Do People Misunderstand Text? The "IM" Confusion ~ Hmm?

13 replies
Hey Warriors;

Maybe it's just me (and apparently I'm stupid), or is it that when you write something in text, like we do on forums, sales letters etc... The perception, and the way it's perceived is not the same as if you had said it yourself to the person, to there face.

I mean, how can you perceive the meaning behind words through text? People often freak out, from the assumption that what someone meant, was [X] when really they were making a joke, or otherwise using some form of sarcasm.

Any ideas to circumvent this, and create a connection through text? I mean, how do you express your ideas to your customers, and make them feel like you care, just through text.

Caleb
#confusion #hmm #misunderstand #people #text
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    That happens due to many issues. Some people are thin skinned and anything that is humorous or cynical sets them off.

    More often, I think it's a language thing. This is an international forum and there is nothing harder to express in a second or third language than ideas. When someone misinterprets you have a choice of striking back or asking what the problem is.

    kay

    P.S. This answer comes from someone who gave a serious answer and was told the psychic energy of the post gave someone a headache - go figure.
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    • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      That happens due to many issues. Some people are thin skinned and anything that is humorous or cynical sets them off.

      More often, I think it's a language thing. This is an international forum and there is nothing harder to express in a second or third language than ideas. When someone misinterprets you have a choice of striking back or asking what the problem is.

      kay

      P.S. This answer comes from someone who gave a serious answer and was told the psychic energy of the post gave someone a headache - go figure.
      Kay,

      The psychic energy of your post, gave me a headache.



      Caleb
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  • Profile picture of the author ExRat
    Hi Caleb,

    Maybe it's just me (and apparently I'm stupid), or is it that when you write something in text, like we do on forums, sales letters etc... The perception, and the way it's perceived is not the same as if you had said it yourself to the person, to there face.
    Ever heard of body language? It's worth studying. I bought this bookthis book when I first started sales. I recommend it.

    With text there is no body language, except perhaps emoticons.

    Non-verbal communication makes up a surprisingly large proportion of how we communicate - we don't always register how much body language we are 'reading,' so many times when someone's words don't match what we believe to be the case, we put it down to gut instinct, when in fact it is often due to us reading their body language which happens to be incongruent with their words.

    The book I mentioned often uses babies/youngsters to explain the concept. When you study this, it makes sense. For example, putting a digit close to your mouth is a sign of dishonesty. As adults, we still do this but over the years we have learnt to hide it somewhat, so it becomes more subtle, such as a quick scratch of the lip, or even the eye (the wrist is then over the mouth.)

    This has evolved from when we were a small child and our parents asked us if we stole the food (for example), we literally cover our whole mouth as we say 'no' to 'stop the lie coming out.'

    Be warned - once you know how to read someone's body language you had better make sure that you are capable of handling the truth, because you can't avoid it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
    Originally Posted by Caleb Spilchen View Post

    how do you express your ideas to your customers, and make them feel like you care, just through text.
    It helps if you genuinely care about your customers in
    the first place.

    So, rather than wanting to make them feel like you care
    you instead get yourself to the point where you really,
    really do care.

    Before writing a word, imagine that a typical subscriber
    is in front of you. You may even picture yourself
    having a chat and a cup of coffee together.

    Now, imagine that you really wanted to give them some
    really useful information or an offer that they would
    benefit from.

    Think about what you would say to them in person and
    how you'd say it and then try to translate that feeling
    into text.

    In other words, put yourself in a caring state of mind
    and this will get transmitted into your written words.

    Sure, there will be times when you get misunderstood
    but take those as learnings and sharpen the saw
    continuously.

    Dedicated to mutual success,

    Shaun
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    • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen
      Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

      It helps if you genuinely care about your customers in
      the first place.

      So, rather than wanting to make them feel like you care
      you instead get yourself to the point where you really,
      really do care.

      Before writing a word, imagine that a typical subscriber
      is in front of you. You may even picture yourself
      having a chat and a cup of coffee together.

      Now, imagine that you really wanted to give them some
      really useful information or an offer that they would
      benefit from.

      Think about what you would say to them in person and
      how you'd say it and then try to translate that feeling
      into text.

