On Repeating What You Hear

This week’s (early) book learning is from ‘Influence’ by Robert Cialdini.

A group of researchers ran an experiment on tips received by service staff in a restaurant.

The study revealed the following –

– The practice that received lowest tips was passively saying ‘okay’ (as this led the customer to wonder if the cheeseburger would arrive at the table re-incarnated as a chicken salad)

– The tips received were medium if they managed to paraphrase, nod and be pleasant

– The best practice, however, was found to be repeating orders word by word as their customers verbalized it. No paraphrasing or nodding needed. Repeating word-by-word increased their tip size by a whopping 70%!

So, repeating what you hear as you verbalize it is what makes people feel ‘listened to’. The best listeners are known to verbalize the problems exactly as the person opposite states to them. Now we know why!

Image by Alan Fryer

On a call with a client that was about agreeing on a small action, I could sense his dissatisfaction when I verbalized what he was saying in my own words. A few minutes later, I tried saying it exactly as he was saying.. And he immediately gave me a ‘go’!

I think I would have gone through the process much quicker had I written about this a few months ago.. (haha)

Here’s to listening well by repeating what we hear this week!