Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

What are You Saying?

Posted by Presentation Skills on October 8, 2009

There are 3 meanings that can be attributed to any message. The meanings change depending on our thoughts.

The fist meaning is the meaning that you attribute to the message. eg ‘Can you come here when you get a chance’ to you means ‘Can you come here now’

The second meaning is the meaning that the other person hears. eg. ‘Can you come here when you get a chance’ to them means, ‘No hurry, but I want to show you something if you want to see it’

The final meaning is the literal interpretation. ‘Can you come here when you get a chance’ means ‘You decide if you want to come and when you want to come.’

Next time someone misunderstands your message, or does not do what you want them to do, consider if they got the message as you intended them too.

3 Responses to “What are You Saying?”

  1. Hi Darren!
    How true that is!
    It’s really amusing to see the 3 layers of meaning all laid out together. It certainly brought a smile to my face.
    I believe that most times the receipient of the message intuits all 3 meanings; however, they make their choice of interpretation, whether consciously or unconsciously, based on the quality of they relationship they have with the sender.
    In this regard, there is real value in the indirectness of the message because it provides feedback to the sender about how the recipient views or values the relationship.
    If our goal of the sender is to increase the value, then they will certainly discover whether there’s some work to be done to close the gap.
    Now that has to be valuable!!!

  2. Hey David,

    I think you are spot on about the relationship aspect. It’s the sort of stuff we all know, but when it is laid out, it becomes so much clearer.



  3. All depends first on your cultural upbringing, (and original language, too) and then, how is your mood at the moment.

    When I would receive such a message, I would say, the sender does not specially wants me there, if not, it would have been more warm invitation and specialized to me…

    “please, come! I’ll be happy to stroll (or speak, etc) with you” would be something else, for me, or “if you come to London, give me a call” or…

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