Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

If perception is reality - how do you shift someone's perception (which they believe to be accurate) to bring them in line with reality?

Ask questions to understand more about their thinking

We've all met people who seem to jump to conclusions or misinterpret other's actions or words, how does that happen? Usually it's the result of some interesting internal thinking.

Ask people why they believe what they believe, to get them to reveal their internal thinking. Keep asking questions that broaden their perception.

Here are some examples of questions you could try:

'Why do you think that?'
'What else could it mean?'
'What would be the point of that?'
'What do you think they were thinking/feeling at the time?'
‘How might you have contributed to those feelings or beliefs?’

Try seeing the problem from different perspectives yourself

Most conflicts deepen when we lock on to our own perception of the problem. Instead try this: Think outside the square, avoid assigning motives to people and think about how you are being perceived too.

If tension is developing in the relationship, get to it early. Avoidance rarely works. Often a good talk can sort things out. But remember to listen with your barriers down and own your contribution to the problem.

Determination to be right can make us into our own worst enemy.

About Alana Billingham

Alana Billingham

Alana is Skillset's managing director and has been with the company for more than 20 years.

She takes workshops on a wide range of topics and is at the leading edge in the world in teaching investigative interviewing.

Some of Alana's negotiation clients negotiate multi-million dollar deals. Others just need to sort out arrangements with their suppliers.

Alana has attended a master class on investigative interviewing the UK and keeps in touch with her classmates.


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