Coaching John Leadership Development

Words Mean Less Than The Intent Behind Them

This post originally appeared on John’s blog at

I was recently dealing with a less than optimal situation.  A reservation that I had made was cancelled and I wasn’t notified of the cancellation.  As I spoke with the immediate employee, and then the next level up, I was hearing all the right words being spoken…”We’re sorry”, “It shouldn’t have happened”, “We hope this doesn’t affect future patronage”.

However, one thing that was also spoken without these exact words was that another opportunity had caused this cancellation.  In that moment it was clear was was actually being said…my patronage was less valuable than that of the other party.

In that moment, all the other words took a back seat.

words and intention

As you deal with setbacks and rough issues, always remember that the words said have less meaning than the intent behind them.  Also, remember that people are innately very good at hearing intention over words.

In this day and age of covering liability and quick apology to troubles, use your listening skills to hear the intention behind the words.

When you communicate with others, always be sure to convey your intentions clearly. If you choose to focus on the words and not the intention, the other parties will wonder what is really going on.