Communication Checkpoints

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Relationship Communication Skills

Post image for Communication Checkpoints

Have you ever thought that someone didn’t like you because of the way they looked at you?  Have you ever received feedback that surprised you during your annual review at work?  Did you ever go to a movie with a friend and feel like you had seen different movies?

Personal Filters

Each of us sees life through our own unique filters.  Our perceptions are influenced by our beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, personality, interests, feelings, background, goals, priorities, interpretations, wants, needs, and requirements.

I experience life through my green lenses… and I really do see green!  You experience life through your blue lenses… and you really do see blue!

Communication Challenges & Opportunities

As shared in “There is No Such Thing as a Table for Two”, with every communication opportunity, there are many dynamics and they can change from minute to minute. For example, your mature self might be talking to someone’s immature self.  Your belief that punctuality is important may collide with someone’s nature to be carefree.

On top of that, as shared in “The 93% Impact of Nonverbal Communication”, wordless messages impact 93% of our communication effectiveness; 7% of the total meaning of our communication is from spoken words, 38% is from vocal variables (such as voice tone) and 55% is visual (such as facial expressions).

The good news is that communication checkpoints create a framework for accurate understanding, provides an opportunity to give and receive effective feedback, and builds positive relationships.  This is true for both personal and professional relationships.

Communication Checkpoints

According to Dictionary.com, a checkpoint is a point or item, especially in a procedure, for notation, inspection, or confirmation.

Simply stated, you do not know how someone is feeling, or what they are thinking, unless you check in with them.  Period.  Why guess, assume, or try to read someone’s mind?  In today’s world of texting, conference calls and other non-face-to-face communication vehicles, perception checking is more important than ever.

How to Communicate, or Perception, Check

Describe what you heard, what you noticed, and/or the behavior you want to understand.  Then ask a non-judgmental clarifying question.  If possible, open-ended questions are preferable (“Open-Ended Questions Build Relationships”).   

∞  “If I hear you correctly, you do not like pasta. Is that accurate?”
∞  “I am not aware of your filling your commitment to do your assignment, how do you feel about that?”
∞  “I see that you are wringing your hands.  Is there something you would like to share?”
∞  “I heard you say that it was OK for me to borrow your car and I heard a sigh.  How do you feel about me borrowing your car?”

If you want to check to see if someone has accurately received your communication, you can reverse perception check.  For example, “Can you tell me what you heard me say?”

Very Smart Girls are only as sure as their last checkpoint.

photo credit: anne.oeldorfhirsh

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