Communication and Individual Perception

Cite this article as:"Communication and Individual Perception," in The Business Professor, updated September 29, 2019, last accessed July 7, 2020,

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One’s perspective determines how they view the world. The speaker or writer needs to make the message tailored to the listener or readers’ needs such that an association is established.

The style of writing, the tone of voice, choice of words and body language of the speaker affect the reader or listener. These associations increase the effective impact of your message overall.
Perspectives vary from person to person and the difference in perspectives impact the way you see your opinion and that of others. This helps you to take suggestions, keep your audience’s interest in mind, practice “other-oriented” speech and thereby, enhance communication skills.

An audience comes prepared with expectations and has a list of things they have planned to experience. This list includes experiences, values, ethics, beliefs, and plans to cope with challenges and scripts for behavioural hopes. One needs to have a better idea of the maps in the audience’s heads to make conversation. This helps you to communicate on mutual ground.

Preunderstanding – A set of previously old feelings, assumptions, and expectations that are applied to deal with a new issue is called a “preunderstanding”.

As humans, we tend to learn from our mistakes, and hence, we use experiences to achieve our goals. It is to be kept in mind that the situations may be different.Understanding a situation comes to us first. After that, we experience the emotions as we perceive and assume what we may think is happening. Therefore, as a result, our perceptions are clouded by expectations.

The customary forms and configurations (of communication) that members expect are called “conventions”. Conventions are used to create expectations for conduct or behavior.

While speaking or writing, you need to welcome the recipient’s (audience’s) expectations and the importance of it while working towards your goal. Your goal should involve informing, coaxing or encouraging them. A smart way to reach a common ground with the audience is by putting forward a different perspective while working around their views. This keeps their attention strong and receptive to your content.

As a writer, you should interpret the message you are about to send out well and not create false expectations through it. This is a healthy way for your writing process.

The objective of a business communicator is to help the audience simplify the content and understand it well. The listeners should connect the dots and accept the material in a way the speaker intends to. The business communicator avoids substitute solutions that are capable of confusing and misinforming the audience. All this is done to prevent the assumptions and misinterpretations made by the audience.


A message with no apparent motive can overwhelm and confuse the listener. It becomes difficult to determine where the information is located in the word. We pay attention and grasp what seems valid to us. Thus, the selection is the process by which information is sorted from the message, or a stimulus is chosen. It plays a vital role in perception, knowledge gathering and consciousness.

The audience selects what they want to filter and listen to. Their attention span is decided upon by them based on the content they receive. They also determine what they want to pay attention to. It is up to the audience what they find important, relevant or valuable and this varies from person to person.  Attention and focus are constantly challenged because of this.

In this case, the theory of the bouncing ball is useful. The bouncing ball of attention restricts our attention on other stimuli and deals with one trigger. The methods of ignoring and selection have been spoken in both contexts of an inherent trait as well as something that has been imbibed upon.

Stimuli are of two types:

  • Internal stimuli: The stimuli that arise from within. Ex: being angry.
  • External stimuli: The stimuli that arise due to the perception of surroundings. Ex: voice of an instructor or image of an attractive person.

You need to be aware of these origins of stimuli to be familiar with the necessity of preparation, performance, and diligence as you prepare for your message.
Information that we keep with us and information that we choose to reject both encompass selective exposure.

When you focus on one trigger, like the image of an attractive person, and phase it out by shifting your attention to another opposing trigger, like the instructor’s voice, it is known as selective attention.

Selective retention is choosing to retain only one trigger out of the two. To make it more lucid for the audience to understand, speaking in a simple language, providing visual aids like images and videos, and explaining terms, can make your topic reach out to a more significant percentage of the audience. This is done as the audience fail to understand the terminology or finds it too difficult to follow them.

Despite hearing the words, one may not listen to them. Only passively paying attention to the words means understanding them. Listening entails following the discussion, processing thoughts about them, registering the sounds, thereby, making it easier for you to recall.
You choose what you pay attention to by effectively selecting or deselecting the competing stimulus.


The phenomenon by which we organize information into systematic and coherent categories or series is called “organization”. Based on our perceptions, we classify things. “Organization schemes” serve to generate attentiveness and effective listening. It allows the audience to follow the speaker and consider the fact that the audience may lose interest in the speech.

An effective communicator and an insightful organizer invests time in understanding the audience’s point of view and see their content from their perspective. They anticipate the ways an audience may organize information and present a report or a presentation.

The ability to sort data selectively, retain it and apply it, wherever necessary, helps the world to function reasonably.

“Gestalt theory” says that the overall is more important than the fragments and that context is the most crucial thing. The object you are viewing and the way you are viewing it, is crucial for the business as your understanding has great importance. No matter if a total thing exists or not in reality, we will recognize the nine dots as a whole. This principle is not only restricted to objects, but also stretches to plans and schemes as well. You can look at certain bits of data in foreseeable manner but what can alter the total concept is how you observe and recognize it. In order to draw a conclusion, we at times bridge the gaps due to unavailability of little information by assuming many affiliations. In order to make a meaning out of our actions, we jump on to conclusions, often ignoring certain beliefs and taking the leap of faith. By not identifying our innate inclination to create words, contexts and concepts, we end up making the audience baffle. An unorganized, misleading writing is something that the extremely interested readers will also tend to avoid.

The Gestalt Principles of Organization are as follows:

  • Proximity – A business structure established on the association between territories to the matter.
  • Continuity – It is to make a link between two events that take place one after the other. This often leads to deception and falsehood, wrong ideas which include a specific time chronology.
  • Similarity – This is to keep certain ideas having similar connotations in a particular group. When we read about identical information, we try to remember them as one, assuming that they have similar features.
  • Uniformity – Remembering identical ideas to be the same.
  • Figure and Ground – Highlight a particular object which is better than its counterparts
  • Symmetry – To keep a harmony among concepts with one part to another.
  • Closure – The impulse to use previous idea to bridge the gap in a partial scenario.


Interpretation is the third step which comes after Selection and Organization. Taking your previous and present experiences into account, you make an understanding of the present incentive. However, the word will not remain static throughout the time period. Many organized obstacles like the societal and economic condition, guardian and friends influence and the urgency to back up your family can have an effect on your ideas and opinion.

To know and understand concept from various viewpoints (varying perceptions) can be difficult. Nonetheless, as we get to understand one another better, it affects our ways of speaking and writing also. It advances the frequency to which we can know, communicate and accept things across different traditions, linguistic use and varied mindsets.

People understand ideas in different manners. It is our choice to decide on which aspect to highlight. This is based on our likings, things which are known to us, or necessary for us. To have a better understanding of ideas, we will identify how to be focused and how to perceive information within the process of interaction.

Your traditions, beliefs and mindsets mirror the place and culture you belong to.
The aspects in which which individuals understand things in varied ways are known as subjective or individual differences.

External features have an effect on how we look at, understand and reply to data. Your mental state can also have an effect on what you study and the reason behind that.
The culture you belong to also has an essential role to play. Our framework of understandings includes our behavior, ideas and customs of the world. We look at the world through arbitrated pictures and communication. Through groups, we get to know each other mutually. All these, when put together, help us to formulate our psychological assumption of the whereabouts of the happenings.

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