On Communication and Intention

Intention is embodied in the unconscious mind/body and through the tone used during a communication. When speaking from the ego we often concentrate on the words used as being most significant aspect of a communication. However it is the body’s position and gesticulations, the facial movements and the tone of voice that represent eighty five percent of the message. Most speakers don’t haven’t a clue of the significance of these other aspects and ignore their importance at their peril. This is because confusion can be created when body language says one thing, tone something different and the words another story all together.

Such inconsistency is at the root of many difficulties in relationships. When there are unrecognized conflicts between these essential elements it becomes difficult to determine which message is the one that is actually intended to be conveyed. Effective communication, however, is consistent in each aspect of what is expressed. You may find it very instructive to have someone video some of your interactions when you aren’t aware you are being taped, so you can see first hand the mixed messages you may be sending. This, however, isn’t practical so instead a simple formula to ensure good communication is as follows: it is the responsibility of the originator to ensure their intention is fully comprehended.

That the meaning of a communication is the response the originator receives is not a truth with a wide currency, but it is one that once adopted will drastically improve your communication abilities. If, for instance, after expressing yourself the recipient reacts in a way contrary to the intention of the communicationyou can pause, apologize and acknowledge that a miscommunication transpired so as to restart the cycle of exchange.

One of the reasons why this rule for communication is so effective is that it recognizes that all people’s understanding of language, verbal or corporeal, is inflected by their perceptions, beliefs, wishes, judgments and experience. You might not like their response – as you want it to be in accord with your beliefs, wishes, judgments and experience, but this is a condition that is destined to fail as people are always right from their own perspective! As such it is important to abide by a principle for communication that is less concerned about asserting one’s correctness with it’s cost of disconnection, but one that engenders connection and mutual comprehension.

Another effective communication principle is to take nothing personally. When you honor their perception and respect it, connection is maintained. Change your posture, tone and volume was that lead to the miscommunication and try again in a different manner. Whisper, smile, be gentle as if you were holding a newborn baby in your hands! If your recipient perceives your body language as threatening, your tone as condescending or your volume as angry, they might not really be “there”. These types of transmissions send people into a defensive mode to take personally everything you said. Remember, most people have experienced being yelled at, scolded, or berated at least once in their lives. Until healed, these emotionally charged memories can get triggered by any emotional experience that has any type of similar qualities in it. When a speaker raises their voice or gives a nasty look, many unconsciously regress to a time in their childhood when they were punished or felt threatened. This withdraws attention from the here and now and has them act from there and then! Once you improve your ability to get across what you really intend you develop a better rapport with people. Whatever the specific conditions causing the miscommunication, patience and mindfulness of these principles will help you undo them.