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How To Not Make Assumptions [7 Effective Tips In Communication]

How To Not Make Assumptions [7 Effective Tips In Communication]

You may have heard that making assumptions is often not really good in communication. Do Not Fill In For Another Person. In this article you will find 6 valuable and useful tips to actually comply with this.

7 tips to not make assumptions and to not fill in for someone else

Do you really want to comply with this? Then use the 7 tips below!

Tip 1. Give feedback via the actual feedback model

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By using the feedback model , you learn to give feedback only on observable facts , so that you are not filling in and are communicating ‘cleanly’.

To tell observable – sensory verifiable – facts, start your sentence with “I saw / heard / felt that …”

  • “I saw you walked off the stage for a moment.”
  • “I heard a high volume in your voice.”
  • “I felt you give me a firm handshake.”
  • “I heard you use the word ‘black pete’.”

Tip 2. Be careful with ‘reading thoughts’

Reading thoughts literally means that you fill in for the other. This can go wrong in all kinds of ways, because you have not actually heard anything, but you are making interpretations about what someone else might think or feel. So be aware of when to do this.

  • “You walked off the stage disoriented to give yourself a fresh start.”
  • “You were angry when you yelled at us.”
  • “You want to be very assertive with your handshake.”
  • “You wanted to provoke us with that statement.”

Tip 3. Practice not judging

By not judging , you can remove a lot of anxiety in yourself. You will then no longer be making interpretations about actual situations. You stick to the facts, without the story – an interpretation – around it.

Tip 4. Practice yourself in observing (sensory perception)

By observing more and more sharply , you can obtain more and more information, so that it is no longer even necessary to fill in and interpret. This is perhaps the most powerful tip! When you observe, you are in the third observing position . You are then sensing, like a neutral fly on the wall. So you are not interpreting.

If you were to look through a lens, what would you see? A frown. Some put an interpretation on it: one says: sad. The other says: angry. What is the only thing you know 100%? There is a frown!

Tip 5. Know that you can sometimes give an interpretation

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Of course, in some situations it is appropriate and even asked to give an interpretation, in other words. For example in a meeting: then you are of value if you share possible interpretations and experiences, in order to open up new possibilities. How do you handle that? Use the following sentences for this:

  • I will now fill in, and do not accept / reject it if it does not apply: {Place your interpretation / experience} here.
  • I’ll fill in now, and forgive me if I’m wrong. {Place your interpretation / experience here}.
  • Feel free to decline what I’m about to say if it doesn’t apply to you. I would like to give my intuition. {Place your interpretation / experience here}.
  • A longer version of the above sentence is: ‘I have an intuition, I have certain skills and I know a lot, but if it does not apply to you, feel free to reject it: {Place your interpretation / experience here}.
  • In my experience / In my experience {Place your interpretation / experience here}.

Tip 6. Calibrate, and even that doesn’t say anything about how someone feels … Just ask!

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There is a very useful technique that makes you aware of changes in the other person. That technique is calibration . This does not mean that you also know what the other is experiencing inside: you only know that something has changed. You don’t know what, so you can ask about that.

Also think of IEAN: Inquiring Everything, Accepting Nothing.

When you see a frown, don’t say, “I think you have doubts,” but say, “I notice you frown. Can you tell me what’s on your mind? ‘

By the way, if you make the mistake of filling in (hallucinating) what a calibrated facial expression means (instead of asking), hallucinate at least three and don’t assume that a frown means that someone doesn’t like you. A frown can mean anything. Someone may just be itchy, thinking deeply about something unimportant, or dislike someone. Or it could mean ten thousand other things, but you only find out by asking .

Tip 7 – If you are not allowed to fill in, what should you do? Use your listening skills

Do not fill in for the other, just sit in silence and encourage the other to say more. Be interested and ask questions, because that means  you  don’t even have to fill in anymore. You just ask for the information you had to guess differently. Much better right? Here you will find more listening tips.

These were all seven tips. Do you know any more? Let me know in the comments!

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!