what is the meta message

Have you noticed people who speak meta-messages that leave victims running for escape hatches? You begin to question flaws between their lines because what you hear is not what the speaker means. How does it happen? People who lack interpersonal intelligence are the sender or the receiver of  meta-messages instead of honest communications. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Meta-messages come from undeveloped interpersonal or linguistic intelligences, and they torpedo the very people you hoped to win. These masks also kill brainpower for future exchanges whenever meta-messages …

  • In salesdive-bomb consumers at a business like a vulture swoops down for its kill. In response,  folks flee. Brain shut down with cortisl that comes through insincere statements such as, How are you? when you really mean,“How’s your bank account?”
  • In conflict, state meta-messages such as – All’s OK -  when it’s not, and you’re really holding a grudge about unspoken problems. Amygdalas flare, like lightning strikes iron rods, through meta-messages insincerity of words.
  • In learningpretend you understand long before you do, and watch those you lead default back to ruts because you failed to speak sincerely, and so could not apply new facts accurately.
  • In communication, claim no feelings hurt, when emotions were literally crushed, and that meta-message sends convoluted meanings that leaves whole circles with mental regrets.
What do people really mean anyway, when they use camouflages such as: 
1. I don’t mean to be critical but …
2. That’s Ok …
3. Catch me next time…
4. It doesn’t really matter, but …
5. It’s only because I care that I tell you this …
6. Guess I’ll have to do it by myself from now on …
7. No hurt feelings… but 
8. I don’t really mind at all …
9. Sorry …
10. I don't mean to be negative, but …

All the above are meta-messages ... simple sayings with convoluted meanings ... implying things other than what is actually said. Most of us have tricked our minds to use these in ways that hide how we feel ... and we forget that an asute person can pick up on the fact that what we say ... radically differs at times from the choice of words we use. 

Does that apply to you or anybody at work?   Not always but most of the time … a person really means ….
1. I don’t mean to be critical but … this stuff stinks! 
2. That’s Ok … cause you’re too dumb to get it right anyway!
3. Catch me next time … if you can run faster than me from this thing!
4. It doesn’t really matter … cause you’ll never get it right anyway! 
5. It’s only because I care that I tell you this … because if I didn’t say that first you’d likely pop me one when you hear what I have to tell you! 
6. Guess I’ll have to do it by myself from now on … cause none of you jerks will help!
7. No hurt feelings… cause you’re too crude to waste feelings on, anyway!
8. I don’t really mind … cause if I let myself mind I’d sue you for your last breath!
9. Sorry … you seem to have caught on to my agenda and that slows it down to a crawl!
10. How do you like … my work … say it’s great Ok? Ok? It’s great, right? 

What do you mean when you say calmly….? 
Meta-messages can kill trust and openness in any workplace.... Do you ever say one thing ... to avoid saying what is really in your mind? 
Know anybody who uses great tone to communicate sincerely … and at the same time tends to avoid using meta-messages? Do you? 

Front CoverDefinition of meta message

an underlying meaning or subtext:the ‘metamessage’ of his patronizing tone was that everything baffling her was obvious to him

A meta-message describes those messages that come through reading between the lines. For example, someone sends his wife an email stating he has three meetings that morning and a report to get out in the afternoon. What he is really saying is, "don't bother me today.

Leadership Development: The Secret Sauce of Office Gossip

Where there’s smoke there’s fire is the meta- message of gossip. It’s really good for you. That is, it’s really good for you if you learn how to decode it and use it to your advantage.

There is so much “good advice” out there that says stuff like “Find out who is starting the gossip and tell them how you feel”. Okay, that’s great but does it really make change happen?

Hey listen; here is the special stuff that makes gossip so good for you. It is a feedback system that is there to grown and learn from. “But, but” you say, “it is mean and rude and hurtful”. Maybe so, and to that I say so what.

Sometimes you can get to the source of the gossip and sometimes you can’t. Digging in that rabbit hole can be a waste of time. Here is what I suggest: listen to the essence of what is being said about you. Think of it this way: if you were making a film about office gossip and you were the star and the rumors and innuendos were all pointing to you, what would you name the play. No, don’t whine and be a victim, unless that is what they are saying about you; then you can name the play “Always My Fault”!

Here are some titles that could be really good “The Show Off” (about the super achiever…does the shoe fit?), maybe another would be “The Avenger” (hey are you a rebel at work?) maybe “Outta Here” (that is if you are an avoider).

The key here is to have some fun with this. Gossip has been around ever since there were tribes long ago and a runner from one tribe went to the next, was called into meet with the Chief who would say “So, what’s the juicy word out there”.

Use gossip to your advantage; learn from it and it will be a stepping stone to success at work. Once you tame it, become its friend; you can never be derailed from a positive and firm leadership role in your work life. Stay strong, stay focused, stay curious; life’s an adventure and gossip is a tasty morsel at a roadside restaurant.