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Layers of Communicating

July 5, 2011

Ever noticed that human beings have a particularly complex form of communication? We speak not with our words, but with our body language, tone of voice, and even our energy. By energy, I mean whatever we are feeling is communicated on a sub-physical level. Have you ever sat beside someone who was depressed, and you knew they were depressed? How did you know? Yes, their body language and facial expressions would tell you, so would their tone of voice, but also the air around them seems pressed to twice the thickness of a happy person – as though they are literally wearing their depression like a heavy, thick cloak.

So, when we talk to someone all of these levels communicate to us:
1) Visual: people’s facial expressions, gesticulations, body language
2) Auditory: a person’s tone of voice
3) Feeling: We can actually feel another person’s frustration, anger, sadness, etc.

The reason I bring this up is that often people communicate with all these layers and they don’t even know it. In other words, your mood is as big a part of what you’re communicating as the message itself. And your mood affects people.

When writing characters, consider their energy. What’s going on with them? Now, pretend you’re in a room of skeptics, who don’t believe in energy. How will you describe it with their actions?

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