Recognize that all perceptions are partial and subjective: They are
partial because you cannot perceive everything and subjective because you
are influenced by many factors. Avoid thinking your perceptions are the only
Avoid mind reading: When you assume you understand what another
thinks, feels, or perceives, you may be misinterpreting the person. Allow
people to speak for themselves.
Check perceptions with others: Because perceptions are partial and
subjective, and because mind reading is ineffective, you need to compare
your perceptions with others. Done in a non-accusatory way, this can
minimize defensiveness and help you arrive at a mutual understanding.
Distinguish between facts and inferences: Facts are objective
statements based on observation. Inferences involve interpretation that goes
beyond the facts. Use more tentative words like "seems" instead of "is" to
differentiate an inference from a fact.
Guard against the self-serving bias: Monitor yourself to see whether
you unjustifiably attribute your accomplishments to your own efforts or
attribute your failures or adverse behaviors to factors beyond your control.
Guard against the fundamental attribution error: Monitor yourself to
see whether you assume another's unwanted behavior is due to internal rather
than external factors. Ask yourself, "What factors in the person's situation
might lead to this behavior?"
Monitor labels: Be sensitive to how others interpret labels and
choose your words accordingly.
Explain how self-concept and
perception impact interpersonal communication.