Intended vs Unintended Messages: What did you mean?

George TorokCommunication skills, Insights, Intended Message, Presentation Tips, Public Speaking Leave a Comment


When you speak, you send two types of messages.

Intended vs Unintended messages


Your intended message

This is the message that you want to send, hope you sent and believe you sent. But it’s not necessarily the message that was received.



  • You failed to clarify your message before sending
  • They weren’t listening
  • They didn’t understand you
  • They didn’t believe you


Your message also needs to pass through the filters that your audience uses to manage the information that bombards them every day.

Some filters they use constantly. Others depend on the situation.


The filters that the audience uses include

  • Existing beliefs
  • Experience
  • Emotional state
  • Setting
  • Perspective
  • Recent events


You control the message you send, and you can make it more successful when you understand the filters and adapt your message to successfully pass through the filters unchanged.

These are the challenges you face with your intended message.


Your Unintended Message

Now let’s consider your unintended messages. What’s that? That’s the static that you generate while attempting to send your intended message.

That static is usually caused by how you sent the message. The static might confuse the audience or annoy the audience. It might even contradict your intended message.


Unintended messages are generated by:

  1. Trigger Words
  2. Poor Grammar
  3. Body language
  4. Voice
  5. Method of delivery
  6. Apparent emphasis
  7. Missing information
  8. Level of engagement
  9. Distractions


It’s easy to dismiss these factors as uncontrollable.

Notice that the speaker has direct control over the first eight factors on this list. The speaker has partial control of the Distractions within the presentation room. The speaker also has some influence over the greatest cause of distractions – that’s the distractions within the mind of the listener.


The speaker is responsible to clarify the intended message while managing the unintended messages.

Poor presentation creates stress, wastes time and loses money. George Torok, President of Superior Presentations, helps presenters deliver the intended message for greater success. You can arrange for individual coaching or team training – online or onsite.

Arrange Presentation Skills training for your team

Connect with George Torok on Linkedin

Listen to the podcast – Your Intended Message with host. George Torok

Related posts for you

First Impressions Still Count -even on social media

Five Phrases to Avoid when Speaking

The Impact of Negative Trigger Words


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.