Be a parrot: the value of repeating the darned obvious

Be a parrot.

Behavioural scientist, Rick van Barren, found that repetition won favour.

In a series of experiments around communication that he conducted amongst waiters, he discovered they increased their tips increased by 68%.

How? Simply by repeating back orders.


Here’s why:

This simple communication technique gives others the sense of being heard and understood.

Customers feel more assured their order is correct.

This works well beyond restaurants.

Chris Voss, the ex-hostage negotiator who wrote the book ‘Split the Difference’ advises repetition in business, one of three influence techniques he describes here.

Not that you’re dealing with kidnappers, hopefully.

But with prospects, colleagues: in fact, up, down and around your organisation this will help you to influence others.

You want to make them feel heard.

But, also, you want to help them unearth their difficulties to ensure you have the right solutions for them.

So repeat back.

They’re more likely to add further information, clarify or affirm.


Your Action:

Repeat back whenever you need to create connection and understanding.

  1. Parrot.
  2. Repeat.
  3. Say it again.


(You can also use repetition to buy time before speaking.  Find yourself speechless?  Repeat the question.)

Looking to enhance your interpersonal skills?  I’ll help you or your team unlock communication superpowers. See how here.  Be less vanilla and more THRILLER.


Photo by Ilona Frey on Unsplash

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