What hidden messages have you discovered or understood behind words that were spoken to you?
What are some messages or meanings you have hidden behind your spoken words?
Why is it easy or difficult for others to understand those hidden message behind your words?
Why is it easy or difficult for you to hear and understand other people’s hidden message behind their spoken words?
Depending upon your background and the culture you grew up in, you may or may not understand about the hidden messages spoken behind words.
Here is an example: If you’ve ever watched the TV show ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ there was an episode that really jumped out at me.
In the episode where Jessica and her sister talked on the phone and Jessica’s sister was saying how excited she was to visit her family for Thanksgiving, there was a subtext of the meaning behind each of the words being spoken.
Even though we may understand the literal words, there was a hidden message, a subtext of the meaning behind those spoken words between the sisters.
I can tell you… this is very common in Asian culture. I know because I lived and continue to live with it throughout my life.
I have always needed to be careful about what I said because the meaning behind the words is just as equally important, and I dared not to offend anyone or try to get myself or anyone in trouble.
Through years of training with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all the other Asian adults and children I have encountered, I have become highly skilled in understanding the hidden messages behind their spoken words.
My husband, on the other hand, did not and continues to try to learn this skill of understanding the hidden message. You see my husband is Scottish and his family members are very direct.
What they say is exactly what they mean, but I have discovered that sometimes even with his family there would be a bit of meaning behind their conversations. However, I would say at least 90-95% of the time there were no hidden messages behind their spoken words.
In my family though, 95-100% of the time there are definitely hidden messages behind the spoken words.
If you are thinking it is difficult and complicated to speak with my family, you are correct!
Even the questions that my family ask have hidden meanings behind them. A simple ‘how are you’ doesn’t just mean ‘how are you?’ It can mean how is your job, are you still living in the same apartment, when are you going to…?
I had to teach my husband about understanding the hidden messages, hidden questions, subtext, reading between the lines, and so on.
Here are three tips that I shared with my husband that may help you to understand the hidden messages behind the spoken words, the subtext, and read between the lines, so to speak:
Tip #1 Rationale for the question asked or statement made
What information is the person trying to obtain or want you to know? Is it for their benefit or yours?
Tip #2 Eye contact/Body language
How are they looking at you when they ask you the question or telling you the information? Are they looking at you or giving you a side view?
Are they leaning towards you or away? Are they stiff or relaxed? This can show you how interested they are and that they want you to know what they are really asking you. Or what they want you to know behind their hidden messages.
Tip #3 Tone of voice
If you can’t see them and they can’t see you, then you can rely on the tone of voice. Is the voice a bit stiff, formal, relaxed, a fake smile behind the words, warmth, etc? This will tell you about the hidden messages behind the spoken words.
So the next time you are in a communication situation where you need to understand hidden messages or respond to hidden message, just remember RET and KISS.
R– Rational for question or statement
E– Eye contact
T– Tone of voice
Use KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) when responding to the hidden message!
If you are driven to communicate with confidence, have your messages, be heard and understood, and repair any communication breakdown in your personal communication relationship, then you should take a look at my ebook 5 Strategies For Effective Companion Communication! Grab your free copy by signing up below:
Grace CW Liu
Grace CW Liu believes there is a solution to every problem including communication and conversation problems. Everyone can find the solution they seek by using the guidance of grace that is in you, with the grace of spiritual support, and Grace –me– as your Communication Navigator and support system.
My passion is to help sensitive, conflict-phobic, and introverted women have effective communication so they feel valued and heard in any conversation.
Through studying and observations, I’ve realized why communication breakdown occurs and the solutions to solving those problems. I’ve presented these solutions so that communicative partners can achieve effective communication!