language, eye contact, and facial expressions.

Tips for non-verbal communication: Posture is important, so avoid slouching, and be careful to avoid fidgeting or letting your eyes glaze over while “listening.” Even though they’re subtle, these things have a major impact on the impression that you leave.

Remote communication

You might think that we covered all the bases, but not quite! Remote communication includes a variety of things, and in fact, it can include all of the things listed above: Emails are remote written communication, video calls are remote verbal communication that includes non-verbal communication through body language, and images, graphs, or other visuals that you send electronically are all forms of remote visual communication.

But some other channels haven’t been covered — like instant messaging or boards where you can leave messages for teammates rather than hosting a team meeting. These are also forms of remote communication, and much like email, they’re asynchronous. This means that there is a delay between the time you send the message and the time the recipient reads it.

Tips for remote communication: With this method of communication, it’s important to follow the same rules that you would for other categories — like paying attention to your tone during a virtual meeting, or being mindful of facial expressions if you’re creating a Loom video for someone to watch later.

It’s also important to maintain clear expectations among the people using a remote form of communication, especially if the communication is asynchronous. This means that your team should be clear on how frequently to check messages. While there’s no need to micromanage message checking, it’s also not good for people to fall into the habit of waiting days to respond.

Often, remote communication proves more difficult than face-to-face interactions simply because you miss out on things like watercooler conversations to help lighten the mood and build camaraderie. In addition to setting clear expectations, it’s also smart to equip your teams with tools to make communication easier and more flexible, which will help build stronger relationships.

8 effective ways to enhance communication in the workplace

Now that you understand the different types of communication, it’s time to look at ways to improve communication. The tips below are designed to help you develop more effective communication skills, and help manage team comms for clear communication all around.

1) Set clear communication expectations

One of the places where communication breaks down the fastest is within the goals and expectations set forth for your team. Goals and expectations should be set clearly right from the start to prevent miscommunications down the road. It helps your team complete their projects more effectively , for one thing.

For another, clear communication expectations give everyone a timeframe to work with. You’ll know when to expect responses, when meetings are likely to occur, and when the best times are to send out emails and messages.

2) Practice active listening in every conversation

Have you ever been part of a conversation where you were certain that the other person wasn’t really listening to you? What were some of the clues? A glazed-over look in the eyes, fidgeting, pacing, or edging toward the door are common signs of inactive listening, and these interactions are far from comforting. Make sure that you don’t do this to the people you’re talking to by practicing active listening.

There are many benefits of active listening — from building trust with your team to increasing your understanding of the topics discussed. It’s easy to do: Focus completely on the speaker, and as you do so, work to understand their message and respond in thoughtful ways. In doing so, you send plenty of non-verbal cues to the speaker that you’re paying attention to them.

3) Have weekly or even daily one-on-one meetings

In some workplaces, one-on-one meetings rarely happen — or only happen during annual performance reviews. Lots of managers consider them to be time-wasters. But actually, one-on-one meetings on a weekly or even daily basis are a fantastic tool for increasing transparency and fostering better communication.

Look at these meetings as an opportunity to build strong relationships with team members. Everyone will get to know everyone else’s individual communication styles, and you all gain insights into the daily tasks and challenges that everyone faces.

4) Ask for feedback and provide feedback when asked

Feedback is one of the best ways to improve just about anything, from how a product works to social media marketing campaigns. So it’s no surprise that feedback is also a great way to improve communication skills. The problem is that lots of people are shy about asking for it.

You can set a precedent with your team, however. Ask for feedback on your various communication lines, and when they ask for feedback , be sure to reciprocate. Do it in a constructive way that doesn’t come across as criticism so that everyone can polish communication skills together.

5) Practice public speaking

Public speaking can have life-changing benefits, whether you do it in the workplace or take a public speaking course in your spare time. First and foremost, it’s a great way to help you overcome nerves to become a more confident speaker. You’ll also become a better verbal communicator, whether you’re in front of an audience or on a phone call. It’s one of the best ways to improve overall verbal skills, so be sure to practice whenever you get the chance — whether in public, private, or among your team members.

6) Always communicate using a positive tone

This is an easy tip to abide by when things are going well — but what about when they’re not? Looming deadlines, costly mistakes, and even simple disagreements can all lead to flaring tempers, and it can be tempting to express yourself aggressively — raising your voice, sharpening your tone, or even using excessive (or worst of all, inappropriate) hand gestures.

However, this is rarely a good idea. When discussions become heated, take some time to consider how to respond (even during face-to-face conversations) and be sure to keep your tone positive. Remaining as positive as possible is often the best way to keep things appropriate and professional.

7) Take notes during the conversation if possible

Taking notes is one way to practice active listening because it forces you to focus closely on what is being said so that you can jot down the main points. It’s also an excellent way to prevent future miscommunications — or repetition, which can be frustrating for everyone involved.

Notes don’t have to be super detailed. If you try to keep tabs of too many details, you slow the conversation down which can be frustrating for the speaker. All you need to do is write down the main points of the discussion and make sure that you’re paraphrasing conclusions formed relating to each of these points. Taking notes in a digital format makes it easier to send them out to everyone involved in the conversation for later reference.

8) Utilize tools to enhance asynchronous communication

It can be tough to foster a sense of unity through asynchronous communication, especially with most people used to real-time communication and in-person social skills — but with the right tools, it’s perfectly possible. Here, you’ll need a platform like Range to help you out.

For example, you can use Range to build culture and create a comfortable work environment by creating a board for everyone to list their mood or a spot for people to list their successes or vent their frustrations.

You can also use it to create asynchronous standups. Think of it like show and tell, but for remote team members who need to share their progress with the rest of the team despite differences in working hours or time zones.

Become an effective communicator and team leader with Range

Effective communication helps build stronger relationships among team members. While it can seem daunting to implement communication strategies within remote teams, asynchronous communication tools like Range make it easier than ever. Range keeps your team communications fluid, flexible, and convenient, so it’s easier for everyone to engage — no matter where they are.

Our platform is ideal for remote teams that need better tools to stay connected. Try Range for free to see how it can improve the way your team exchanges ideas.

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  • Jul 23, 2023
  • 10 min read

50 Top Paraphrasing In Communication Skills (2023)

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

Paraphrasing is a must-have communication skill—it's like the secret sauce to understanding and connecting with others. Picture this: you're having a conversation with someone, and they're pouring their heart out, sharing their thoughts and feelings. Now, paraphrasing comes into play—you listen intently, make eye contact, and avoid any distractions.

Understanding the main ideas is key, so you reflect on the information, pinpoint the core concepts, and really soak it all in. This active and reflective listening sets the stage for perfect paraphrasing.

Active Listening and Understanding

Paraphrasing techniques, building rapport and empathy, avoiding misinterpretation and assumptions, enhancing communication and clarity, cultural sensitivity, practice and improvement, supporting problem-solving and dialogue, acknowledging sources, 1. be attentive while listening.

Let's face it—we've all been guilty of zoning out during a conversation, thinking about what we're going to have for dinner or that upcoming vacation. But paraphrasing requires full attention. So, put away your phone, focus on the speaker, and be present in the moment. This not only shows respect but also sets the stage for a successful paraphrasing session.

2. Understand the main ideas

You know how when you watch a movie or read a book, you latch onto the main plot points? Well, it's the same in conversations. Grab those key ideas, reflect on them, and understand the essence of what the speaker is saying. It's like solving a puzzle—piece by piece, you'll get the whole picture.

3. Listen actively and reflectively

Active listening is like an art form—it involves not just hearing the words but also understanding the emotions and intentions behind them. Reflective listening takes it a step further. Before jumping into paraphrasing, take a moment to digest what you've heard. This reflection will guide you towards a more empathetic and accurate paraphrase.

4. Pay attention to nonverbal cues

You know how they say actions speak louder than words? Well, it's true. Nonverbal cues—facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice—reveal a lot about what's going on beneath the surface. So, keep your eyes peeled for those cues. They'll give you the extra insight you need to paraphrase with empathy and precision.

5. Verify understanding with the speaker

Imagine you're baking a cake, and you're not sure if you've got all the right ingredients. So, you double-check with the recipe. Similarly, after paraphrasing, double-check with the speaker. Ask questions like, "Did I get that right?" or "Is this what you meant?" This verification step ensures you're on the same page and keeps the conversation flowing smoothly.

6. Avoid interrupting while paraphrasing

Interrupting someone mid-sentence is like hitting pause on their thoughts and feelings. It disrupts the flow of communication and can leave them feeling unheard. So, don't do it. Let the speaker finish their thoughts before you dive into paraphrasing. This patience and attentiveness create a more positive and respectful conversation.

7. Use "I" statements when paraphrasing

Picture this: you're at a party, and someone starts gossiping about someone else. Suddenly, you jump in and say, "Well, I heard that..." It's not cool, right? Same goes for paraphrasing. When you start with "I" statements, like "If I understand correctly" or "From my perspective," you take ownership of your understanding. It shows you're not just regurgitating info but actively engaging in the conversation.

8. Restate information using synonyms

Paraphrasing is like giving a story a fresh coat of paint. Instead of using the exact words, swap some of them out for synonyms. It adds variety and flair to your paraphrase, demonstrating your mastery of the subject. So, grab a thesaurus and get creative!

9. Break down ideas into digestible chunks

Ever tried eating a whole pizza in one bite? Doesn't sound like fun, right? Paraphrasing complex ideas is like cutting that pizza into slices. Break it down into manageable chunks and focus on each part separately. You'll understand it better, and your paraphrase will be spot on.

10. Highlight main takeaways

You know how some sentences are like treasure chests with golden nuggets buried inside? When paraphrasing, uncover those precious main takeaways and give them the spotlight. Your paraphrase will become a concise and powerful summary, capturing the speaker's core message.

11. Change sentence structures

Repeating the same sentence structure over and over is like listening to a broken record. Mix it up! Play around with different sentence structures while retaining the original meaning. It keeps your paraphrase fresh and exciting.

12. Use a thesaurus to find substitutes

We all have our favorite words that we use like confetti. But paraphrasing is not a confetti party. To spice things up, use a thesaurus to find exciting word alternatives. Your paraphrases will be a colorful array of ideas.

13. Paraphrase complex ideas clearly

You know the feeling when you're reading a textbook and the jargon makes your head spin? Yeah, don't be that person. Paraphrase complex ideas in a straightforward manner, using everyday language. It helps the speaker—and yourself—understand the message better.

14. Use appropriate sentence stems

Just like building a house, a good paraphrase needs a strong foundation. And that foundation is an appropriate sentence stem. Starting with phrases like "It seems like..." or "I hear you saying..." anchors your paraphrase and sets the tone for a meaningful conversation.

15. Be concise and to the point

If you've ever listened to a never-ending story, you know how frustrating it can be. So, avoid going off on tangents when paraphrasing. Be concise and get to the heart of the matter. Your paraphrases will be like mini-explosions of insight.

