Check for Understanding: The Basics of Communication - Exercise

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Check for Understanding: The Basics of Communication - Exercise

Check for Understanding: The Basics of Communication

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes.

In this exercise, consider the following scenario and then respond to the questions.

Marcus and his supervisor, Ms. Diaz, are having a meeting in a small conference room. Marcus is explaining the process he took to complete a task that was assigned to him. Ms. Diaz is listening, and her facial expression is one of deep concentration. Marcus, however, interprets her expression to be one of confusion and he keeps talking, growing more anxious and nervous as he continues to explain himself over and over again.

  1. What is happening in this scenario?
  2. Why does Marcus keep talking?
  3. Why is he so nervous?
  4. What might Ms. Diaz have done differently in this scenario that would have been helpful to Marcus?
  5. What could Marcus have done differently?


  1. Marcus is responding to the facial expression Ms. Diaz is making.
  2. He thinks she is confused or maybe not understanding what he is saying. He is misinterpreting her expression, possibly because she is using an expression that is hard to understand.
  3. He is talking to his supervisor, who he thinks does not understand him. He is nervous about creating a bad impression by not speaking clearly.
  4. Ms. Diaz could have affirmed, either via an expression or verbally, that she understood what Marcus was saying. Better yet, she could have restated it back to him in her own words.
  5. Marcus could have asked Ms. Diaz if his explanation made sense to her and if she had any questions.