Perception check. This is another one of the Walden skills for bridging what he called the interpersonal gap. If you remember, Walden’s concept is that whenever there’s a sender sending a message, they encode that their intention into some kind of an action, which is public. Their intention is private. You don’t know what it is. You have no idea really where they’re coming from. What you see and hear is this action that’s out in the world, which is public. And then the receiver over here sees or experiences that action. They decode it, which means they have some interpretation about what it means. And then meaning occurs over there in the receiver, which is also private. As Walden says, the interpersonal gap exists because it’s virtually impossible for there to be a perfect correlation between the intention that the sender has and the meaning, or the impact or the effect that the receiver gets from it. Because of their different histories. The difference is in the way they encode and the way they decode. So Walden says, well, how could you find out? Let’s say this person says something and this person has an interpretation, but let’s say they’re not sure that the meaning that they created is the same as the intention. How could they find out? You could ask, Walden says, this is really simple, and the skill is called perception check. The receiver checks their perception of the meaning with the person who sends it goes like this.
Since there’s never a 1 to 1 correlation. The solution is to exercise what Wallen called a perception check, which is to find out what was really happening in the other person’s world over there, whether they were sending or whether they were receiving. It’s what I call Wallen didn’t say this, but I call it getting your bubbles on the table. Those two bubbles, what the person intended and the meaning. If you can talk about those, you can bridge the interpersonal gap. So let’s say one person says, I’m fed up with Chris’s work talking about somebody else. And person B says, oh, do you mean you’re about to fire him? That’s a perception check. Is that what you intended? Do you mean that? And he says, no, no, no, he’s a good person. I mean, I just need to have a really good heart to heart conversation with him. I’m telling you, I can’t tell you how many times simply getting people in a difficult situation to start telling, asking people, is this what you intended? It’s magic. It’s so simple and it’s magic. This is what I heard, which is a paraphrase. Did I get and did you mean this? Did I get the words right, which is a paraphrase? And did I get your meaning? Very simple. The sender does something, the action goes out, the receiver has a meaning, and they check that by asking all right here it is.
Bridging the gap. First step is to get curious. This is maybe the most important step quite often in an interaction with somebody else, especially where the emotions are running high. Your positional about something, you know you’re right or something. It’s like my friend’s gay and Katie Hendricks call many marital arguments a race to the victim position. Like, I want to get to be, right. Well, as soon as you’re right, you’re you’re locked in, you’re locked in, you’re in, you’re in deep trouble. First thing is let go of being right and get curious. I wonder what they meant by that. I wonder what that person intended. How could I find out? Create what Wallen called a mutual inquiry. Let’s. Would you be willing to to help. Help. Can we talk about that? So you get an agreement between the two people? Let’s found out what’s in our bubbles. I call it getting, like I said, getting our bubbles on the table. Start with a perception check. It’s that simple. Whenever the interpersonal gap is occurring. And when is it occurring? Now. Now, now, now. All the time. It’s a great time when? When feelings are running high. Or when the stakes are high to say, let me see if I got your intention. This is what I got. Is it what you intended? Do the perception check. I’m telling you, it’s it’s magic. It’ll straighten out a whole bunch of your difficult, difficult relationships.
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