16. Restate information with precision

When you're baking a cake, you measure the ingredients carefully to ensure it turns out just right. The same goes for paraphrasing. Pay attention to details and restate the speaker's information with precision. It shows that you value their words and ideas.

17. Paraphrase complex language into simpler terms

Remember that time you tried explaining quantum physics to your grandma? Yeah, not easy. When faced with complex language, break it down into simpler terms. It's like turning quantum physics into plain old everyday conversation. Your grandma will thank you.

18. Utilize owned language

Ever heard of the saying, "Put yourself in someone else's shoes"? Well, paraphrasing is like stepping into their shoes and walking a mile in them. So, use "owned" language when you paraphrase. Say, "It sounds like I heard you say..." instead of "You said..." It shows you're walking that mile together.

19. Ask perception checking questions

Imagine you're traveling to a new country, and you're not sure if you're pronouncing "hello" correctly. So, you ask a local to check. It's the same with paraphrasing. Ask perception checking questions after paraphrasing to ensure you got it right. It builds rapport and mutual understanding.

20. Be empathetic in your paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is more than just a linguistic exercise—it's an emotional connection. When someone shares their feelings, mirror their emotions in your paraphrase. Use phrases like "I can see you're feeling..." or "It sounds like you're experiencing..." This empathy strengthens your bond.

21. Paraphrase to build rapport

Imagine you're meeting your favorite celebrity, and they say, "I love your style!" It instantly creates a connection, right? Well, paraphrasing does the same. When you paraphrase, you show you're on the same page and truly listening. It's like building a bridge of trust and understanding.

22. Use paraphrasing to confirm understanding

Remember the time you went to a party and were unsure if you were at the right place? So, you asked the host to confirm. In the same way, paraphrasing is your confirmation tool. After you paraphrase, ask the speaker, "Did I get that right?" or "Is this what you meant?" It ensures you're in sync.

23. Be respectful in your paraphrases

Would you laugh at someone's dreams or call their ideas dumb? Of course not! So, when paraphrasing, be respectful. Use polite and courteous language. It shows that you value the speaker's perspective and creates a warm and inviting conversation.

24. Paraphrase to encourage dialogue

You know how people in movies say, "We need to talk"? Well, paraphrasing is the opposite—it's an invitation to talk. When you paraphrase, you're saying, "I'm here, and I'm ready to listen." It encourages the speaker to share more and keeps the conversation alive.

25. Use paraphrasing to demonstrate empathy

Empathy is like a warm hug—it makes people feel understood and cared for. So, when you paraphrase, you're giving that virtual hug. You're saying, "I'm here with you, and I get it." This demonstration of empathy fosters a safe and supportive space for communication.

26. Paraphrase to show active engagement

Imagine you're watching a magic show, and the magician asks for a volunteer. You raise your hand, eager to participate. That's the spirit of paraphrasing! It shows you're an active participant, not just a passive listener. Your engagement sets the stage for fruitful communication.

27. Use paraphrasing to build trust

Trust is like the secret ingredient in any successful relationship. When you paraphrase, you're adding that special something. It shows the speaker you're fully invested and genuinely trying to understand. This trust-building paraphrase fosters a deeper connection.

28. Avoid word-for-word repetition

Parrot talk is fun for, well, parrots. But in communication, it's a no-go. Paraphrasing is your opportunity to shine with creativity. So, skip the word-for-word repetition. Use your language skills to restate ideas in your unique way.

29. Avoid inserting personal opinions

Picture this: you're at a concert, and the band starts playing your favorite song. But then someone in the crowd starts loudly singing a different tune. Annoying, right? The same goes for paraphrasing—keep your personal opinions out of it. It's not about you; it's about the speaker.

30. Stay objective in your paraphrases

You know how at a fair, you try to win that stuffed animal by shooting hoops? The more objective you are, the better your chances. It's the same with paraphrasing. Stay objective, and you'll win at accurate communication.

31. Avoid misinterpretation

Misinterpretation is like a dance party gone wrong—you end up stepping on each other's toes. To avoid the mishaps of miscommunication, be cautious while paraphrasing. Pay attention to the speaker's words and nonverbal cues. When in doubt, ask clarifying questions.

32. Avoid making assumptions

You know what they say about assumptions, right? They can lead you down the wrong path. So, leave the assumptions behind when paraphrasing. Focus on the facts and the speaker's actual words. If you're unsure, ask away—better safe than sorry.

33. Avoid altering the speaker's meaning

Imagine you're ordering a sandwich, and the server brings you a burger instead. Not cool! The same goes for paraphrasing. Stick to the main ideas and tone expressed by the speaker. Don't add or subtract—you want the speaker's message intact.

34. Avoid paraphrasing in a condescending manner

Ever had someone talk down to you like you were a child? Not a good feeling, right? So, when you paraphrase, be mindful of your tone. Avoid sounding condescending or dismissive. Treat the speaker as an equal, and your paraphrase will shine.

35. Avoid rushing through paraphrasing

Imagine you're doing a puzzle, and you rush through it, forcing pieces to fit where they don't belong. It's frustrating, and the result isn't pretty. Same with paraphrasing. Take your time, let the pieces of information settle, and craft your paraphrase thoughtfully. The result will be a masterpiece of communication.

36. Paraphrase to enhance clarity

Clarity is like a spotlight—it shines a bright light on your communication. Paraphrasing is your spotlight operator. Use it to highlight the speaker's message and ensure a crystal-clear understanding.

37. Use paraphrasing to clarify ambiguity

You know how sometimes you're lost in a maze, and you need someone to point you in the right direction? That's where paraphrasing comes in. It's your GPS to guide you through ambiguous statements. Clarify any confusion and seek clarification if needed. The path will become clear.

38. Adapt your paraphrasing to the audience

Paraphrasing is like dressing up for different occasions. You wouldn't wear a ball gown to a beach party, would you? Similarly, consider your audience's knowledge and familiarity when paraphrasing. Adjust your language and level of detail accordingly. It ensures your paraphrase is tailored to suit your audience.

39. Paraphrase to confirm accuracy

Ever played telephone as a kid, and the message gets all twisted? That's what happens when you don't verify. Paraphrasing is your verification tool. By restating the speaker's message, you give them the opportunity to correct any misconceptions. It's the key to accurate communication.

40. Paraphrase to foster open communication

Open communication is like a blooming flower—it thrives in a nurturing environment. Paraphrasing creates that nurturing space. When you paraphrase, you're saying, "I'm here to support you and your thoughts." It invites the speaker to open up and share more.

41. Pay attention to context and tone

Context and tone are like spices in a recipe—they add flavor to your communication. So, when you paraphrase, pay attention to the context and emotions expressed by the speaker. It helps you craft a paraphrase that's on point and respectful of the speaker's feelings.

42. Paraphrase to create a supportive environment

Paraphrasing is like building a cozy nest for communication. It's your way of saying, "I'm here to support you and your thoughts." By paraphrasing, you create a safe and supportive space for open dialogue.

43. Use paraphrasing to clarify misunderstandings

Remember that time your friend misunderstood your text, and it turned into a big mess? Misunderstandings happen, but paraphrasing is your troubleshooter. It helps identify and resolve these issues, creating a smoother exchange of ideas.

44. Be mindful of cultural differences

Cultural sensitivity is like speaking a foreign language—it takes practice and patience. When paraphrasing, be mindful of cultural nuances and avoid misinterpreting or disrespecting cultural norms. It's the key to smooth and respectful communication.

45. Practice paraphrasing regularly

Practice makes perfect—like playing an instrument or doing yoga. So, engage in daily conversations and make an effort to paraphrase frequently. The more you practice, the more proficient you'll become.

46. Practice paraphrasing with different topics

Imagine you're a chef who only cooks one dish. Boring, right? Same goes for paraphrasing. Try your hand at paraphrasing different topics. It broadens your knowledge and adaptability, making you a paraphrasing virtuoso.

47. Use paraphrasing to facilitate problem-solving

Paraphrasing is like a bridge—it connects different ideas and helps solve problems collaboratively. When you paraphrase, you're not just rephrasing; you're building bridges of understanding. This fosters problem-solving and teamwork.

48. Use paraphrasing to encourage further discussion

Ever been in a brainstorming session where ideas bounce around like ping-pong balls? Paraphrasing is your ping-pong paddle. Use it to bounce ideas back to the speaker. It keeps the conversation lively and encourages further discussion.

49. Paraphrase to help coach your employees

When coaching employees, it's easy to give the answers. Instead, use paraphrasing to hold back your automatic answers. Listen, paraphrase back to them, and help them come up with the solution. Then, they'll learn more from the experience and will know what to do next time.

50. Always acknowledge the original source

Imagine you create a beautiful piece of art, and someone else claims it as their own. Not cool, right? Same goes for paraphrasing. Always give credit where it's due. Acknowledge the original source—it shows respect for their work and maintains academic integrity.

Paraphrasing is like the secret weapon in your communication arsenal—it enhances understanding, fosters empathy, and builds lasting connections. Through active listening, thoughtful paraphrasing techniques, and a dash of empathy, you can become a communication superstar, whether at the university, workplace, or in your personal life.

Remember to be respectful of cultural differences and to always acknowledge the original sources when paraphrasing academic or professional material. With practice, you'll master the art of paraphrasing, bringing harmony and success to your interactions. So, paraphrase on and see the magic unfold in your communication!

21 Expert Tips For Effective Communication With Difficult People

We communicate with people every day, but sometimes it can be challenging to deal with certain individuals, especially the difficult ones. You may feel stressed, frustrated, and overwhelmed by their behavior.

However, effective communication can help alleviate tension and find common ground. In this blog post, we've gathered 21 tips that will help you communicate with difficult people more effectively. By following these tips, you can manage difficult situations with greater ease and achieve better outcomes.

Preparing Yourself

1. stay calm.

Staying calm is crucial when dealing with difficult people. If you let their emotions affect you, you may find yourself becoming angry or frustrated. This can make the situation worse and harder to resolve. Instead, take deep breaths, remain objective, and don't take their behavior personally. By staying calm, you can de-escalate the situation and find a solution that works for everyone.

2. Prepare Mentally

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why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

Engoo Tutor's Blog

Engoo ► Blog ► Advanced Learners

Paraphrasing: Why It Matters and How To Teach It Through Free-Talk, Games, and More

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Table of Contents

Have you ever noticed that native speakers can usually express the same idea in many different ways? For example, below are some sentences I came up with off the top of my head:

  • “Sally gave Steve a book for his birthday.”
  • “Steve got a book from Sally for his birthday.”
  • “Sally’s birthday present for Steve was a book.”
  • “Sally presented Steve with the gift of a book.”
  • “Sally gifted Steve with a book.”

By contrast, a beginner might struggle to come up with just one more way to say this, let alone four.

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

As you can see, paraphrasing is a skill! And it’s not important just for showing off. 

Why Paraphrasing Matters

For advanced learners, it means being able to choose the right way to express yourself. 

