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  • Writer's pictureSapana Gupta

The three layers of communication

Would you consider an "angry walk" a form of communication?


According to Charles Duhigg, whenever we speak, we’re actually participating in one of three layers of conversation:


🧩 Practical: This layer focuses on decision-making and problem-solving, addressing the logistics needed to achieve specific goals.


❤️ Emotional: This layer allows individuals to express their feelings and seek empathy, fostering deeper personal connections.


🌍 Social: This layer delves into identities and relationships, examining how people perceive themselves and interact with others in various social contexts.


I stumbled on the New Yorker Cartoon below and it made me think of these layers of conversation and nonverbal cues.


The man’s "angry walk" illustrates an emotional layer—he’s trying to communicate his feelings non-verbally, but his partner misses the cue, leading to a breakdown in communication.


Once we become aware and recognize which layer is active in a conversation, we can match that mood and energy, creating a deeper connection and, ultimately, a more effective and meaningful dialogue.


This isn’t something limited to personal relationships; connection is just as key to building effective business relationships.


How do you typically respond to nonverbal cues like an "angry walk"?



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