If you have a diverse team at work with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, it is sometimes a struggle to understand what people mean by what they say. Be the person that helps everybody understand each other better.
Feelings are internal reactions, and we can tell what people are feeling only from what they tell us, and from their overt actions. When people describe their feelings to us, we can usually accept their feelings to be what they say they are.
Overt actions include such things as smiles, frowns, shouts, whispers, tears, and laughter. When people express their feelings indirectly (such as through sarcasm) or nonverbally (such as through a frown), we often need to clarify how they actually feel.
A basic rule in interpersonal communication and emotional intelligence is that before you respond to a person’s feelings, you need to check to make sure you really know what the other person actually feels.
An effective way to check whether or not you accurately understand how a person is feeling is through a perception check.
A perception check has three parts:
- A description of the behavior you noticed – what was said or done.
- At least two possible interpretations of the behavior.
- A request for clarification how to interpret the behavior.
This communication construct keeps the conversation going and gives the other person the opportunity to clarify their perspective and for us to empathize.
This three-step construct is easy to remember and apply. Perception checking is a quick and easy way to improve understanding, support empathetic behavior, and enhance emotional intelligence. If we try to understand what people think and feel, we will be able to enjoy honest conversations, incredible results and positive relationships.
If you and your coworkers could benefit from an engaging presentation on emotional intelligence, contact me at email@example.com, and I will provide an interactive presentation that will improve your emotional intelligence.