What is the Divide between Your Intended Message and Your Unintended Message?

George TorokCommunication skills, Intended Message, Leadership communication, Podcasting, Public Speaking Leave a Comment


Align your messages and remove the interference

In this episode (#133) on the podcast, Your Intended Message, you will gain insights and tips for effectively communicating your intended message. Have you ever experienced challenges in getting your message across to your audience? You will learn about the two distinct parts of a message: the intended message and the unintended messages. The intended message is the message that the sender wants to convey, but it may not necessarily be the message that is received and understood by the receiver. There are four possible reasons why the intended message may not get through: failure to clarify the message before sending, the audience not listening, the audience not understanding, and the audience not believing the sender.

You will also discover the challenge of converting the mess in your head into words that can be understood by the receiver. There are various filters that can impact how a message is received, including beliefs, experiences, emotional state, setting, perspective, and recent events. These filters can work against your intended message, making it important to consider them when communicating.

To communicate more effectively, you will learn about clarifying the message before speaking, rehearsing the message, and considering the audience’s filters. It’s also important to connect with the audience and address their beliefs and experiences to ensure that your intended message is received and understood.

You will also hear about the potential for unintended messages to be received when communicating your intended message. It’s important to be aware of these unintended messages and take steps to mitigate them. These unintended messages can be generated by various factors, including vocabulary, grammar, body language, voice, method of delivery, emphasis, missing information, level of engagement, and distractions.

By being mindful of the words you use, ensuring that they are understood and appropriate for the setting, and paying attention to your body language and voice, you can increase the chances of your intended message being received and understood. Addressing any questions or concerns that may arise can also help mitigate unintended messages.

Effective communication is not only about saying the right thing, it’s about saying it in the right way. So, if you want to communicate more effectively, this episode of “Your Intended Message” is for you.

Listen to this episode of Your Intended Message here


Introduction  [00:00:00]
George Torok introduces the podcast and discusses the challenges of effectively communicating one’s intended message.

Intended Message vs. Unintended Messages [00:01:23]
George Torok explains the difference between intended and unintended messages and the challenges of communicating the intended message effectively.

Reasons Why Intended Message Might Not Get Across [00:02:33]
George Torok discusses four possible reasons why the intended message might not get across: failure to clarify the message, audience not listening, audience not understanding, and audience not believing.

Challenges of Sending Intended Message [00:05:32]
George Torok explains the challenge of sending the intended message, which starts as a mess in one’s head and needs to be converted into words that the audience can understand.

Filters That Impact Message Reception [00:06:22]
George Torok discusses the various filters that impact how a message is received, including beliefs, experience, emotional state, setting, perspective, and recent events.

Filters [00:10:38]
Discussion of the various filters that can impact how a message is received, including beliefs, experience, emotional state, setting, perspective, and recent events.

Unintended Messages [00:11:40]
Explanation of unintended messages and how they can harm or sabotage the intended message, including factors such as vocabulary, grammar, body language, voice, method of delivery, emphasis, missing information, level of engagement, and distractions.

Tips for Effective Communication [00:18:54]
Encouragement to sign up for weekly presentation tips and to listen to the podcast for practical insights on delivering intended messages successfully.


Welcome to your intended message. Today, it’s a solo show. It’s me here, George Torok. I’m going alone, giving you the benefit of some of my insights and tips and perspective on how you can communicate more effectively and get your intended message delivered more consistently.

Today, let’s look at the title of this podcast, your intended message. That is part of the message that you send. When you send a message, did you know that there are two distinct parts not so distinct, mixed together within your message, your whole message is actually a blend of your intended message and the unintended messages. Let’s look at the challenges of both. And once you are aware of these challenges, you can deal with them more effectively, and communicate more successfully. Start let’s start with the intended message.

The intended message, of course, is the message that you want to send you hope to send and you believe you sent. However, it’s not necessarily the message that was received and understood. And you can probably guess why is that the case? Well, here’s four possible reasons why your message might not get through the intended message might not get through one.

Perhaps you failed to clarify your message before sending. And this is a common mistake when it’s more common when speaking than writing, we can do it in writing. The good news about is when you write a message, you have time to review and edit before you send. And if it’s a particularly thorny message, you might be wise enough to write it, review it, put it aside for a day and come back to it the next day where you can review it and edit and maybe not send it at all.

However, when you’re speaking, the danger is you don’t have the opportunity to edit unless you have prepared and rehearsed this message that you are delivering, which I suggest you do whenever you can.

So perhaps the first reason why your intended message doesn’t get across is maybe you simply failed to clarify your message before sending clarify your message before you start speaking. And that might mean pausing and thinking before you speak.

