What Is Paraphrasing and Why Should You Do It?

What Is Paraphrasing and Why Should You Do It?



No one paraphrases as well as the kid who is cheating from a friend’s homework the night before it’s due.

This is when the kid is absorbing what ideas his friend wrote.

Processing it.

Then writing the answer from their own lens.


That’s what paraphrasing is.

  • We process and output the thoughts from our lens.


There are paraphrasing opportunities all around us.

I’m sure you’ve had a moment where an authority figure was talking your ear off.

Then they asked:

‘What did I just say?’


They were asking you to paraphrase their message.

I believe paraphrasing is a simple way to stay engaged in a conversation.

It also prevents a lot of miscommunications.


Paraphrase Hairy Concepts


Let’s say you are buying a house for the first time.

You are going to be talking to so many people.

The loan officer, the realtor, the new construction builders.


As you are taking in all the information, it’s easy to get in the “head nodding” trap.

Where you nod your head by default because you’re tired of listening.


Buying a house is a hairy process.

There are multiple moving parts and it’s easy to get lost.


So, occasionally paraphrase.


After the loan officer is done explaining the numbers to you, say:

‘Let me just repeat what you said just to make sure we are on the same page.’


Rather than repeating their words like a parrot, focus on the concepts.

When you focus on the concepts vs the words they used, you are forced to get yourself involved.


As you begin paraphrasing, you’ll notice some parts you didn’t understand.

That’s when you can ask follow up questions on the matter.


Avoid Paraphrasing Too Much


It’s good to paraphrase complex concepts where there are a lot of moving variables.

Avoid paraphrasing simple concepts though.


Imagine if someone is telling you about a routine day.

Avoid being like:

‘So, what you’re saying is….’

Then you begin paraphrasing their day.


They’ll think you’re either mocking them or you’re being extra for no reason.


Your body will alert you on when to paraphrase.

Whenever confusion is in the air, jump in and paraphrase.


If they are explaining their day in a complicated way, then you can jump in.

Paraphrasing has power when you apply it in doses.

Using it in doses is better than not using it at all.


Avoid Miscommunication with Paraphrasing



If you are a leader of people, then you need to paraphrase.

Whether you’re a boss, a parent, the authority in the relationship, etc.


Understand this…

  • Most people are full of shit.

They will say they understood something to avoid confrontation, or so you can shutup already.


If the task is important enough, ask them to paraphrase.

Don’t be condescending and ask:

‘What did I just say?


They’ll feel like you’re treating them like a 5-year-old.


Instead, ask:

‘Mind if you can repeat back what you heard? I just want to make sure we are on the same page?’


A lot of times, people who hired contractors are furious with the contractor’s final output.

The contractor did the wrong job, yet, they want to be compensated fully.




A while back, I hired a guy to post different threads on my Twitter from different books so I could promote the different books.

He said he understood.


Next week, I saw that he only posted threads from 1 book.

I asked him what happened? I told him multiple books, not 1.

He thought I meant multiple posts, not multiple books.


A simple paraphrasing session would have resolved the issue.


Active Listening



Passive listening is when we are mainly absorbing information.

Active listening is when you are engaging with the conversation partner.


Active listening requires:

  • Follow-up questions.
  • Strategic contributions.
  • Absorbing information.

And paraphrasing!!


People love it when you hit the nail on their story.

When you summarize the essence of their story into a 20-second snippet, they feel strong sensations in their body.


Practice more.

When someone is telling you a long story, pay attention.

Then articulate the main points from their talk.


The better you paraphrase, the smarter you get.

You train your mind to look for the big points rather than majoring in the minors.


Active listening is about participation while passive listening is about laying back and absorbing.

Many can do passive listening, but few can do active listening.

Unless you’re a shoulder to cry on, lean on active listening.


Making People Feel Heard


In my book, Charisma King, I talk about the importance of making someone feel heard.

There’s a dilemma in the social world.

People listen, but their body language looks like they aren’t listening.

If the body doesn’t match the mind, then people will follow the body.


I knew this girl from a long time ago who would never ask follow-up questions when I got done telling a story.

I once told her a very meaningful story from my life, and she responded with:



A few weeks passed by, and she brought up my story and recited it from her lens.


I thought:

‘Wait, you were actually paying attention?’

I got the feeling that I bored her.


It’s important to seize opportunities to paraphrase as it’s happening.

If you are paying attention, but look like you’re not paying attention, then others will assume you’re not paying attention.

Paraphrasing is a potent way to show that you were paying attention.


‘Can I also paraphrase people’s stories as time has passed?’

Of course!

This is an advanced move.

If you can do it, bravo.


When that girl paraphrased my story a few weeks after I told it, I felt amazing because I learned that she was paying attention.


Our goal in social interactions is to make someone feel heard.

It’s not easy to listen.

Listing is a super complicated move.


We can slowly get better at it by paraphrasing more.


For more tips on social skills, be sure to check out my book, the Charisma King

– ArmaniTalks 🎙️🔥



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