And for students of all levels, paraphrasing is an essential communication tool, allowing them to say words they don’t know with words they do. In fact, the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines consider paraphrasing an advanced communication skill: 

Advanced High speakers may demonstrate a well-developed ability to compensate for an imperfect grasp of some forms or for limitations in vocabulary by the confident use of communicative strategies, such as paraphrasing. ...

Paraphrasing is also important to being an active listener and a good conversation partner. For example:

  • Confirming that you understand someone by saying “It sounds like you’re saying that … " and then putting their thoughts in your own words shows that you are really trying to understand them and not jumping to conclusions.
  • You might also paraphrase to emphasize how well you understand what someone has just said. Restating someone’s thoughts and feelings in your own words is a more powerful way of agreeing with them than simply saying “I know how you feel.”

So rather than seeing paraphrases as a reflection of a lack of vocabulary, we should treat it like a skill that needs to be developed — just like grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Now, how can we encourage our students to paraphrase (or paraphrase better)?

Teaching Paraphrase in Conversation

Most of our lessons involve conversation, which is a great opportunity to teach paraphrasing. In fact, it’ll most likely occur without our prompting.

However, when it does occur, we’ll want to point it out. One way to do this is by praising the student for paraphrasing. After all, there’s no better way to encourage new behavior than positive reinforcement !

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

So make a point to praise paraphrases. You may find this strange. After all, isn’t paraphrasing easy? 

Well, maybe for you, dear proficient speaker of English! But it’s not easy for language learners. 

In fact, the speaking section of the IELTS actually scores test-takers on how well they paraphrase. You’ll notice that each “band” (score) correlates with a student’s paraphrasing ability, starting with “rarely attempts paraphrase” at Band 4 and ending with “uses paraphrase effectively as required” at Band 8:

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

But how can we tell the difference between paraphrasing “with mixed success” and paraphrasing “effectively”? 

Let’s look at some examples. Imagine if the student in the image had said, “I talked to some people who live near me” (which could mean people who live in the next town) or “I talked to some people near me." Either of those is open to interpretation.

Now, imagine a student is talking about their cat but can’t remember the word “purr.” Which of the following would be the easiest to understand?

  • Student pauses for five seconds and then skips to the next sentence.
  • Student says, “my cat made a noise” 
  • Student says, “my cat made ... the noise that cats make when they feel good.”

I’m sure you’ll agree that the third one is the easiest to understand. 

  • The first one is a failed attempt at communication.
  • The second one is a bit better, but still not effective. After all, we can’t tell if the noise was a meow, a purr, or a hiss. To help the student paraphrase better, we might ask, “Was it a happy or angry noise?”
  • The third one is successful paraphrase, which would also help us tutors provide the right word (“Oh, you mean ‘purr’!”)

So next time a student paraphrases successfully, let’s make a point to praise them or help them do a better job of it before telling them the right word!

Teaching Paraphrasing Separately

There are plenty of ways to teach students to paraphrase outside a conversation. One way is to play Reverse Taboo. 

In standard taboo, each card has a keyword that the player is supposed to explain without using any of the words in the list below. In reverse taboo, you can require the student to use at least some or all of the words from the list to define the keyword.

why is paraphrasing important in communication with team members

You can find online taboo cards here .

News articles are also a great tool for learning to paraphrase. They are written in a formal style of writing called “journalese,” which has been called a “ parallel universe ” from natural conversation by the New York Times. 

Learning to understand journalese is essential to anyone who wants to read the news. However, it’s arguably even more important for foreign language learners to learn how to paraphrase journalese. Otherwise, they’ll start using it in everyday conversation and sound … well, just weird.

So, if your student is not keen on having a conversation today, you can play a game where you take turns paraphrasing a sentence (or paragraph) and have the other person guess which sentence (or paragraph) it is. And what better to use for this game than our own Daily News articles ?

With more serious students, however, you can simply go through an article and paraphrase it together. Whatever your student decides on, remind them that the key is to ask themselves, “How would I say this to a friend?”

📌 Takeaways

To sum up, paraphrasing is an important communication tool for foreign language learners. It’s not as great as knowing the perfect word for each situation, but it keeps the conversation going, which is way better than pausing or changing the topic altogether.

So, instead of simply providing our students with “the right word,” let’s make them work for it. Then praise them for paraphrasing and help them get better at it!

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7 Reasons Why Communication Is Important in a Team

The benefits of building an effective team within the workplace cannot be understated. All effective groups need to understand the importance of team communication because it is crucial to their success.

Why is communication important in a team? Effective communication within a team will build a common purpose among team members that will allow them to reach their goals. Frequent friendly communication can help team members develop a sense of belonging and strengthen relationships.

Yet, after you’ve laid the groundwork for a great team, maintenance is the most important factor.

No one doubts the importance of team building in an organization, but the necessity to understand the importance of team communication maintain the team and continually foster an environment where it can grow is sometimes overlooked.

Just like any engine in a car, in order for all the pieces to function perfectly and reliably, the integral parts must be serviced regularly. Effective coaching for your team may mean the difference between significant long-term productivity and a slow decline into obsolescence.

Ready for the next step? Sign up for a Communication Skills Workshop today.

7 reasons why communication is important in a team.

The most significant factor in any team is the ability to communicate skillfully. As a leader, you must evaluate the team’s communication skills honestly.

How can you ensure your communication is driving unity and not sowing discord? How can you communicate in a way that empowers your team? Here are a few reasons why communicating on a team is important:

1. Sets Team Communication Goals

Setting team communication goals can help ensure team communication maintains its effectiveness. Develop goals that will enhance mutual understanding and collaboration throughout your team. Defining your team’s communication challenges will help you clearly see where you need to improve.

While setting team communication goals can help define overall communication objectives, you can also use them to focus on specific aspects of communication that can be improved .

2. Doesn’t Reinvent the Wheel

Remember, no matter what kind of problem your team may be facing; chances are someone else has already dealt with a similar issue and has a unique way to approach it. Seek these people out with a passion; they will inspire both you and your team to excel.

Standing on the shoulders of others is a critical key to your team’s transformation and forward progress. You can apply the previously developed method rather than spend your valuable time on trial and error. Here are a few tried-and-true communication principles that can help you get started.

3. Makes Time For Communication

Teams need time to communicate, which makes finding that time an important objective. Setting aside time for meetings and quick syncs or project updates can help your team build trust and communicate effectively. Giving your team time to communicate will allow them to celebrate each other or reach out about issues.

4. Keeps Things Clear

If you have ever experienced complicated and confusing communication, you understand the importance of straightforward, understandable communication. Frequently, organizational communication is intended to keep everyone on the same page, but it needs to be clear in order to do so. Make sure the purpose of your communication is easily understood whether you are communicating in person or digitally. Your team shouldn’t have to guess your desired outcome or the intended recipient.

5. Shows Respect

In order for team communication to be effective, it must be respectful. Showing respect in communication can be as simple as respecting your team’s time and keeping communication productive and streamlined. Constructive criticism also needs to be given and received respectfully. Sometimes, team members are wrong, but maintaining respectful communication can be the difference between a quick correction and a complete derailment.

6. Encourages Collaboration

The ability to express individual perspectives and share insights is a crucial reason why communication is important in a team. Effective team communication is the cornerstone of collaboration within any organization. It serves as the driving force that sustains a flow of ideas, understanding, and a sense of purpose among team members. Open and transparent communication ensures teams are better equipped to coordinate their efforts and collectively work toward a common goal.

The importance of feeling heard and valued cannot be overstated, as it encourages innovation within any group.

7. Enhances Team Satisfaction

Regular updates, feedback, and acknowledgment through effective communication channels can significantly impact your team’s sense of camaraderie, their loyalty to their position, and your organization’s overall objectives.

Effective communication ultimately nurtures a supportive environment, driving individuals to invest their best efforts within their roles. Open communication fosters inclusivity, allowing team members to seek support and voice unique contributions. This can cultivate a sense of ownership and belonging, reinforcing team and individual commitment to the organization.

Developing Strong Communication Skills

Fostering effective communication skills is a key component of team success. These skills lay the foundation for a more efficient, harmonious work environment. How do you develop effective communication skills at work? Teams can actively enhance their proficiency with these actionable strategies.

1. Active Listening

Do your team members practice active listening? The key to effective communication is as much about creating space for ideas as it is about adding to the collective pot. It’s important to practice active listening, which involves listening to understand or comprehend rather than to respond. How do you practice active listening? Start here:

  • Stand back to allow team members to share ideas
  • Engage with others’ perspectives
  • Rephrase and confirm what you heard

2. Training and Workshops

Does your team know the basics of effective communication? Communication-focused training sessions can give each team member valuable insights and practical tips for effective communication. These sessions typically include tips for expressing ideas clearly, adapting communication styles for different audiences, and establishing frameworks for constructive feedback.

3. Open Dialogue

Do your team members feel heard when they share ideas? Cultivating a culture of open dialogue within the team can encourage individuals to voice their thoughts and ask questions. A culture of open dialogue also prompts team members to contribute more readily to discussions. This improves organizational communication and can also strengthen team cohesion.

4. Regular Feedback

Does your organization employ regular feedback mechanisms? Establishing a consistent feedback framework helps team members engage with constructive input and practice multiple communication styles. This process also helps team members refine their approach to communication and feedback through continuous conversation, surveys, open discussions, peer feedback sessions, or other feedback channels.

5. Role Modeling

Do your team leaders prioritize clear and transparent communication? Leaders play a crucial role in emphasizing strong communication skills and can powerfully influence the communication culture within your organization by leading through example. Team leaders set a positive standard for communication by exemplifying effective communication practices.

6. Accessible Resources

Do your team members have access to resources on effective communication? Whether it’s guidance on effective email communication or public speaking, providing team members with resources to hone their communication skills can empower them to communicate more confidently and effectively.

Maintaining Effective Communication Within a Team

Asking the question, why is communication important in a team, is the first step to building a stronger team. Every system naturally has a tendency to break down. This isn’t just my opinion; it is the way of all human interaction. Without consistent lubrication and preventive maintenance to keep your people performing at their best, your team will digress into a meaningless, under-optimized machine. The key is to think creatively when renewing team purpose and commitment.

The Secret to an Effective Team Communication Strategy: Check in Regularly

Good communication means just that–going the extra step to ensure progress. Checking in with your team members means more than ensuring their productivity is high. A teammate who is at the end of his rope when it comes to workload may seem productive right up to the moment that he ‘breaks.’ When this happens, the personnel gap may cost you more money than if you had checked in frequently with the team member and discovered the issues before they became problems.

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Understanding the importance of communication in teamwork

Imagine stepping into a modern team environment where one element ties everyone together, enabling success and fostering unity. Can you guess what this key element is?

Often, it's communication. 

Communication is not just about passing information around; it may be the glue that holds the team together , facilitating problem-solving and decision-making while promoting a sense of togetherness.

This article will explore this world of teamwork and communication, working through how fostering the two could improve job satisfaction and more. Read on to learn how effective communication can build lasting, positive relationships at work, and why it's a top priority at many successful businesses.

