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Thank you Ma’am for writing this article and sharing the insights you gained from your personal experience. I believe this can be easily extrapolated to day-to-day conversations instead of just a leadership style for faculty. The ‘Intention – Impact Gap’ seems to be a universal phenomenon. I would like to share a couple of my experiences here. Being away from home in college, I feel it is important to stay in touch with your old friends. For this reason, every time I went home, I would call up my friend to ask him if he was free to meet up. Due to limited time and availability, I would tend to ask a lot of questions to understand his schedule, my schedule and how we could make adjustments to be able to meet. This was the intention. One day, I got a response – “Why are you interrogating me? Even my girlfriend does not ask me so many questions”. This was the impact. This is when I realized how my questions were perceived. I realized that the same phenomenon was taking place between me and my parents. Every time I would go on a trip with my friends, my parents would repeatedly ask me to share pictures. They seemed impatient – I can show them the pictures when I get back home, right? What could be the reason? Are they trying to keep track of where I go and what I do? Do they not trust me? This was the impact. I would become grumpy and rebellious when I went on trips and this would make them worry even more. However, it was only when I complained about the same that they explained their reasons. They said they just wanted to be a part of my life and that the images would be further talking points about the trip in addition to the routine mundane questions – How are you? Did you eat? How was your day? These always had the same answers – “I am fine”, “Yes” and “Good”. They did not want to let the distance affect our relationship and just wanted to be with me as much as possible during my journey through life. The explanation of their intention is what actually made me realize about the gap in communication, a gap that is generally so oblivious because of our inherent assumptions and biases. It is important to note that not only is the communication of intention important, but also the communication of impact. The communication channel can be opened from either ends. Just as the person saying something may not realize the impact he/she is having on his/her listener, the person listening may not realize the intention of the speaker. The intention alone seldom matters, it is the execution that affects people. Who initiates the conversation is not important, the only thing that matters is that a communication is started. By default, communication is opaque and efforts need to be taken to improve its transparency.

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