(originally posted at Absolution Mediation)

Whenever I say Intent, Action, Effect it always feels like I'm saying lights, camera, action!
Anyways...let’s take a moment and look at this model together. I really like this model because we are able to break down virtually every conversation we have and talk about what our private motives were and what was the public event/action that took place.

Ok, so you have seen the pretty picture…but what does it mean? Let’s tackle this for a quick second.
Intent: Intent is why you said/did what you said/did. What was going through your mind when you said your comment or asked your question? What were your intentions with doing what you did? What were you hoping to achieve?
Action: The physical words or action that took place. The actual words that were said or deed that was done.
Effect: How the other person perceives the comment or action. How they receive the information that was portrayed.
So a quick example, whenever I am vacuuming our house my wife always reminds me to vacuum underneath the bed. Always. So let’s take a look at her (possible) intent. She might be thinking, “Hey, there are a lot of dust bunnies under the bed, I should probably remind him to vacuum there.” That sounds fairly reasonable right? So what’s the action? The action is the actual verbal comment to vacuum under the bed. What’s her effect on me? Well…most days it goes something like this; “Does she think I’m stupid? I always vacuum under the bed!”

Do you see where I'm going here?  This is where a lot of communication can breakdown.  We assume someone's intent is harmful towards us, or we think the effect on them is minimal.  This happens in our own personal relationships, between co-workers, businesses, even between businesses and customers.

Over the next few weeks we will break down this model a bit so that you can use it in your own life.  What do you think of this model? Does it make sense?

Views: 162

Comment by Nicole Bohe on May 22, 2011 at 11:32am

This model made sense to me. In thinking about communication, I realize that I am relatively thoughtful on my intent, but how much control do I really have over the effect? And when I react to someone's communication, I tend to err on the defensive side, similar to your vacuum example. Is this because I am not truly considering the speaker's intent? How does our reaction in the "effect" portion formulate? Is it habit? Personality?


Looking forward to your breakdown, I'm sure it will continue to be thought-provoking!

Comment by Jason Dykstra on May 23, 2011 at 4:04pm

Hey Nicole, thanks for the comment and question...let me see if I can do it justice! 

Q: How much control do I really have over the effect? 

A: None, you can not control how the other person is going to receive the comment/action however you can make sure that your intent is not to harm them as well as the delivery of that action as well.  They will take the comment as they take it.  

Q: How does our reaction in the effect portion formulate?

A: I think we interpret the person's intent based on their non-verbal communication, they words they actually said, our relationships with them, and our past experiences.  Through all these things (and maybe more) we formulate the effect on us.  It goes beyond the habit and personality of a person, though they are both factors as well I would say.

Hope this answers your questions!  If you need anything clarified please feel free to ask! 



Comment by Jeff Thompson on May 23, 2011 at 5:52pm



Thanks for sharing this.  One question that comes to my mind- isn't "effect" both private and public as it not only effects (or affects?) you internally but also externally as well as the other person (the decoder)?

Comment by Nicole Bohe on May 23, 2011 at 7:11pm
Thanks for the clarification!
Comment by Jason Dykstra on May 24, 2011 at 7:08am
Hey Jeff, I think effect is both private and public.  The public part I would say is there verbal/non-verbal reaction to the action.  But I would say effect is mainly private, because we can't know what is happening in (both) people.  Every person would interpret the action through their own experiences and form their "effect."


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