(Originally posted at Absolution Mediation)

This past week I had the pleasure of being a speaker at Tweetstock in Brantford, Ontario where we talked about the Art of Community.  There I talked about how to engage with conflict, both online and offline.  I'll get more into what I talked about possibly in the next few weeks, but one thing I did talk about is Intent.  A few weeks ago I talked a little about Intent, Action, and Effect but I want to share this picture from my slideshow:

This picture speaks volumes for intent!  Have you ever said/wrote something that someone reacted to or felt offended by?  Most of us would say that this has happened to us before.  It is vitally important that when this happens we have an honest conversation with the person that has (mis)interpreted what we said.  Explore the meaning of what was said by explaining your intent and exploring the effect its had on the other person.

In conflict, everyone has a stake in the miscommunication.

I had a great time speaking at Tweetstock, and there was some amazing speakers there!  Take a look at my friend Lisa's blog and video (and find Lisa on Twitter!) and you will quickly see that this event was full of fun, love and community!

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Comment by Nicole Bohe on July 16, 2011 at 7:54pm

This picture is kind of funny - something you would see when Jay Leno shows the funny headlines from newspapers. At least they told them where family planning was located??? (trying to find the non-offensive silver lining)


Intent is difficult to convey 24/7 - eventually you slip up. And I think that risk of being "intentless" only increases as the online interactions increase. Emoticons can only go so far. Do you think online interactions are hardening people? Or is having the opposite effect of making people more sensitive to what they read? Would that help explain the new wave of online bullying?

Comment by Jason Dykstra on July 18, 2011 at 3:05am
Thanks for the observation Nicole, I'm not sure if people's online interactions are softening or hardening people's interactions.  However, it seems to me, that people are more likely to say something that they usually wouldn't say in person, especially when it comes to negative comments (like bullying for example).  I think the reason for this is that they don't have to see the non-verbal effect that it causes.  Thoughts?
Comment by Jeff Thompson on July 18, 2011 at 7:42am

Jason & Nicole,


Great topic.  This happens to be (somewhat) the topic of my recent blog post.  


For as much research as I have been (trying) to do recently, I often put a major emphasis on two key concepts in regards to communication (not just nonverbal):



Being aware of how we encode our message increases the potential for it to be decoded the way we intended.  The 'problem' is perception- people do not always see or feel things the same way as we do.

That constant awareness of our own messages as well as that of others is what makes us professional communicators and able to assist others who are involved in disputes and conflicts.

Being professionals, we also realize that this is always a work in progress :)


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