This week I had the opportunity to attend a business conference for staff in higher education. All of the sessions included the topic of communication, and all highlighted the importance of understanding your own emotions as well as those of the person with whom you are talking. This ability to understand emotions is vital to the Business Relationship Manager (my profession).
As a writer of romantic fiction, handling emotion is also vital to craft a believable and engaging story. The most helpful book I’ve found is The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. Writers naturally have to identify not only the emotions we endow our characters with, but the reasons behind those feelings.
One of the conference sessions pointed out the usefulness in listening to metaphors you are hearing the other person use. From a very scholarly person I partnered with I heard a lot of military metaphors: arming for battle, vanguard, under fire. Clearly words we hear in business every day, so was he employing over-used terms or showing his feelings?
In my fiction I need to consider the metaphors my characters will use that suit their backgrounds and mindsets. This is “deep story point of view” in action, and Ann Charles’ Deadwood stories exemplify a highly skilled use of this technique in her engaging characters and dialog.
Once again, skills necessary in both my professional and personal life are closely aligned, drawing on each other and benefitting each other. What a happy balance!
Listen for your own metaphors this week. What do they say about you?