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What You Thought I Meant!


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This is a good exercise for dealing with difficulties between two indviduals or groups by exploring intentions, perceptions and what was actually done or said.

The following description shows how to analyse the interaction between two people by considering what was thought and what was said. You could also consider the interaction between two groups and analyse what was intended and what was done.

First, identify a situation which is representative of the kind of difficulty that is being experienced. Then draw a line down the middle of a sheet of flip-chart paper. One half represents one of the people and the other half represents the other person.

Now, draw out what the two people actually said during the incident and write their words on the flip-chart paper (one person's words on one half and the other person's words on the other half). Leave a gap before each of the ?speeches?.

Using another colour, fill in the gaps with what they were thinking at the time. Pay special atttention to what was intended and what the other person thought was meant. It is amazing how many misunderstandings can be cleared up using this simple exercise.

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