Have you noticed? We human beings often jump to conclusions─or make assumptions. These lead to miscommunication and even conflict. In workshops, I demonstrate this by standing much like the woman in the picture and ask the participants to describe how I'm standing. They answer impatient, irritated, upset─all assumptions about how I feel. Then I ask them to describe what they see by starting with, "I notice your..." Then they get it and say, "I notice your arms are crossed, you're tapping your foot and you have a serious expression on your face." Now they're getting closer to using Perception Checking.
Here are the three steps involved:
1. State your observation
2. State your assumption
3. Ask for verification or clarification
Let's continue with the example I started above:
1. I notice your arms are crossed, you're tapping your foot and you have a serious expression on your face.
2. I assume you're irritated.
3. Am I reading you accurately?
This gives me a chance to clarify, "Oh no, I'm just cold and I need to go to the bathroom!" Incorrect assumption─and serious miscommunication─averted!