Mind & Body

Speak No Evil

Verbal sparring is exhausting and ineffective. Learn to communicate with compassion and you'll get the respect, attention, and fulfillment you deserve.

Speak No Evil
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Create a Better Practice
To support your new way of communicating, follow this advice from Brooklyn-based NVC trainer Dian Killian and Ike Lasater, a San Francisco-based mediator and conflict resolution educator.
SAY "I." The first step toward taking responsibility for your feelings is to choose the right pronoun. Start with I feel ... instead of This makes me feel .. ; try I heard you say ... and not You said ....
SUSPEND JUDGMENT. When you judge yourself or someone else, take note. But don't compound the problem. "Simply notice, I'm judging," Killian says. "Then think what your needs might be."
TAKE IT SLOW. Don't rush to fix a problem. "It's so easy to focus on the outcome," says Killian. "But if you really hear the other person, there's a greater chance that all needs will be met."
SEE THE OTHER SIDE. When you're in a tense situation, silently acknowledge your feelings and needs, Lasater says. Then imagine the feelings and needs of the person who's driving you crazy. "You can still care about her," Lasater notes.
EMPATHIZE IN BRIEF. If you're pressed for time or uncomfortable performing the practice, make quick "empathy guesses" to help people feel included and heard. Ask, Do you want a sense of completion? or Would you like to know we all agree?
FEEL THE LOVE. To test how doing good feels good, think of a time when you were angry. Close your eyes and feel it in your body: Does it feel tight or heavy? Now recall when you helped someone. How does your body respond? More pleasantly?