      In other words, put yourself in a caring state of mind
      and this will get transmitted into your written words.

      Sure, there will be times when you get misunderstood
      but take those as learnings and sharpen the saw
      continuously.

      Dedicated to mutual success,

      Shaun
      And that's the thing Shaun.. I do genuinely care about my customers, and I feel like sometimes, they don't feel in the same way that I'm doing that.

      Thanks for your tips
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      • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
        Originally Posted by Caleb Spilchen View Post

        And that's the thing Shaun.. I do genuinely care about my customers, and I feel like sometimes, they don't feel in the same way that I'm doing that.

        Thanks for your tips
        All you can do is focus on what you CAN control and who
        you are BEING when you communicate.

        If you genuinely care about your customers then that
        will shine through to the majority of reasonable people.

        Not everyone will interpret your communication the same
        way of course.

        If too many people give you feedback that they don't
        think or feel that you care, then dig deeper to discover
        why they feel that way.

        Also, if you doubt that they feel that you care, then you
        will transmit this in your communication too.

        Align what you think, feel and do and you'll have less
        misinterpretations.

        Just be caring and the rest will flow.

        Dedicated to mutual success,

        Shaun
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Wagoner
    No Caleb, you're not stupid.

    Conversational text is certainly not the medium where the emotions/intentions shine through with clarity, particularly when the author can't spend time to set it up.

    In works of fiction there is ample time to create a setting, a certain mood and tone.

    Unfortunately this isn't very practical for all sales letters, forum posts etc.

    The best you can hope for IMO is your audience will get to know you through other past communications before making any assumptions.

    That's just my opinion.

    Dennis
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    The problem is that when we talk face to face.... more than 70% of our "communication" is non-verbal!

    Now, when you write something, sales letter or forum post - all you have at your hands is the remaining less than 30% to convey your message.

    So, unless you are a very skilled writer who knows exactly how to 'manipulate' (in good sense) the audience... your best bet is to try to be very precise and very concrete in your online written communication.

    P.S. Probably, the emoticons have been introduced to to add something non-verbal to our written online communication

    EDIT. A lot of people type faster...
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  • That's what smiley faces are for.

    So you need to use those in your sales letters.

    I.e.,

    "Buy this now because it's REALLY REALLY GOOD! "
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi Caleb,

      My other answer (which I didn't give) was what Shaun said above in post #5.
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  • Profile picture of the author LauraJames
    Caleb,

    To me, this is not stupid at all. When I am typing something, I am able to "hear" the intonation of the words. While I know how the meaning is supposed to come across, such as being serious, humourous, caring, and so on, this does not always translate as effectively to those who are reading my words. I try to write descriptively and to "paint a picture with my words" so that my intentions will be understood. Still, I know there are some who will still misunderstand my intentions anyway. I keep working on putting forth good, quality content. To me, being able to meet with customers, or at least speak with them via telephone or Skype, is more effective than simply relying on written words, because it allows me to present myself and people are able to more fully learn about the type of person I am. In turn, of course, I have the same benefit as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Prady N
    Originally Posted by Caleb Spilchen View Post

    Hey Warriors;

    Maybe it's just me (and apparently I'm stupid), or is it that when you write something in text, like we do on forums, sales letters etc... The perception, and the way it's perceived is not the same as if you had said it yourself to the person, to there face.

    I mean, how can you perceive the meaning behind words through text? People often freak out, from the assumption that what someone meant, was [X] when really they were making a joke, or otherwise using some form of sarcasm.

    Any ideas to circumvent this, and create a connection through text? I mean, how do you express your ideas to your customers, and make them feel like you care, just through text.

    Caleb
    I think this is in reference to your post in "9 year old can do"..which got misunderstood I think one smiley can solve our problem...
    On larger prospective, I think tone of your text,post or sales letter conditions your readers & in that context readers read your text..
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    • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen
      Originally Posted by yogk31 View Post

      I think this is in reference to your post in "9 year old can do"..which got misunderstood I think one smiley can solve our problem...
      On larger prospective, I think tone of your text (sales letter) or story creates mood of customer & in that context customers reads your text
      Very attentive my friend, that was a "push" to post this, just a thought I had, on my mind for quite a while.
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