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ASSIGNMENT: Create a series of perception checking responses based upon what you read in the Perception Checking reading (found on the page immediately previous to this one) and upon the information provided below.

NOTE: You will complete and submit a perception checking statement for all six scenarios. Also, you may submit either a written OR a recorded response – your choice.

Perception checking—a skill that reduces mind reading and misunderstanding. Often, when someone does something we don’t understand or don’t like, the best place to start is by checking our perceptions to see if our perceptions match the other person’s. The receiver of an ambiguous behavior describes the behavior without judgment (“I saw…” “I heard…”) and then allows for two possible interpretations of that behavior (e.g., “was it because…” “did you mean…”) followed by a request for clarification (e.g., “what’s up?” “what happened?” “can you help me understand?”)

Example: You carefully explained to your sister how to create a document in Google docs making sure she understood everything. A week later, she asks you to help her create a slideshow in Google docs. When you sit down with her, she asks you many of the questions you already answered. You’re frustrated because it seems like she wasn’t even listening to you at all the last time you showed her. This is where the skill of perception checking comes in handy.

“You’ve asked me several of the same questions I answered for you last week” (behavior). “It seems that maybe you didn’t understand my instructions” (first interpretation) “or that you weren’t really paying close attention to me last week” (second interpretation). “What happened” (request for clarification)?

INSTRUCTIONS: Practice your perception checking ability by creating three-part verifications for each of the situations described below. If you choose to submit a written response, write out the perception check as if you are speaking directly to the person making sure to label each of the three parts of the statement (see example above). Then post your written response. If you choose to record instead, speak as if you are talking directly to the person, but be sure to also orally state each part of the perception check. As best you can, do NOT just read your responses (assuming you wrote them out ahead of time). Look directly at the camera, imagine you are speaking directly to the person, and deliver your perception checks as naturally as possible. Then, post your recorded response.

  1. When you walk past her office and cheerily say, “Good morning,” you notice that your co-worker, Kim, quickly glances up from what she is doing and then looks back down but does nothing to acknowledge you. The two of you have a somewhat tense relationship that you don’t want to get any worse. Using the skill of perception checking, write what you would say to Kim.
  2. Yesterday, you asked a colleague if they could take your place at a work event and they said they’d have to check their schedule and get back to you. Today, you decide to follow up in an email that says, “Hi Caroline, I’m following up to see if you’re willing to take my place at our work event.” After a few minutes you get an email from her that says, “Like I said, I need to check my schedule.” You’re not sure how to interpret this comment so you decide to call her immediately on the phone to clear things up. Using the skill of perception checking, write what you would say to Caroline.
  3. Several times over the past few weeks, your significant other has arrived more than 30 minutes later than you expected. Using the skill of perception checking, write what you would say to your significant other.
  4. You and your roommate share responsibility for caring for your dog, Buddy. Buddy gets walked three times a day – in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Today is your roommate’s day to walk the dog but it’s now after 11:30 in the morning and Buddy’s leash is still sitting in the same place you left it last night. Using the skill of perception checking, write what you would say to your roommate.
  5. While checking your grades on Canvas, you notice you got a really low score on your last assignment. You have no idea why you did so poorly so you decide to talk with your instructor. Using the skill of perception checking, write what you would say to your instructor.
  6. Experiment with the skill of perception checking with someone in your life. After experimenting, please do the following:
  1. describe the scenario and who was involved.
  2. quote what you actually said as your perception check (do your best to recall what you said – the point here is to show me you know how to accurately create a perception check).
  3. tell me about their response…what was this person’s reaction (how did they respond nonverbally and what did they say)?
  4. tell me about your response…for instance – how did you feel as you checked your perceptions? Was the other person’s reaction what you expected? was there anything that surprised you about their reaction? Did you learn anything that you didn’t already know or assume in this instance.
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