A parrot is a tool? No, but it is a reminder of the #1 top communication tool that helps us really listen to others. Parrots repeat what they hear. We don’t “parrot back” what someone has said, but we do “Bounce Back” for them. We listen and then put in our own words, sincerely, what we’ve just heard them say. That keeps us from responding defensively or in anger. It also lets us make sure we’ve heard correctly, and it lets the other person know we’re listening and want to understand their viewpoint. That changes things!
Instead of saying, “Come on! I was only ten minutes late. It couldn’t have been that big of a deal!” you can Bounce Back what they said: “So when I was late, you were worried that I might not show at all, and you were counting on me to be there to help you set up the display?” Give them a chance to say more. Keep listening and Bouncing Back until you know they feel understood. I keep a paper parrot on my kitchen wall to help me remember to Bounce Back instead of Pounce Back.