Social Skills: Intended vs. Interpreted Messages

Social Skills: Intended vs. Interpreted Messages

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The message a person is attempting to send is what we call the intended message. 

The message a person actually receives is what we call the interpreted message.


The message a person is attempting to send is what we call the intended message. 

The message a person actually receives is what we call the interpreted message. 

In our communication with each other, there is often a big difference between the message we are attempting to send (the intended message) and the message actually received (the interpreted message). 

This chart supports the understanding and increased awareness of how we send and receive messages via our: 

  1. Behaviours 
  2. Words 
  3. Thoughts 
  4. Feelings 

Rarely do people clarify the message they have received. And frequently the message interpreted is very different to what was intended. People often ‘react’ to the message they have interpreted.

Consequently, many reactions are simply a result of receiving a different message to what was intended to be sent. 

Clarification of messages received is a largely underutilised skill. 

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