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Communication Strategies

Paraphrase, Mirror, and Reframe. 

We often use these communication skills in daily interactions, however, in a personal meeting about our child, they may not be automatic. These strategies are helpful in ensuring we understand what everyone at the table is saying, and will be helpful in coming to consensus.


Paraphrasing uses YOUR words to affirm the speaker. 

How to Paraphrase

  1. In your own words, say what you heard the speaker say.
  2. Occasionally preface with “It sounds like you’re saying . . .”, “Let me see if I understand . . .”
  3. Look for reaction or confirmation. “Did I get that right?”


Mirroring uses the SPEAKER’s words to help the speaker feel understood. 

How to Mirror

  1. Repeat back single sentences or key words and phrases.
  2. Use the speaker’s words, NOT your own words.
  3. Mirror the speaker’s words, NOT tone of voice.
  4. Be yourself with tone and gestures.
  5. A key to mirroring is that less is more.


Reframing is used to move from Negative to Neutral to remove the toxicity

How to Reframe

  1. Receive the information, process and reformulate it in an acceptable way, then relay it back, leaving the team something to discuss or move forward with.
  2. Convert the polarizing language into neutral terms, removing bias or judgment without favoring either side.
  3. Eliminate the emotionally charged terms to focus on elements of the disagreement rather than the emotions.
  4. Remember, what you say back is what you leave on the table for the team to work with.


Statement: "She is so irresponsible! We can never depend on her to show up on time."

Paraphrase: You are frustrated that we can’t start meetings on schedule.

Mirror: Show up. Or On time. Or Depend on her.

Reframe: It concerns you when members are late and we can’t begin.

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