The essence of team communication

Team communication is the process by which information, ideas, and thoughts are discussed among fellow members within an organization. These channels could include written communication, verbal discussions, digital interactions, or non-verbal cues like body language. Each team member plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth flow of information, contributing to the company's intelligence and efficiency.

Effective communication in a team often fosters transparency, builds trust, enhances collaboration, and, ultimately, leads to better performance. In contrast, poor communication often results in misunderstandings, confusion, low morale, and decreased productivity. Good communication practices can also empower teams to not only exchange information and ideas effectively but could also boost team morale while increasing job satisfaction.

Further, healthy group communication may form the backbone of team collaboration. The ability to exchange ideas and build on others' perspectives could lead to creative problem-solving and innovative solutions. Regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and group discussions can enhance this collaborative spirit, potentially leading to a more engaged and productive team.

The next sections will reveal the different components that are often needed for healthy and productive team communication. In uncovering these central tenets, you may enhance your understanding of how important communication can promote success and satisfaction in the workplace.

Unpacking effective team communication

The role of team leaders in cultivating good communication.

A key component that can promote success in your team's collaborative efforts is a positive role model in leadership who cultivates healthy communication. A team leader often models effective communication when they promote communication feedback loops that build trust and confidence between all members of the group.

The team leader can be crucial in setting up robust communication channels. They often lay the groundwork for open dialogues, stimulate active participation, and ensure they hear each team member's voice. By welcoming different communication styles and facilitating dialogues, leaders can notably improve the team's communication flow and nurture an inclusive culture.

The role of body language in communication

While verbal and written communication may be paramount, non-verbal cues and body language could be just as important. In fact, research has shown that up to 93% of communication is influenced by tone, attitude, and body language , with body language accounting for 55% of this number.

Body language could consist of our facial expressions, gestures, touching, postural changes, body positioning, or eye contact. How we use these different facets of body language can greatly influence the social and professional environment in the workplace. Effective body language , such as maintaining eye contact, nodding in agreement, and displaying open postures, can convey a sense of engagement and empathy, potentially adding depth to the workplace communication process.

The role of emotional intelligence in effective communication

As body language may greatly influence the tone of communication, emotions and feelings may also contribute to its success. While maintaining a professional attitude may be important, you might also consider that we are all human, with a full spectrum of emotions and not just cogs in a corporate machine. Emotional intelligence , defined as recognizing and understanding our own emotions and those of others, may play a critical role in how we communicate effectively. 

Mutual awareness of emotional intelligence can help us manage our responses and navigate social interactions more effectively, potentially enhancing team communication.

Team members with elevated emotional intelligence may be more empathetic, understanding, or better listeners. They may perceive non-verbal cues, like body language, and respond in ways that foster positive interactions.

Exploring the implications of written communication

Written communication may be vital to fruitful workplace interactions, often providing a record of decisions and instructions. Articulated emails, project proposals, meeting minutes, or team reports can help reduce ambiguity and improve team understanding. However, a balanced written and verbal communication mix is often pivotal in avoiding misinterpretations or miscommunications and fostering human connections.

Technology and communication in teamwork

In our increasingly digital world, technology is often a significant player in how teams communicate. Platforms for video conferencing, project management, and instant messaging have transformed how many companies connect and collaborate. 

However, consider whether technology is enhancing workplace communication or complicating it. Choosing the right tools that align with your team's needs can foster efficient communication and collaboration, no matter where your team members are.

Cultivating positive work relationships through strong team communication

Through strong team communication, teams can foster positive work relationships. An environment where everyone feels heard and appreciated can foster mutual respect and collaboration. Constructive feedback, recognition of efforts, and consistent communication may contribute to building positive relationships and a healthy work environment. In cultivating these positive work relationships through strong team communication, a workplace could be characterized by a positive atmosphere modeled in job satisfaction, trust, and mutual respect. Consider the following points.

Harnessing the power of strong communication for team success

Strong communication often is not just about clear expression; it may also involve active listening , understanding, and responding effectively. Teams prioritizing these elements may be more successful, as they are often better equipped to navigate challenges, manage conflicts, and leverage diverse ideas for growth.

Communication and trust: A dynamic duo

Trust is often the foundation upon which positive work relationships are built, and communication may be key to building this trust. Open, transparent conversations can create an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

When team leaders and members express their thoughts and listen actively, it may foster trust, integrity, and collaboration. This openness often is not just about speaking up; it may also be about being willing to actively listen to what others are saying and without judgment or criticism.

The relationship between good communication and job satisfaction

The benefits of good communication often extend beyond operational efficiency. It could directly influence job satisfaction, creating a sense of belonging among team members. Open communication channels may allow team members to express their ideas, concerns, and feedback without fear of reprisal, often leading to a more enjoyable and fulfilling work experience. Furthermore, leaders who encourage positive and healthy communication are often more likely to reach business goals, which in turn could promote a sense of pride in the workplace and increased job satisfaction.

The art of giving and receiving feedback

Feedback is often a two-way street and a crucial part of team growth. Constructive feedback may help us learn and improve our work. Encouraging a culture where feedback is discussed openly and positively can greatly improve a team's dynamics and performance. This often applies to feedback that is presented to promote growth and learning as opposed to feedback that aims to criticize or demotivate.

Communication breakdown: A barrier to team success

Sometimes, things do not go as smoothly as we would prefer. We have discussed the ideal scenario where effective communication ties everyone together, boosting team collaboration. But what happens when communication breaks down or when messages become muddled or left unsaid?

A communication breakdown could be a wrench in the gears of a well-oiled machine. Teams may depend on seamless team communication to function effectively. When this flow is disrupted, it can lead to a myriad of issues, including conflict, misunderstandings, and decreased productivity. Identifying and addressing these hiccups promptly can help steer the team back on track.

Therapy: A catalyst for enhancing communication and teamwork

In pursuing effective teamwork and optimal communication, one tool that often goes unnoticed is therapy. Therapy isn't just for addressing personal concerns; it can also be a fantastic resource to improve team dynamics and boost communication.

Encouraging emotional openness

Therapy provides a safe space for team members to express their thoughts and feelings openly. It often fosters emotional awareness and empathy, facilitating an environment where team members can understand and appreciate each other's perspectives. This emotional openness can significantly enhance communication quality and deepen the team's bonds.

Unpacking and resolving conflict

No matter how harmonious they are, teams may still encounter conflicts. Group therapy , a type of therapeutic intervention, provides a non-confrontational and constructive platform to unravel these conflicts. 

Therapists facilitate open discussions and equip teams with conflict management strategies. This can turn disagreements into opportunities for growth and learning, often preventing them from becoming sources of discord.

Strengthening interpersonal relationships

Therapy can also enhance interpersonal relationships within a team. Therapeutic exercises designed to promote trust, mutual respect, and understanding can help build stronger connections among team members. Better relationships can lead to improved teamwork, enhanced collaboration, and a more harmonious work environment.

Building communication skills

Therapy can be an excellent medium for honing communication skills. Therapeutic exercises and role-playing scenarios can help team members develop active listening skills, articulate their thoughts more clearly, and learn to provide constructive feedback. With improved communication skills, teams may be able to collaborate more efficiently and effectively.

Enhancing team resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Therapy can help teams build this resilience, equipping them with coping strategies and emotional skills to navigate work-related stress and challenges. Resilient teams may be more cohesive and capable of handling pressures and setbacks, potentially leading to improved performance and job satisfaction.

The effectiveness of therapy in enhancing communication and teamwork

Therapy has been widely recognized as an effective tool for enhancing communication skills . Through structured interventions and therapeutic exercises, individuals may learn to express their thoughts and feelings more clearly and listen attentively to others. This enhanced interpersonal communication can translate into improved team dynamics and collaboration.

Moreover, organizations that have implemented therapeutic interventions have observed decreased conflicts and improved conflict resolution strategies . These interventions have enabled teams to address concerns constructively, fostering a more harmonious and cooperative work environment.

Life can be busy, and coordinating schedules can be complicated, especially if you are looking to meet with a therapist for workplace-related guidance. Furthermore, in-person therapy can be inconvenient for those who work remotely. In these cases,  online therapy , where you can meet with a therapist in the comfort of your office, at home or in the workplace, can be an excellent alternative to in-person therapy.

Research supports online therapy platforms as being just as effective as in-person options. A recent meta-analysis published in Clinical Psychology Science and Practice reported that teletherapy resulted in symptom reduction in the majority of clients.

Embracing cultural diversity: How to build cultural competence in teamwork

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What is Team Communication and Why Is It Important

Dostoevsky once said, “Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” However, a lack of communication can lead to much more than just unhappiness.

Although Dostoevsky (probably) didn’t have team communication in mind when he wrote his famous quote above, lack of communication or bad communication can lead to a complete team breakdown . 

Team communication is important because when team members don’t communicate well throughout their joint work, they can’t successfully collaborate. 

In this guide, we’ll go into the details of team communication and its importance, and cover topics such as:

  • The basic definition of team communication ,
  • The benefits of good team communication ,
  • How poor communication affects a team , and
  • Examples of good team communication .

We’ll also share some expert opinions and tips on how to communicate effectively in a team. 

Let’s dive in!

Communication importance-cover

Table of Contents

What is team communication?

According to the MIT Human Resources website, a team is a group “formed deliberately and carefully to meet work needs that an individual or a group of individuals cannot meet as effectively.” Meanwhile, the same website defines teamwork as “a shared commitment both to the team’s process (how the team works together) and to its product (what work the team accomplishes).” 

In order for teamwork to happen, individuals working in a team need to work interdependently but also come together regularly to:

  • Make decisions,
  • Carry out discussions,
  • Plan future work, and
  • Solve problems. 

To be able to do that, the team needs to communicate frequently and effectively. 

Team communication represents all interactions and exchanges of information that occur in a team . This includes various:

  • Types of communication (e.g. verbal, nonverbal, written, or visual interactions),
  • Communication situations (e.g. 1-to-1 conversations, job interviews, or meetings),
  • Communication styles (e.g. aggressive, passive, or assertive forms of communication), 
  • Communication channels (e.g. phone calls, direct messages in team communication apps, or emails), and
  • Communication models (e.g. one-way, two-way, and complex two-way communication).

At its core, team communication is a transmission of information . However, in order to have truly effective communication in a team, we have to successfully transmit information — i.e. the person sharing the information has to convey the information properly, and the person or group receiving the information has to interpret it properly. 

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To learn more about different types, situations, styles, channels, and models of communication, check out our other dedicated guides:

  • Types of communication
  • Communication situations at work
  • Communication styles 
  • Channels of communication  
  • 8 Communication models explained

How does team communication relate to teamwork?

Team communication is a crucial element in establishing great teamwork across the workplace. 

The flow of new ideas, recognition for your efforts thus far, feedback that inspires you to improve further, or, in gist, everything beneficial that comes from teamwork, requires constant, proper communication.

