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This is a great article Ma’am. I think the impact-intention gap is ubiquitous but more prevalent in the professional world. That is because in personal relations we still try to understand the other man’s perspective if not immediately, a little later. Acknowledging that the impact-intention gap does exist, works both ways. When you are the person giving the advice you tend to go that extra mile to make sure that the intent is well received and has the right impact. When you are at the receiving end you may give the speaker the benefit of doubt and may try to find out the real intention of the speaker. You can continue your conversation with the speaker trying to find out what made him think like that and finding out his real intent. A team which can understand the impact-intention gap can function much more effectively than the teams which do not understand or do not know that this exits. The misunderstanding can also be aggravated by written communication when its becomes even more difficult for the person who sends it to get across his intention right to the receiver. Its more likely that reader misunderstand’s the real intention. For this reason I think its more advisable for a person to directly talk to and avoid written communication if he intends to send something sensitive. I think communication breakdowns can be avoided to a large extent by following these.

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