A second basic skill for understanding the other person is checking with him to make sure that you understand his feelings. This skill complements paraphrasing in that it focuses on the affective aspects of the message rather than ideas. To check you perception of the other's feelings, you describe what you perceive to be his feelings. This description should tentatively identify the other's feelings without expressing approval or disapproval of the feelings and without attempting to interpret or explain the causes of the feelings. Checking the feelings of another conveys this message: "This is how I understand your feelings. Am I accurate?
Understanding the feelings of others is a difficult task. Emotional states express themselves simultaneously in words and in nonverbal behavior such as body movements and physiological changes. Quite often the nonverbal cues are the only accurate source of information available for understanding the other's feelings. Instead of resting your fist inference about the meaning of these ambiguous cues' perception-checking allow you to verify your assumptions about the emotions the other person is experiencing. An additional benefit of perception-checking is that it conveys the idea that you want to understand the other as a person. Thus it has potential for improving interpersonal relations as well as increasing clarity of communication.