We spoke about this to Dr. Raffaello Antonino , a senior lecturer in counseling psychology, who agrees that team communication influences all aspects of teamwork.

RAFFAELLO ANTONINO

“Think of team communication as the glue that holds the entire operation together. It directly impacts how well a team functions. Effective communication ensures the workload is shared equitably, fostering a sense of unity and common purpose. It eliminates confusion by clearly outlining everyone’s role and responsibilities, increasing productivity and focus. It’s also your most potent tool in: 

  • Conflict resolution, 
  • Diffusing tensions, and 
  • Promoting understanding. 

And let’s not forget, it’s through casual chats and shared laughs that strong bonds are formed, making the workplace a pleasant place to be. In essence, team communication is teamwork’s behind-the-scenes orchestrator, subtly but significantly influencing the team’s dynamic.”

A communications and PR expert, Jake Ciccarelli , agrees and adds that there are 3 key points of relation between communication and teamwork. 

JAKE CICCARELLI

“Communication relates to teamwork in 3 key ways: 

  • Sharing information, 
  • Building trust with one another, and 
  • Increasing productivity. 

Sharing information allows the team to see if everyone is on the same page about a task or project at hand and equips all team members with the appropriate and necessary information. Building trust in a team comes from knowing you can rely on one another when things get difficult. Lastly, increasing productivity goes with making other team members feel comfortable to communicate in your shared space — when someone is more comfortable, they will communicate any potential issues, which will facilitate higher chances of success.”

The impact of teamwork

As determined, effective business communication is of the utmost importance because teamwork relies on it, and teamwork has a myriad of benefits. Teamwork:

  • Breeds great ideas — According to John J. Murphy, the author of “ Pulling Together: 10 Rules for High-Performance Teamwork ,” we may admire the “lone geniuses”, but each famous name whose inventions and skills we praise today had a team of people behind them who made it all possible to such an extent.
  • Encourages healthy risk-taking — Working in a team allows individuals to share responsibility with their teammates, and thus encourages them to take some healthy risks. That is beneficial both for employees (as it helps them be perceived in a more favorable light ) and organizations (as it allows workers to propose new solutions to old problems).
  • Makes individuals happier (and more successful) — One Atlassian research reports that honest feedback, mutual respect, and personal openness (which are all integral to great teamwork) help make the members of a team 80% more likely to report high-emotional well-being and 60% more likely to achieve more and perform work faster.  
  • Helps teammates grow as individuals — Teamwork can help individuals understand their weaknesses and then work on improving them. Furthermore, working in a team means having a safe space to grow while being supported by other team members (through delegation, feedback, etc.)
  • Decreases the chance for burnout — According to a study conducted by Edelman Data and Intelligence , 50% of employees and 53% of managers have experienced at least some level of burnout. Burnout is linked with the stress of having a lot of work to do and not enough time and resources to do it. Teamwork can alleviate this kind of stress as teams share the workload.

Why is communication important in teamwork? (a.k.a the benefits of team communication)

Teamwork and communication are interlinked and dependent on one another. A study done on teamwork and team decision-making showed that teams tend to reach conclusions through the exchange of arguments and communication, which leads to better group performance .

Better group performance is one of the most important benefits of team communication. The others are:

  • Better understanding,
  • Easier collaboration,
  • Increased productivity,
  • Improved creativity,
  • Easier problem-solving, and
  • Lower chance for conflict. 

However, the list doesn’t stop there. Here are all the benefits of good team communication that highlight why you should pursue it for the sake of great teamwork.

Benefit #1: Good team communication promotes understanding

Good communication can help you avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication at work . Sadly, miscommunication is something that happens quite frequently. 

According to a survey conducted by Interact and reported by the Harvard Business Review , as many as 57% of employees report not being given clear directions for their work. What’s more, 69% of managers report they’re uncomfortable communicating with employees , while 37% said they don’t feel comfortable giving feedback. 

Another study reports that only around 14% of managers are confident in their skills when it comes to providing feedback. This can often prove detrimental to productivity and employee satisfaction, given that 72% of employees say they would perform better if they were given feedback (even if it’s negative feedback).

Clearly communicating intentions and providing feedback to your teammates or employees is crucial for success because it promotes understanding. Teammates and managers who communicate with each other are more likely to understand each other and overcome a number of obstacles in their work. 

If you’re clear, concise, and precise , but also attentive on your own end when conversing with someone, you’ll increase the chances of understanding what has been communicated, for both parties in the communication process.

Feedback is crucial for success, but that doesn’t mean asking for it is easy. If you need some insight into how to properly do it, check out the Pumble blog post below:

  • How to ask your manager for feedback

And, if you’re one of the 86% of managers who aren’t comfortable with giving feedback (especially virtually), then these two blog posts will help you gain some much-needed confidence:

  • How to give constructive feedback when working remotely
  • How to conduct a virtual performance review

Benefit #2: Good team communication leads to good collaboration

Although many people consider them one and the same, teamwork and collaboration are different . The main differences between teamwork and collaboration lie in:

  • The diversity of skills (teamwork requires a group of people with similar skills, while collaboration requires a more diverse pool of experts), and
  • The desire for creation (teamwork relies on agreements to reach a common goal, while collaboration thrives on uncertainty in hopes of creating something new).

Still, although different, teamwork and collaboration are interlinked, and teamwork relies quite heavily on collaboration. And even though that’s the case, studies, like the one conducted at the Queens University of Charlotte , show that up to 39% of employees believe that the people in their organization don’t collaborate enough.

Collaboration and effective communication go hand in hand and help build an effective workflow. Teams that communicate clearly throughout their work together, manage to collaborate better. In turn, they share the workload, which decreases stress levels across the team and minimizes the chance of individuals burning out. 

As a result, business processes run more smoothly and all obstacles are noticed and addressed in a timely manner.

Effective communication is crucial both for collaboration and teamwork. To find out more about it and pick up a few extra tips on how to communicate effectively, read the following guide:

  • What is effective communication? Definition, examples, and 13 steps to improve it

Benefit #3: Good team communication increases productivity

All teams strive for productivity. But, productivity is only possible if everyone understands: 

  • Their roles in a team , 
  • The roles of their teammates , and 
  • The expectations for their work .

“What task should I work on first?”

“What resources will I have to work on the task?”

“What is my deadline?”

Answers to these and similar questions bring clarity, and clarity only comes when we invest effort in communication . As a direct result, everyone can fully focus on pursuing their roles in the expectations for the team’s common goals.

One study presented in Pumble’s workplace communication statistics shows that employees who feel included in workplace communication and receive detailed information are 5 times more likely to report higher levels of productivity. These self-reported increases in productivity are confirmed by other studies that show that 72% of business leaders share the belief that effective communication has a direct impact on employee productivity. 

Moreover, good communication and better productivity are also connected indirectly. When you communicate more frequently, you decrease the chance of misunderstandings , which helps you work faster, and with better quality. 

Establishing good communication is a vital step in increasing productivity in a team. To find out what the other steps are, read the following Pumble resource:

  • Best practices for productive team collaboration

Benefit #4: Good team communication increases motivation

Employees who aren’t “in the know” about what happens in their workplace are naturally less likely to feel invested in it and thus motivated to contribute to it in any way. 

But, more importantly, employees who don’t receive information on what is expected of them due to lack of clear communication, simply won’t be motivated to do their tasks . 

Of course, the motivation of an employee depends on quite a few factors, and clearly communicating their tasks and obligations is just one of them. Overall communication is also important. 

In fact, all forms of communication can affect employee motivation, starting from the very simple, “How’s it going?” from a superior all the way to carefully thought out constructive criticism in the form of a review. 

Frequent, clear, and thoughtful communication makes employees feel appreciated, included, and a part of a team, which, in turn, makes them more motivated. Quite a few studies prove this in practice. For example, one study presented in Trade Press Services stated that over 85% of employees feel motivated when they receive regular updates from upper management.

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Benefit #5: Good team communication increases creativity 

It’s often said that two minds think better than one. And, according to another article by the Harvard Business Review , communication that occurs between team members (i.e. internal communication) and communication that occurs with people outside of your team (i.e. external communication) both promote creativity , as they enable you to learn from others and work with a larger pool of information.

So, once you have a particular idea, it’s a great practice to use two-way communication to further discuss it with other people. They can share their own knowledge and experience on the subject, and contribute to your original idea with their own suggestions and alternative solutions. 

As a result of such brainstorming sessions made possible through transparent communication , teams will increase the creative potential of individual teammates’ ideas and perhaps build or create new solutions that retain worth from the point of view of many different perspectives. 

Benefit #6: Good team communication fuels innovation

One of the key differences between innovation and invention is that innovation can’t happen without teamwork . In order to innovate something, you have to work in a group, receive feedback from others, and workshop ideas.

Innovation most often happens in diverse, cross-functional teams that communicate well. What’s more, in order for innovation to happen, there needs to be a transparent and open exchange of ideas . As soon as there are team silos and a silo mentality, innovation becomes impossible. 

So, improving team communication and encouraging team members to communicate openly and freely increases the chances of innovation .  

Benefit #7: Good team communication helps you accept changes easier

According to an article by Forbes on how managers and employees perceive change that cites a 10-question assessment called “What’s Your Style of Change Management,” as many as 45% of frontline professionals prefer to retain their status quo .

But, the business world is often changing, and so is the marketplace. 

By fostering good communication tactics and strategies, you’ll ease the negative effects people may associate with changes , by making everyone aware of these changes in a detailed and timely manner. Another Forbes article, “ The Importance Of Communication When There Is Change In A Company , ” states that communication eases the entire process and creates “synergy that promotes a better understanding of what you and your team are working to achieve.”

When everyone is aware of the benefits certain changes may bring for the future of the team, a project they are working on, and maybe even the entire company, these changes become much easier to accept.

That, in turn, also makes implementing change much easier . Communication is the core of any change implementation . Managers and leaders who successfully and openly communicate the kind of changes they are implementing, as well as the repercussions of said changes (in terms of tasks, responsibilities, and workplace environment), are more likely to gain the trust and goodwill of their employees.  

Benefit #8: Good team communication helps you solve problems easier

Working on a project usually comes with its fair share of problems — problems that may require some difficult decisions. And, according to McKinsey’s article “ The case for behavioral strategy ”, as many as 73% of senior executives believe their companies make bad decisions more often than good decisions.

But, consulting with others makes difficult decisions easier, as you get a more diverse set of opinions and solutions to choose from. This applies both when trying to solve problems plaguing your individual tasks and your team’s project on the whole.

Benefit #9: Good team communication improves employee morale (and decreases employee turnover) 

According to a survey by Recruiter , as many as 33% of managers state that a lack of honest communication affects team morale negatively . Furthermore, 38% of managers believe that the best remedy for low employee morale is communication. 

Teammates who communicate with each other, and aim to communicate honestly, connect with each other better. What’s more, if managers communicate with their teams more, they may better understand individual team member’s skills and talents, and then use this knowledge to assign the right tasks to the right people. 

