Here is an undervalued but incredibly effective tool for rapport- and relationship-building: learn to summarize.

Whenever you meet and interact with someone for more than a few moments, the information transfer is dense. Many words are spoken, and not all of them are retained. If at the end of the meeting, you can summarize what happened in one or two sentences, you add tremendous value.

You add value because you show that you listened. You show that you paid attention and cared. Because the last moment of an experience is often the one most saliently remembered, a final summary can really help the meeting live in the other person’s mind.

You can summarize easily while also expressing gratitude, and also building a bridge to the next interaction: “Hey, thanks again for meeting today! I’m really glad we got to finalize what we want to do about the book launch and initial print run. I’m really looking forward to the art team meeting with you next week!” It doesn’t have to be awkward – in fact, it can be downright smile-inducing.

And if you make it a habit, it really will make you pay better attention. Your memory will sharpen. You’ll listen better. All valuable things, while building better relationships – business or personal.

So, to summarize: summarize!

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