Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.
Sustaining the Journey
Concept Label Paraphrases
February 08, 2016
The concept label paraphrase is one form of the abstracting paraphrase. The listener hears a lot of concrete information and listens for a bigger frame or concept that captures all of the more concrete ideas. For example, someone speaks, “Our meeting today was a waste of my time. There was no agenda, we wandered from topic to topic and everyone was on their phones at one time or another.” “You won’t be satisfied until there is some order to the chaos,” might be a paraphrase labeling two concepts, order and chaos. Or you might say, “True engagement and focus are what is needed.” Other common examples might be, “process over product,” “a need for collaboration instead of competition”, or “time management.”
The listener pays attention to a larger idea and labels the idea with a new word. When the word captures the meaning, new insights are created for both the listener and the speaker.
Use this week to listen carefully for big concepts embedded in conversations and practice using this type of paraphrase.