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Checking

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Elements of the Conversation > Checking

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Checking in conversation is testing of understanding or agreement.

Checking for understanding

In checking for understanding, you can check that you understand. You can also check that the other person understands. You can also check that you both have understood something and perhaps consequently decide to investigate further.

Checking for agreement

Checking for agreement tests that the other person agrees with what has been said, including proposals for action.

Checking can be a simple question. It can also be a separate statement and question. Assumptive pushing for agreement can be done by the use of tag questions.

Example

Your name is Jane, isn't it?

So what are you going to do as a result of what I have just asked?

What have we concluded? I think we're going out next week. Do you agree? 

Discussion

It is easy in conversation to assume that everyone understands what has been said and that they agree with any assertions or requests.

In practice, this can be far from the truth as people let others speak without interrupting, even though they may be completely lost or disagree.

We avoid asking others to explain themselves perhaps because we have not been listening or because we simply want to be polite and not infer that they are unable to express themselves.

We avoid disagreeing possibly because we are waiting to be convinced by further information and possibly to avoid embarrassment.

Not saying anything can also be a ploy where disagreement is only voiced at the end after the person has finished and will be done so in order to deflate or negate what has been said.

Checking throughout the conversation helps remove the above problems.

See also

Assumption principle, Questioning Techniques

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