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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

What We Actually Remember

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


May 19, 2014

Judith Glaser discusses our beliefs about our memory of conversations in her book Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results. She states that we think we remember what others have said. In actuality, we remember what we think others said. She quotes research that shows we drop out of a conversation every 12 to 18 seconds to process the words of the other person. In doing so, we make our own interpretation of the meaning and that creates the memory inside of us of what the person was saying.

This information heightens the importance of paraphrasing in any conversation, but especially in a coaching conversation. The paraphrase offers a check for understanding. Depending on the response to the paraphrase, the coach will make different decisions about the next paraphrase or what question might best serve the coachee.

You have probably experienced remembering a conversation one way and discovering another person has a different memory of that conversation. This is another reason why it is critical that groups end their meetings with a restating and checking for understanding of agreements before leaving the meeting and reporting to others or implementing the decision.

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