In this step we are asked to reflect back to the other person what we have understood from his or her words. We are asked to listen as openly as we can, and to hear as deeply as we can, what the person is trying to convey about his or her experience. It is critical in this step to show the other person that you grasp what is being said and that you are taking in and understanding his or her experience.
Attuning is an important part of communication. It is an opportunity for each person to give the other feedback about whether they understand each other. One person sends a message and asks for the other to say how he or she is hearing it. If how the person has understood your message matches your intended meaning, you are in tune. If what the person reflects back is not what you meant, you must try again. It is important to keep trying until both members of the conflict feel that they have been understood.
Relationship is based on two-way communication. We must be able to understand the other person's thoughts and feelings as well as to experience the other person as having understood our thoughts and feelings. In order to feel any connection with another person, we need some evidence that there is some mutuality in our experience of hearing and being heard. It is very easy to interpret someone else's message in a way that was not what they intended as its meaning. And it is easy to have our own messages misunderstood.