The next reason why the message might not get through, perhaps they weren’t listening. And you’re thinking what how could they not be listening? Don’t they know who I am? Well, maybe that’s why they weren’t listening. Sometimes your audience simply isn’t listening. They’re not paying attention. Why might they not listen? Well, perhaps they’ve heard you speak before. And they know how you go on perhaps they thought you were boring last time. Or perhaps they can feel the emotion in your voice, the anger and therefore they’re going to simply stay out of the way and not listen. But sometimes they’re not listening. Maybe they simply haven’t connected with you. You haven’t connected with them. You haven’t got their attention. So they might not be listening.

The next reason why the message your intended message might not get through. They didn’t understand you. Hmm. What are you talking about? What do you mean? They simply didn’t understand perhaps you were talking and using terms and words that you know what they mean, but they don’t or perhaps what was you thought was clear in your head was not coming through in the words that you were using and they simply didn’t understand you.

And the fourth area where the message didn’t get through is they didn’t believe you or they heard you They understood you and they don’t believe you. Why might they not believe you? Well, perhaps they know you’ve been someone to tell untruths in the past. And clearly, you could be doing it again. Or perhaps you said something earlier in your message that they know is wrong or they believe is wrong. And so why should they listen to the rest of you? By the way, if you make the mistake of injecting one, untruth or suspicious lie early in your presentation, we now have permission to ignore everything else you say. Because you we’ve now learned that you are a liar. And what else could be true?

So there are four reasons why the message might not get through. Now be clear, when you are sending your intended message, here’s the challenge that you face, your message starts as a mess in your head. And inside your brain, your head, it’s a mess in there. And you might say, Oh, no, no, George, you haven’t. It’s not a mess, it is a mess. Trust me, it is a mess. If you look inside my head, it’s a mess.

To you, it’s a mess. To me, it makes sense. And in your head. What’s going on in your head makes sense to you, because you’ve had all your life to get used to the mess in your head.

And when you want to send a message, you need to take that message in your head, convert it into words, speak the words, they hear the words and convert it into the mess in their head, there’s a couple of translations going on. Good opportunity for things to go wrong. And one of the areas of things might go wrong, is the filters that we use, to that we put your message through before we even consider it.

And the filters, we have filters, we filter your message because we are bombarded by messages every day. And we need to make quick decisions. And sometimes those filters work against you getting your intended message across.

What are some of those filters? Well, the first one is beliefs. What are the beliefs that they have? The beliefs they have about you, your company, your organisation, the group you hang around? When what beliefs the topic, your topic, you’re talking about that you’re telling them? What do they believe? How do they believe differently? And are you addressing those beliefs? Are you clarifying the message,

another filter? Is their experience based on their experience? What is their experience? With this topic with this issue with this challenge? How have they handled it in the past? Why should they handle it differently this time? What’s their experience with you, your company, your firm? So those experiences get in the way, I had one I was working with with one client where they were trying to get an important message a cost saving message to their client. However, the client was resisting. And maybe the client was resisting because the clients most recent experience was that the supplier didn’t answer a question. They asked a significant question about delivery, delivery stats, and my client who I was trying to help get thought that well, but that doesn’t matter arm our current message is more important doesn’t matter, because the recent experience was you’re not responding. So deal with that experience.

Another filter is the emotional state of your listeners. What’s the emotional state that they are in? Are they are they delighted? Are they happy? Are they fearful? Are they angry? are they sad? Are they confused? What’s their emotional state because their emotional state will filter and change the message that gets through another set? Another filter is the setting what is the setting of where you’re delivering the message? There’s no question the best setting for delivering a strong personal message is to be face to face with people in the same room. However, sometimes we need to do that by email, by telephone or by zoom call. And each of those settings have a different filter to them. When we’re in the room, we can see you we can hear you when we’re on the phone we can hear you when we’re on Zoom. We can see you in here we can see you partly and we’re filtering the messages filtered through this computer screen which which is a filter.

Another perspective another filter is the perspective what is their perspective? What is the frame through which they are viewing and receiving your message.

Closely related to that is what about recent events, recent events which You may or may not have any control of can have an impact on the your intended message. And I’ll give you a give you an example of that. I, for example, if you’re speaking to at a company say it’s an annual company sales, the big corporate sales meeting, and your it’s your turn to speak. And just before you spoke, the they heard the results from last year, and the numbers were phenomenal. We exceeded all the targets, and people are getting their bonuses, and they’re going on a trip to Hawaii to celebrate well, they’re, they’re in a certain state of mind, they’re going to be far more open to whatever comes next. On the other hand, imagine if it was just the opposite. They received the numbers from last year, the results were dismal. There’s no no bonus. In fact, not only is there no bonus, but every manager has been instructed to cut staff. Now it’s your turn to speak.

How well are you going to be able to get your intended message through? So those are some filters, beliefs, experience, emotional state setting perspective, and recent events? Those are only some of the filters that your intended message must survive to get through.

