By Lauren Abraham
Communications Major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Have you ever felt misunderstood? Sometimes, communicating is not easy. We’ve all been in a situation where we think we are communicating one thing, but it is perceived as something completely different by someone else.
When this happens, it can change the course of a conversation. What was once a positive interaction can quickly turn into a conflict that spirals out of control. So, how do we avoid this? Perception checking is a very valuable skill in communication. It brings clarity and understanding to relationships.
The process of perception checking is just as simple as it sounds. The listener in a conversation simply repeats what the speaker said or describes something they did in order to verify they understood it correctly. This gives the speaker the opportunity to explain themselves again if it was not perceived accurately. There are many benefits that come with perception checking:
Perception checking allows individuals to fully understand each other. As a result, greater levels of intimacy can be reached. In addition, the process of perception checking shows that you are tuned in to what the other person has to say (Hawkins, 2009). It shows you are invested in the person and willing to take the relationship to a deeper level.
Perception checking helps to calm down heated situations (Hawkins, 2009). In conflict, we often become frustrated because we feel as though the other person doesn’t understand us. However, perception checking allows for individuals to feel as though their voice is heard and their opinion is valued.
Finally, perception checking leads to other positive communication practices. It creates an environment where individuals can self-disclose, validate another’s experience and practice active listening skills (Hawkins, 2009).
Ultimately, perception checking strengthens relationships. It is a very important tool to use in a variety of different kinds of relationships, whether it be family, friend, coworker or romantic relationships.
I challenge you to implement perception checking in your relationships. While it may be hard to do in certain situations, the benefits will be great in the long run. Once you begin practicing perception checking, others will be inspired to do the same.
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- Hawkins, D. (2009). Perfecting the art of perception-checking. Retrieved from crosswalk.com/family/marriage/doctor-david/perfecting-the-art-of-perception-checking-11623639.html