Tip of the Week: Checking It Twice

This week we’re sharing a communication skill you can try out today. Give it a whirl during the next interaction you have with a colleague.

Think of a time you were especially stressed this year. As if feeling overwhelmed weren’t enough, communications with others may also have been especially challenging. Jessica Dolce, an educator and coach offering compassion fatigue and resilience training for animal welfare professionals, shares a technique to use for future interactions. (P.S. You don’t have to wait until emotions are running high—this communication skill will serve you well any day.)

Always check for understanding

“When you speak, ask that the person listening repeat back to you what they heard, so you can check that they understand,” shares Jessica. “When you’re listening, repeat back what you heard and ask what you got wrong.”

It’s as simple as:
“What I heard you say was___. What did I get wrong?”
Or “This is a stressful time, so I want to double check we’re all on the same page. Can you repeat back to me what you heard me say?”

Have you tried—or plan to try—this technique? Leave a comment and share your experience.

Jessica originally shared this tip—and others like it—during a community call with the animal welfare profession at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. The techniques and practices are still relevant today—you can  listen to it here or peruse all her resources.

More Tips

Tip of the Week: Leveling Up
Tip of the Week: Native Land Map
Tip of the Week: How You Doin’?
Tip of the Week: (Extra) Special Events


The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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