What about the other messages that you’re sending? But you say, Well, I’m not sending any other messages? Well, yes, you are always conveying unintended messages. The trick, the secret is to at least be aware of them as much as possible. And trying to mitigate these unintended messages. And the unintended messages. It’s like static, it’s the static that you generate, while you’re attempting to send your intended message. And the static can simply make your message fuzzy. It could annoy people, it could even overpower and contradict your intended message.

Whoa. So I think we better pay attention to the unintended messages. What are some of the factors that influence that can generate those unintended messages? Well, there’s several.

And I’ve got nine right here and I’ll tell you the quickly with the are the first one is vocabulary, your vocabulary, your choice of words, sends unintended messages. Are the words you’re using. Are they understood? Are you using over cumbersome words? Are you using street slang? Are you being are you swearing, just using totally inappropriate locker room language? Those words send a message an unintended message about you, and that can harm and sabotage your intended message.

The next element that can have an X factor that can generate unintended messages is the grammar which is similar to vocabulary, the grammar you use, do you demonstrate that you understand proper grammar without being in Yes, everyone is allowed to make little mistakes. Remember, by the way, the more people know and trust in like you, the more the flaws, they will forgive you. But people who don’t know you don’t have the chance to forgive you. So do be aware that your grammar can have an effect.

The third factor for sending for generating unintended messages is body language. And body language isn’t really a language. It’s more like a code, because we need to decipher what your body is saying to us. And so you might feel comfortable. But if you look uncomfortable, if you look nervous, then we assume you are nervous for a reason. Because you might not be you’re hiding something, or if you talk about how confident you are, but you don’t look confident. And when we see it when there’s a conflict between what we see and what we hear. We tend to believe what we see.

The next element is voice your voice has a can can supplement can support your intended message. Or it could send unintended messages of its own. For example, when you make a statement, do you end with inflection so that you make it sound like a question? Of course, I’m sure yes, I know the results. Is it a question or is it a statement? Is your voice choppy? Is it fast paced? You think you want to just get this done and give it real quick but you’re speaking so fast, we can hardly hear the words and form the ideas and you sound nervous and high pitch and we’re thinking whoa, you’re not comfortable with this message at all. There must be Something wrong with the message I don’t believe it.

Another factor is the method of delivery. Which is similar to the setting that we talked about with the intended message, the method of delivery, how are you sending this message? How important is this message? Is it worthy of a? Is it an email? Is it a letter a formal letter? Will you have a phone call? Will you deliver this message over a coffee meeting? Or will it be in the boardroom and the settings make a difference?

Another element is the apparent your apparent emphasis on your message. Now you might think, Well, I’m, I’m not emphasizing anything I’m just saying, and so they can hear me, but depending on the phrases, you use the body language? Where is the emphasis on the message? Are you emphasizing the right parts? The key parts of the message or the wrong parts?

Another factor for creating unintended messages is, what did you leave out? What’s the missing information? What question in our mind hasn’t been answered? And yes, you don’t want to overload people with information, no question. However, if you are speaking, and you raise a question that they are now focusing on, they’re not listening to the rest of your message, because you haven’t answered a question that you might have raised. So look for those doors that you’ve opened that you’ve, you’ve presented them, but you haven’t opened and shown them what’s behind that door. Because if you mentioned the door, therefore the door is irrelevant. And what’s behind the door is also irrelevant. So don’t mention a door, an idea or concept unless it’s worth clarifying

Another element to contribute to unintended messages, is the level of engagement. What’s the level of engagement you have with your audience? Are you simply reading slides? Or reading from a text? Or are you engaging them with the information, the relevance, and therefore emphasizing and strengthening your intended message?

And finally, the ninth element that can generate unintended messages are the distractions. Now there can be distractions? If we’re on a zoom call, there’s lots of distractions for them, that you can’t control that much? Because you can’t you don’t know what they’re doing. On the other other screen the other monitor or checking on their desk, when we’re in the room? Is the room set up? Is there distractions in the room. And the biggest distractions for you to be aware of, is the distractions within their mind? Because they’re listening, and they’re asking questions and in their mind, so what does that mean? What does that mean to me, so what, what comes from this, and if you haven’t addressed those distractions, they go on those tangents, and you lose your intended message.

So there are, there are some of the factors that can generate unintended messages. The key message for you is to be aware that you’re not only sending an intended message, but there is also unintended messages that attach themselves to your intended message. And you want to mitigate those unintended messages as much as possible. So there you have some ideas on how to package your intended message and how to mitigate the unintended message. Those are some ideas so that you can be more successful when you speak.

If you’re looking for more ideas and how to present yourself more effectively, make sure you receive the weekly superior presentation tips and you can sign up for that at the website
For weekly interviews and insights about improving your business communication skills, listen to the podcast, Your Intended Message with host George Torok.

Intended message vs unintended message

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