As a result of improving the connection between team members and acknowledging the value of individuals , the work environment becomes more positive and attentive. This results in improved employee morale, but also in decreased employee turnover. 

If you’re lacking ideas on how to boost employee morale — and a good old “improve communication” simply won’t cut it — check out the following Pumble blog post:

  • 19 experts share tips on boosting employee morale in the workplace

Benefit #10: Good team communication increases employee loyalty

A loyal employee is every manager’s dream. Loyal employees gladly contribute to the company’s goals because they share them (or at least share the vision) and take pride in utilizing their skills for the success of the company . 

By maintaining good team communication, companies can work on increasing employee loyalty. Good communication fosters respect, unity, and value , which can all lead to employees being more loyal.

Benefit #11: Good team communication helps you deal with conflicts easier 

Diverse teams have teammates with different opinions, and such different opinions may result in occasional conflicts. After all, the report on workplace conflict titled “ Workplace Conflict and How Businesses Can Harness It to Thrive ” shows that as many as 85% of employees deal with conflict , at least on some level. 

These conflicts may stem from misunderstandings or the feeling that you’re disrespected, taken advantage of, or disregarded in any way. 

Good communication eases and prevents conflict as it helps people 

  • Voice their concerns, 
  • Understand each other’s behaviors and thought processes better, and 
  • Respond to differences in opinion with a more open mind. 

Benefit #12: Good team communication creates a non-threatening environment

Successful communication with team members creates a healthy environment where everyone feels safe. Psychological safety is essential for job satisfaction and quality of life, as well as the quality of work done.

According to research on productivity in a toxic environment , a toxic environment — one including bullying, harassment, humiliation, and gaslighting at work — leads to emotional exhaustion and job burnout . It also decreases productivity significantly since people can’t function at their maximum capacity when they’re under constant stress.

On the other hand, when communication in teams is open and coworkers resolve conflicts in a professional and mature way , people feel safe and at ease, which allows them to work without any psychological and emotional impediments.

Maintaining a non-threatening environment is one of the ways companies can foster mental health in the workplace. Read more about it in the following Pumble blog post:

  • Mental health in the (remote) workplace

Benefit #13: Good team communication builds trust 

According to a study about trust in the workplace conducted by the Workforce Institute at UKG, trust needs to be earned — as reported by 63% of managers and employees. The main strategies for earning trust are listening and honesty (which are key features of effective communication). 

If you are able to listen attentively and convey your own messages with clarity, as well as accept other people’s ideas and opinions, you help build the trust that everyone understands their responsibilities and duties. More importantly, you help build the trust that everyone means to carry out their work as expected. 

In his article, “ The Neuroscience of Trust ,” Paul J. Zack states that trust can make or break a company. Building a culture of trust has a myriad of benefits:

  • Better collaboration,
  • Longer engagement,
  • More energetic approach,
  • Less chronic stress, and
  • Better life satisfaction.

The only way to reap all the benefits of trust is to create it — and you can do so by having open communication. 

Benefit #14: Good team communication builds self-esteem

It’s true that a group is only as strong as its weakest link, which is why it is vital to build each individual in a team up and help them boost their self-esteem. Effective group communication can do just that — help everyone feel their best to strengthen the team as a whole .

The overall team resilience depends on the self-confidence of individuals . This means that the team won’t get disheartened in the face of failure or challenges, and it will easily bounce back from any setbacks.

Good team communication means ensuring that:

  • Everyone has a safe space to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas,
  • Team members are given frequent constructive feedback,
  • Achievements are acknowledged and celebrated, and
  • Engagement is encouraged.

Successful teamwork and communication will not only build people’s professional self-esteem but will also reflect on their private lives . After all, work is a large part of our lives, and its effects can pour into other aspects of our identities and not just our work personas.

Benefit #15: Good team communication encourages future input

According to Westside Toastmasters , effective communication makes people more open and willing to share with the team , as they know that their opinions will be heard and valued. 

Every time the team listens, respects, and maybe even accepts a new idea or opinion, it paves the road for more diverse and useful input from other colleagues across the entire team, in future interactions.

Benefit #16: Good team communication builds client relations

An organization can’t foster great relationships with its clients and other external parties if its internal communication is amiss.

When you need to communicate with the outside world, you do so as a whole — that is corporate communication . When a representative talks to a prospective client, they do so on behalf of their entire organization, so they need to be well aware of its internal processes.

If a representative handling a client miscommunicates their requests while relaying them to their team, the client will not get what they asked for and will quite possibly terminate their relationship with the business.

Effective team communication makes internal processes function like a well-oiled machine , which facilitates communication and collaboration with external parties.

Communicating with third parties is often a stumbling block for many companies. To find out the best ways of handling third-party communication, read the following blog post:

  • How to effectively communicate and collaborate with third parties in business

Benefit #17: Good team communication improves the organization’s reputation

So, great communication and teamwork directly affect the company’s client relations , thus improving its overall reputation.

If your company is marked as sloppy, disorganized, or inattentive, this can have long-term negative effects on how the world perceives you.

However, it’s not just about your reputation in terms of how potential clients see you — it’s also about building your employer brand.

Successful communication and teamwork in the workplace can build a company’s reputation as an employer. Satisfied employees spread the good word , thus attracting more qualified job seekers. Over 80% of leaders agree that employer branding has a massive impact on a company’s ability to hire talent . 

How poor communication affects a team

Poor communication happens when the sender and receiver have a different take on the message . That can happen due to many reasons, but the effects are always the same — miscommunication. 

In teams, this problem can occur on a 1-to-1 level of interaction among teammates, between management and employees, as well as within a team as a whole.

The effects of prolonged poor communication in teams can be grave:

  • Unstable work environment,
  • Lower productivity,
  • Disruption in collaboration,
  • Low morale,
  • Workplace tension,
  • Poor external relationships, and
  • Loss of reputation.

Let’s learn more about each consequence of miscommunication.

Consequence #1: Poor communication creates an unstable work environment

When teams are unable to communicate effectively, they are easily overcome by the constant uncertainty and stress of not having clear objectives . And, as mentioned before, employees who don’t know what’s expected of them are less likely to be motivated to do their tasks.

Consequence #2: Poor communication lowers productivity

When there’s a breakdown in communication, team members can’t function at their optimum level. This lowers employee engagement and, given that engaged employees are 14% more productive than disengaged ones, the overall productivity of the team. 

Consequence#3: Poor communication causes disruptions in team collaboration

Without effective communication, team members are often left to their own devices and are unable to properly collaborat e. This, in turn, shuts the door to innovation, brainstorming, and any other form of collaborative work. 

Consequence #4: Poor communication causes low employee morale

Without proper communication, employees can feel underappreciated, which can lead them to lag behind with work. When employees are disheartened, they are less motivated to utilize their skills for company gain. 

Consequence #5: Poor communication creates workplace tension and conflicts

In an atmosphere of uncertainty and miscommunication, tension can build up and disrupt the workflow . The most visible, and at the same time, the most detrimental effect of poor communication is conflict among coworkers, which can harm the entire team. 

Consequence #6: Poor communication causes poor external relationships

Poor communication is infectious, so when team members miscommunicate, they can relay confusing and even contradictory messages to clients and other external parties.

Consequence #7: Poor communication can lead to a loss of reputation

When poor communication becomes the norm, the entire company suffers, and as bad reviews pile up, the organization’s reputation takes a huge hit.

What are the components of the team communication process?

In order to improve team communication, we must first understand it. But to do so, we’ll need to understand the processes of general communication first.

According to various theoretical frameworks , the communication process is a series of actions taken in order to successfully communicate a message . It involves 8 main components:

  • The sender,
  • The message,
  • The channel,
  • Decoding, and 

There are also two additional components to the process of communication that some researchers add as quite important:

  • Environment, and
  • Context.  

The 8 main components of communication

  • Selecting the type of message,
  • Analyzing the receiver,
  • Using the you-viewpoint,
  • Encouraging feedback, and
  • Removing communication barriers .
  • In spoken form,
  • In written form,
  • As visual information, or
  • As nonverbal cues.
  • Encoding — Encoding is the process of turning the thought or idea the sender wants to convey into communication by choosing the right words in the right order to “describe” the thought or idea, and then placing the message into an appropriate channel.
  • Noise — Noise or interference is everything that interferes with the communication process during encoding or decoding and distorts the intended message. Noise can be physiological (e.g. hunger), psychological (e.g. internal issues we may have), physical (e.g. noisy office), or semantical (e.g. not understanding the other person due to overuse of jargon).
  • The channel — According to McLean in his book The Basics of Interpersonal Communication , the channel is “the way in which a message or messages travel between source and receiver.” Good examples of communication channels are face-to-face communication or a team communication app.
  • Be attentive in order to understand the message,
  • Have the right communication channels active, and 
  • Not be distracted by the previously mentioned noise.
  • Decoding — Decoding is the process of turning communication into a thought or idea, to make sense of what was communicated. 

Feedback — Feedback is the reply the receiver has to the message. It answers the question of whether the message was properly encoded, sent, decoded, and interpreted.

2 Additional components of communication

As mentioned, certain theoretical frameworks add 2 more components: 

  • The environment , which is “the atmosphere, physical and psychological, where you send and receive messages,” according to McLean, and
  • The context , which is “the setting, scene, and expectations of the individuals involved.” Context may be interpreted differently by different participants in a conversation, in terms of its formality and the rules the communicators should follow.

Communication Process

Team communication example

So, now that we’ve understood the communication process in general, it’s time to see how this process applies to communication in a team . 

In gist, the team communication process involves the same listed elements. 

In any instance of the communication process among teammates, members of other teams, and managers, someone will be regarded as a sender who’ll need to encode/transform a line of thought into a message. Furthermore, someone will be regarded as a receiver who’ll need to decode/understand the message and then provide suitable feedback/reply. 

At any point during this process, noise/interference may arise to distort the original message and/or feedback and disrupt communication.

Let’s take a look at how that might look in real life. For the purpose of this example, let’s imagine Jessica and Milo, who work together as a team on a blog website. Jessica is a writer and Milo is an illustrator.

How team communication unfolds

In this example, we’ll have Jessica be the sender of the message, and Milo the receiver . Jessica (the sender) wants Milo to create a graph for her future blog post. 

To communicate that to him, she goes through all the steps a communication process has to have:

  • She encodes her thought process that led to the idea of creating a graph into written form, where she explains how she wants the graph to look. 
  • She manages to convey her idea for the graph clearly and concisely, despite being distracted by her dog loudly barking at the front door of her home office (physical noise ).
  • She sends her request to Milo (the receiver) as a direct message in a business communication app, Pumble (the channel of communication). 

To ensure her message is interpreted correctly, Jessica also adds a reference image for the graph, just to make sure that Milo understands what elements this particular graph is supposed to have. 

Take a look at the image below that depicts how Jessica’s delivery of her message would go.

