What is the purpose of communication?
As an author this question has always fascinated me. It is critical to provide a scene that a reader can visualize as if they were observing it unfold through a crystal ball. It must be conveyed in a manner which allows the reader to accept the scene as authentic. Once the reader has lost “faith” in a scene, despite how wonderful the plot, the whole book loses its je ne sais quoi and the reader puts it down and resists picking it up again.
A favorite pastime is to watch others as they interact and imagine what they are trying to communicate. Many of my characters are based on people I know and the mannerisms they use to communicate.
10 insights I have learned from my observational research:
- Humans communicate to reach an understanding of perspectives and intentions.
- The English language is flawed and requires all our senses to interpret the communicated perspective or intention.
- We use communication to ascertain truth from the chaos of information we are constantly bombarded with.
- When we experience a meaningful event or circumstance, the first thing we want to do is share it – we tell a story.
- Most want to share, but few desire to hear or listen.
- Some are not capable of grasping what we are trying to say because they have no knowledge or experience to relate to what we are expressing. This type of communication is trickier and requires patience.
- We are so worried about offending that we change what we need to communicate into something that no longer has meaning or is the direct opposite of what we intend to say.
- We have so many methods to communicate and yet the lack of communication is a main factor in relationship failures.
- We assume that our chosen communication method will express our intent in a manner that the recipient will understand it when they receive it.
- We eliminate the ability for someone else to have a choice because we think we know them so well, or because we know better than they do what they “really” need.