7 - Intentional Language

People are responsible for their behavior, 
but they are not only their behavior.

In normal conversation we see each person as their behavior, as if they are the behavior they are showing us. Angry, sad, bored, etc.. When my young son displays boredom I know he is temporarily without options.  I can react to this by telling him what a good life he has, that there are plenty of things to do or tell him I am too busy to put up with his boredom.  One the other hand I could respond by asking him what he means by being bored? What was he doing before he became bored? In reality he will say he doesn’t know. Behind all this I know he wants my attention.  So I sit down close to him and remain silent. He will ask, in 12 year old style, “What are you doing?” I respond, “Waiting for the boredom to pass.” With in a short time he is off with a new idea, a new activity and no longer bored.

In this shortened story above the key is to see beyond the reactive behavior, which is a request for attention, give him my attention and resolve the problem.  Reactive behavior is always a request for attention. This same tip works in any situation.  However, before we can instinctively respond when we would normally react we need to understand how Intentional Language works.

Intentional Language addresses each person about their:

  • Behavior and
  • About them as a person.

Normal Language: “ I am so angry at you for being inconsiderate. I just want to walk away from you and your problems!”

Intentional Language: “ I know your intention was to be helpful. However, your inconsiderate behavior is unacceptable. It does nothing but make me want to walk away when you get like that. Since I know that was not your intention, can you ask for what you want in a way that will keep me in the conversation?”

Intentional Language addresses behavior, but it also asks questions that speak directly to the other person’s Five Intentions.  Intentional language keeps a person in the conversation, it pulls them in rather than pushing them away. The choice of words is crucial. The result is an immediate & dramatic change in the way other’s listen and behave. 


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© Scott Taylor 2020