A sender encodes a message and picks Pumble, a business communication app, as a communication channel

So, Jessica did everything right. Let’s take a look at how Milo (the receiver) interprets the message. 

He also goes through specific components of communication:

  • He receives the written message and the reference image and decodes everything in such a way that he understands clearly what Jessica has envisioned for the graph. 
  • He manages to do so, despite being quite hungry ( physiological noise ).
  • He sends her a reply that he understands what she needs and that he will send her what she asked for at a specified time.

In the image below, you can see Milo going through the steps we mentioned. 

A receiver decodes the message received on Pumble, a team messaging app, and provides feedback

Why is this an example of good communication?

The exchange of information between Jessica and Milo was effective — Milo understood what Jessica needed and provided feedback on that request. Here’s a recap of all the reasons why this particular exchange was successful.

Reason #1: Jessica was effective at explaining her request

As the sender, Jessica successfully encoded her idea into a piece of information. She explained everything she wanted the graph to contain, and she was clear, precise, and concise while doing so. She gave Milo access to the draft that contains the data, so he can take in a larger context of the data for the graph if needed. 

Reason #2: Milo was effective at interpreting and replying to the request

Milo, as the receiver, was successful at decoding the piece of information he had just read. He was also successful at sending Jessica appropriate feedback . He was clear about understanding the request and provided precise times when he’ll deliver upon that request.

Reason #3: The channel of communication was effectively chosen

The messaging app they used proved to be a great channel of communication for this conversation, as it allowed Jessica to attach a reference image to clarify her request. Plus, considering that the conversation was realized in written form, Milo can use Jessica’s description of the graph as a reference whenever he needs a reminder of the points they’ve discussed.

Picking the right communication channel is often vital for successful communication. If you’re having trouble choosing the right one for you, take a look at this Pumble Learn article:

  • 18 Best team communication tools for business in 2023

Reason #4: Both parties successfully overcame interferences 

Both Jessica and Milo managed to overcome the noise (i.e. the barking dog and the feeling of hunger) threatening to disrupt the effectiveness of their communication process. 

Reason #5: The communication environment was suitable

The atmosphere the two communicators built while communicating was pleasant, and Jessica did not let her dog (who was a part of that environment, at least on Jessica’s part) disrupt her line of thought at the time and cloud the message she was trying to convey to Milo.

Reason #6: The context was clear

Both parties understood the context of this communication interaction, i.e. each other’s expectations. Jessica preemptively understood that Milo might need more context than simply explaining her thoughts, which is why she provided an example image of what she would like Milo to create. In turn, Milo made it clear that he understood what Jessica was aiming at.

How this example of team communication could have gone wrong

So, the previously described example of communication between Milo, the illustrator, and Jessica, the blog post writer, is an example of good team communication. 

However, this particular instance of the communication process could have gone in a completely different direction.

Risk #1: The interferences could have won

The dog barking in front of Jessica’s door could have led her to forget to highlight important elements of the graph in her written message. 

Moreover, Milo’s feeling of hunger could have led him to misinterpret the type of graph Jessica wants him to create, even if she was clear about this in her written message. Milo also could have been distracted by his other assignments, meaning that he may have not been paying sufficient attention to understand what Jessica is requesting.

Risk #2: There could have been a lack of clarity

Jessica could have also been vague in her request , meaning that Milo may not have understood what type of graph he needs to create. 

Milo could have been vague about when he’ll get back to Jessica about her request. 

In addition, Jessica could have paid less attention to the formatting of her written request, which means that Milo could have had a harder time distinguishing where Jessica’s written request ended and where the data she wants to include in the graph started.

Here’s an example of what that particular interaction would have looked like.

A conversation that lacks clarity from both parties, shown on Pumble, a team communication app

Risk #3: There could have been technical issues

Aside from all the things we mentioned, there also could have been technical issues . For example, Milo could have received the message later than it would have been ideal, due to problems with his internet connection he wasn’t even aware of, considering he usually creates illustrations in an offline app. 

As demonstrated in our example, good communication involves properly conveying and understanding a message . And yet, the process of communication can go wrong in various different ways.

Still, good communication among teammates, but also with other colleagues and managers is always worth pursuing. What’s more, improving team communication means improving the team’s odds of success.  

If you’re struggling with communicating effectively in a team, here are the best tips on how you can achieve productive, effective communication.

How do you communicate effectively in a team?

Poor communication is the leading cause of workplace failure — a fact that over 86% of managers and workers agree with, as one Feirce Inc. study revealed. That is why acquiring strong team communication skills can do wonders for you and your coworkers. But, which exact approach can you take in order to achieve effective communication in groups and teams?

Here are some tips on how to effectively communicate in a team.

Tip #1: Be honest

Honesty and open communication are the cornerstones of successful teamwork . However, people often choose to conform at work in fear of going against the current. But the truth is that inauthenticity at work creates a dissonance within a person that causes them to drift away from the rest of the team.

What’s more, when a team member expresses their disagreement with the general idea, they provide a different perspective that could benefit everyone.

For example, let’s say a member of the marketing team is the only one who notices that the new slogan could be misinterpreted. If they decide to keep quiet only because everyone else agrees the slogan is great, this could seriously damage the brand.

Still, honest communication doesn’t mean you should bluntly and rudely say everything that’s on your mind . Maintaining positive communication while being honest is of the utmost importance because it builds inter-team relationships and increases motivation and productivity (among other things).

Being dishonest and censoring yourself in the hopes of maintaining a “social status” is one of the most common communication mistakes employees make. Find out what the other 13 are (and how to overcome them) in the following Pumble blog post:

  • How to overcome 14 common communication challenges in the workplace

Tip #2: Be clear and concise

As demonstrated in the example with Jessica and Milo, one of the most important components of successful team communication is being able to convey the message clearly and precisely.

So, think before you speak and try to get your point across as effectively as possible.

Not communicating clearly leads people to rely on assumptions when interpreting the message , which is one of the leading causes of communication breakdown .

Miscommunication, in general, leads to misunderstandings, and the latter can cause all sorts of problems within your team, such as missed deadlines, errors, bottlenecks in the workflow, and even conflict .

Tip #3: Be respectful and considerate

Research about respectful communication at work presented in a study “ The Effect of Respect: Respectful Communication at Work Drives Resiliency, Engagement, and Job Satisfaction among Early Career Employees ” showed that people value respectful engagement more than autonomy, job security, and high income .

So, make sure to respect your teammates’ time and energy and be careful not to overburden them. If you want to delegate a task to someone, first check if they have the time and are willing to do it. If someone is on a break and doing nothing, it doesn’t mean they are available for work.

Being considerate can also mean offering help if you see that someone is struggling or even bringing a cup of tea to a stressed-out colleague.

Seemingly little things can go a long way and truly strengthen your relationships within the team.

Tip #4: Use nonviolent communication (NVC)

Nonviolent communication is a concept created by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D, presented in his book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life . This process includes:

  • Observing without judgment,
  • Expressing your feelings,
  • Expressing your needs, and
  • Voicing your requests.

We asked Avigail Lev , psychotherapist, author, mediator, and executive coach, what she thinks the advantages of NVC are. She states that it opens up many possibilities for team communication.

AVIGAIL LEV

“Nonviolent communication is a powerful tool that promotes win-win scenarios in problem-solving. It teaches people how to focus on identifying underlying needs rather than surface-level wants, which allows us to truly understand what is important to each party involved. 

When we can distinguish between wants and needs, we can engage in negotiations that are more likely to meet everyone’s core needs, cultivating a sense of satisfaction and cooperation. 

This approach opens up the possibility for creative problem-solving solutions that shift our focus from rigid positions to flexible exploration of options that address the underlying needs of all parties.”

She continues that through utilizing NVC, we can reach often unattainable win-win solutions.

“When we recognize, value, and negotiate diverse needs, it enables us to find win-win scenarios that promote understanding, collaboration, and sustainable resolutions. 

NVC helps us understand our own limits, boundaries, needs, and desires, resulting in more effective communication and reaching win-win solutions that benefit everyone. It also helps us develop a better understanding of ourselves, through fostering self-awareness and allowing us to connect with our own emotions and needs. 

This self-awareness empowers us to communicate our thoughts and emotions more authentically and assertively.”

NVC is one of the tactics you can use to achieve effective communication. To find out what the rest of them are, read the following Pumble Learn entry:

Tip #5: Listen attentively

Getting your message across successfully is only part of the work. Great team communication also relies on active listening. This is a skill you can practice by being attentive to what your colleagues are saying and truly understanding their points of view.

To ensure you’re doing your best to actively listen when you’re receiving a message, you can try to:

  • Adjust your attitude — a positive attitude makes you more receptive to what other people have to say.
  • Pay attention — paying attention and focusing on both verbal and nonverbal cues people are sending us makes us better listeners.
  • Adjust your response — not making assumptions and being flexible when listening to what the sender of the message is trying to convey is also an important feature of active listening. 

This way, you’ll not only improve your overall team communication and collaboration, but you will also show respect for the other team members and their opinions.

Active listening is one of the vital skills that effective communicators have. To find out more about it, check out this Pumble Learn entry:

  • Active listening: Benefits, skills, and tips

Tip #6: Choose the best channel for conveying your message

Effective and efficient communication also depends on the team’s smart use of different communication channels .

Choosing the right channel to contact a coworker is especially important if you’re working in a remote team and can’t simply hop to their desk and ask a question.

But even in the office, face-to-face communication is often not the best option . For example, you won’t go from person to person delegating tasks if you can do that through a project management platform. Similarly, you won’t stand up in the middle of the office to shout an announcement that you need to deliver to an entire group of people. Instead, you’ll use a different channel — one that is a better outlet for organizational communication . 

Likewise, even in one-on-one conversations, when remote workers need to consult their colleagues on a problem, it’s much more practical to discuss it in a team communication app, such as Pumble , than send emails back and forth.

Maintaining communication through the proper channels is one of the best ways to make your remote team feel connected. Here are a few other tips on how you can do that:

  • How to help your remote team feel more connected

Tip #7: Find everyone’s preferred communication styles

Aside from finding a communication channel that best fits everyone’s needs, it’s also vital that you understand every team member’s preferred communication style. 

Not everyone will communicate in the same way (just like they won’t receive the same message in the same way). 

We asked Ciccarelli about this and he stated that recognizing differences in communication can be the best strategy for improving communication effectiveness.

“Initiate a thorough discussion about each team member’s preferred communication style. 

Recognizing that individuals may have unique preferences and challenges when it comes to communication enables the team to adapt their approaches accordingly. In particular, some team members may find it difficult to ask for help , which is why proactively offering assistance without waiting for a direct request can be an effective way to check in with them. 

This proactive approach demonstrates support and fosters an environment where team members feel comfortable seeking assistance when needed.”

Tip #8: Be open to feedback and constructive criticism

No one is immune to mistakes, and we often can’t see our own errors. That’s why we should value constructive criticism coming from our colleagues , as it can help us learn, grow, and stay engaged.

Constructive criticism is just as important as employee recognition for improvement and engagement, so we should welcome both. In fact, feedback of any kind encourages engagement — ¼ of female employees and ⅕ of male employees state that providing feedback and recognition is a powerful engagement tool . 

Even if you don’t agree with the feedback you receive, take it with grace and don’t get offended . Simply explain your perspective and try to find common ground. Where there’s room for feedback, there’s room for improvement.

Being open to constructive criticism means allowing your team members to prompt you to always strive to become better at what you do.

Tip #9: Address issues as they arise

When left unaddressed, even small issues tend to create frustrations that eventually lead to major problems in the team. So if something is bothering you, be sure to communicate it in a respectful, neutral tone and try to deal with it right away .

Communication in successful work teams is unobstructed and doesn’t steer away from dealing with difficult things .

You may find it hard to deal with the problem, but by addressing it right away, you clear the air and save yourself from building up resentment.

Tip #10: Engage in bottom-up communication

Finally, ensure that all team members, no matter their spot in the team hierarchy, are included in the conversation . That is something that Dr. Antonino highlights as especially important for teamwork and the overall success of the team.

“Often the best ideas come from the ones on the front line, but these can be stifled by hierarchical dynamics. Encouraging communication from those at the lower rungs of the ladder to the top can be a game-changer. It’s like opening the windows and letting fresh air into your strategy planning, giving everyone a sense of ownership and responsibility.”

Dr. Antonino also urges you to remember that effective team communication isn’t a one-way street .

“Remember, this isn’t just about extracting ideas from your team. It’s also about fostering an atmosphere of trust and respect, where everyone feels their voice matters. And it goes without saying, leaders must be prepared for both constructive feedback and the occasional harsh truth. As they say, the truth can hurt, but it can also heal and pave the way for growth.”

Clearly, communication is of the utmost importance. If you’re looking to further improve it, check out these two Pumble Learn entries:

  • How to improve team communication
  • How to improve work-from-home team communication
  • Upward communication: What it is and how to foster it in your team

Ensure better team relations and increased productivity with Pumble

Good team communication plays a crucial role in establishing effective teamwork and improving the work experience for the entire team. Most importantly, it boosts productivity and improves the relationships between team members. 

To ensure you can reap these (and other) benefits of good communication, you must utilize proper tools that facilitate seamless team communication .

Pumble allows you to communicate with others via:

  • Group messages,
  • Dedicated channels,
  • Scheduled messages,
  • Audio calls, and
  • Video conferences. 

In other words, it offers all the necessary avenues for excellent communication and can be your organization’s foundation of everything teamwork stands for. So try it out — make a free account today!

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  • Murphy, J.J. (2010). Pulling Together: 10 Rules for High-Performance Teamwork. Naperville, IL: Simple Truths.
  • Murphy, M. (2016). New Data Shows That Leaders Overestimate How Much Their Employees Want To Change. Forbes. Retrieved July 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2016/02/19/new-data-shows-that-leaders-overestimate-how-much-their-employees-want-to-change/?sh=46c3fc7f162f  
  • Schwarz, R. (2015). What the Research Tells Us About Team Creativity and Innovation. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved July 2023, from https://hbr.org/2015/12/what-the-research-tells-us-about-team-creativity-and-innovation  
  • Solomon, L. (2016). Two-Thirds of Managers Are Uncomfortable Communicating with Employees. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved July 2023, from https://hbr.org/2016/03/two-thirds-of-managers-are-uncomfortable-communicating-with-employees?zd_source=hrt&zd_campaign=3731&zd_term=vartikakashyap
  • Richardson, S. (2015) How teamwork helps you be more fully yourself, WHYY. Retrieved July 2023, from: https://whyy.org/articles/how-teamwork-helps-you-be-more-fully-yourself/  
  • Wood, T. J. (2012). Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters. Boston: Wadsworth.
  • Wright, P.M., & Noe, R.A., (1995). Management of Organizations. Chicago, IL: Irwin.

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VIDEO

  1. Paraphrasing

  2. Video 7

  3. Effective Communication Tip# 3_SUMMARIZING & PARAPHRASING

  4. Mastering Paraphrasing & Summarizing: Keys to Effective Communication

COMMENTS

  1. Paraphrasing: A Simple Technique to Improve Team Communication

    1 What is paraphrasing? 2 Why is paraphrasing important for team communication? 3 How can you paraphrase effectively? 4 When should you paraphrase in team communication? 5 What...

  2. Matt Abrahams: The Power of the Paraphrase

    Career & Success Matt Abrahams: The Power of the Paraphrase An expert on public speaking shows how paraphrasing can help you navigate tricky communication situations. November 19, 2014 | by Matt Abrahams A job seeker raises his hand to ask a question | Reuters/Rick Wilking

  3. Paraphrasing and Summarizing: Communication Skills for Empathy

    Paraphrasing and summarizing are two essential skills for effective communication, especially in situations where you need to listen actively, provide feedback, and show empathy. In this...

  4. Mastering Communication: Paraphrasing and Summarizing Skills

    Paraphrasing is powerful means to further the understanding of the other person and yourself, and can greatly increase the impact of another's comments. It can translate comments so that even more people can understand them. When paraphrasing:

  5. Paraphrasing Examples for Better Communication

    Paraphrasing is a vital communication skill that helps simplify complex ideas, foster understanding, and enhance interpersonal relationships. Paraphrasing is crucial for better communication because it helps simplify complex ideas, making them easier for the audience to understand. It also demonstrates active listening and engagement, fosters ...

  6. 3 Benefits of Paraphrasing: The Skill for Learning, Writing and

    ‍ Paraphrasing: The Active Learning Strategy ‍ Paraphrasing requires you to think about the information you want to convey. You need to understand the meaning in order to reword and restructure the idea, and share it effectively. The process of paraphrasing encourages you to get to the core message, and improves your understanding of the material.

  7. Paraphrasing for Effective Communication

    LESSON 5 How To Paraphrase For Effective Communication Paraphrasing For Effective Communication Today we're going to talk about paraphrasing. Unfortunately, paraphrasing is a word that gets used and misused a lot. It's frequently misused because people don't understand exactly what it is.

  8. The Power of Communication: The Principle of Paraphrasing

    An effective paraphrase reflects only the essentials of the speaker's message. It cuts through the clutter of details and focuses on what is central in the original message. Focus on the Information. Another Characteristic of a paraphrase is that it focuses on the content of the message. It deals with the facts or ideas rather than the ...

  9. How to Paraphrase and Summarize Work

    What do you do? The solution is to paraphrase and summarize the reports, so your boss gets only the key information that she needs, in a form that she can process quickly. In this article, we explain how to paraphrase and how to summarize, and how to apply these techniques to text and the spoken word.

  10. What Is Paraphrasing and Why Do We Do It?

    Paraphrasing Simplifies Your Communication. Putting paraphrasing into practice regularly helps you focus on the key concepts or crucial information and communicate that, whether it's in a professional conversation, giving a speech, or writing your paper for a college course.

  11. What, why, when and how to paraphrase (with examples)

    When speaking. When engaged in conversation with others, it is common to paraphrase a portion of the words spoken to demonstrate that you understood. For example, you might rephrase a set of instructions received to ensure you heard correctly and understand expectations. When writing.

  12. Collaboration Toolbox || MODULE 1 > Communication

    1. Clarification is the utilization of questions to illuminate meaning; it is often used after receiving an ambiguous message from another team member. 2. Paraphrasing is a rephrasing of the content part of the message. 3. Reflection is a rephrasing of the speaker s feelings, or the affect part of the message. 4.

  13. Active Listening: Techniques, Benefits, Examples

    During Social Situations. Active listening techniques such as reflecting, asking open-ended questions, seeking clarification, and watching body language help you develop relationships when meeting new people. People who are active and empathic listeners are good at initiating and maintaining conversations.

  14. How to Paraphrase

    Speaker: "I'm having a hard time communicating with Bill and I don't know what's going on." Paraphrase: "It sounds like you're frustrated that you and Bill aren't getting along." Speaker: "Yes... and I think he's avoiding me on purpose." In this example, the paraphrase allows us to find out that the speaker is concerned that Bill is avoiding him.

  15. Paraphrasing: 3 Things You Need to Know (What, How and Why?)

    Amirah Khan February 7, 2022 What is Paraphrasing? Paraphrasing is rewording another's written or spoken words into your own words. This is done by presenting the meaning of the original statement with new words and an altered structure.

  16. Communication skills

    · "It sounds like you…" · "So, you mean…" · "Let me see if I've got this right. You feel…" · "So, you're saying…" Practice this with a friend or partner - remember, seek first to understand, not to...

  17. How to Paraphrase (Without Plagiarizing a Thing)

    1 Use synonyms. Replace the essential words of an original passage with other words that mean the same thing, such as using "scientist" for "researcher," or "seniors" for "the elderly.". This is a common approach to paraphrasing, but it's not sufficient on its own. Combine this strategy with some of the others below to make ...

  18. How to communicate effectively with your team members

    Without effective communication, you set your team members up for failure — whether it's because they can't get crucial information about the projects they're working on, can't resolve problems efficiently, or because they fear the repercussions of saying the wrong thing.

  19. 50 Top Paraphrasing In Communication Skills (2023)

    Avoid word-for-word repetition. Parrot talk is fun for, well, parrots. But in communication, it's a no-go. Paraphrasing is your opportunity to shine with creativity. So, skip the word-for-word repetition. Use your language skills to restate ideas in your unique way. 29. Avoid inserting personal opinions.

  20. Paraphrase: Why It Matters and How To Teach It

    Paraphrasing is also important to being an active listener and a good conversation partner. For example: Confirming that you understand someone by saying "It sounds like you're saying that … " and then putting their thoughts in your own words shows that you are really trying to understand them and not jumping to conclusions.

  21. 7 Reasons Why Communication Is Important in a Team

    1. Sets Team Communication Goals Setting team communication goals can help ensure team communication maintains its effectiveness. Develop goals that will enhance mutual understanding and collaboration throughout your team. Defining your team's communication challenges will help you clearly see where you need to improve.

  22. Understanding the importance of communication in teamwork

    The essence of team communication. Team communication is the process by which information, ideas, and thoughts are discussed among fellow members within an organization. These channels could include written communication, verbal discussions, digital interactions, or non-verbal cues like body language.

  23. What is Team Communication and Why Is It Important

    Benefit #9: Good team communication improves employee morale (and decreases employee turnover) Benefit #10: Good team communication increases employee loyalty. Benefit #11: Good team communication helps you deal with conflicts easier. Benefit #12: Good team communication creates a non-threatening environment.

  24. Teaching grad students the important skill of text synthesis (opinion)

    Katie Homar and Stacy Sabraw explain why the ability to communicate insights from multiple sources to different audiences is crucial as Ph.D.s pursue their careers. What is synthesis in graduate writing, and why does it matter? When graduate scholars synthesize sources, they paraphrase ideas, evaluate the credibility of sources and make critical connections as they lay the foundation for their ...