How to use Compassionate Communication methodology without sounding like a robot.
Not a Cookie-Cutter
Compassionate Communication (NVC) does not prescribe exactly how to speak in order to accomplish more empathy and connection. Yes, our choice of words is particularly important when reflecting/reframing/validating or expressing feelings and needs.
And, even though while we use NVC we are searching for the need under what someone is feeling, we can offer our reception of those needs and feelings in a multitude of ways.
Especially in communities using NVC, or with friends and loved ones who grow familiar with your use of NVC, people may recognize patterns in your speech, and even begin to resent it. After all, repeating “You’re feeling ____.” every time you’re involved in a contentious conversation might not exactly sound curious and considerate.
‘Street Giraffe’ is lingo for ‘every day NVC’, or, how you may, after practice, implement NVC concepts without sounding like an NVC-filtration processor machine.
Take a look at the examples below, and consider how you might show the conviction and sincerity in your speech with diversity and creativity.
|Autonomy||You want to do your own thing?
You want to do it your way?
You want to be your own boss?
You want the freedom to do it when you want to?
You’d like to choose how you do it?
|Identity||Do you want to try different things in order to figure out what you like?|
|Creativity||You want to explore and see where it takes you?
You want to make something new?
|Cooperation||Do you want everyone to work together?|
|Companionship||Would you like someone to spend hang out with more?|
|Affection||Do you want a hug?|
|Compassion||Do you want an ear to listen to what’s going on?|
|Competence||You want to show people you can do it?|
|Honesty||You want to trust that what is said is really true?|
|Order||You want to find things easily?
You want to know what’s going on around you?
|Support||You want some help?|
|Stimulation||Are you looking for something fun or new to do?|
|Ways to guess needs||Were you hoping _______?
Would you have liked _______?
And now you’d like _______?
Were you wishing _______?
Sounds as if you really wanted _______?
I’m guessing you would have liked _______?
Perhaps you would have preferred _______?
I wonder if you’d like _______?
|Ways to guess feelings||Sounds like you’re feeling a bit ______?
Seems as if you’re feeling a sort of _______?
I imagine you’re feeling kind of _______?
Maybe you’re feeling somewhat _______?
I wonder if you’re feeling _______?
Listening: Communication that Cuts Off Connection
Below are TWELVE ways in which a listener can fail to listen . . . through their best intentions, the recipient (person who wants empathy/to be listened to) is left wanting. Since there are 12, the list is too long to remember, and it must be referenced/used/reviewed in order to have a lasting and meaningful impact. Humans reliably remember about 3 things in the moment, if they’re focused/aware/working on it.
Thus, if you really want to implement these valuable listening tips, bookmark this page and “Reading Minds” available to reference, and debrief/review. In a non-practice listening situation, you may want to come back to these pages to check yourself. It’s also helpful if you ask the receiver how they felt afterwards, referencing the below directly.
|Advising||“I think you should . . .” “I wish you would . . .”
“Why don’t you . . .” “The best thing to do is . . .”
“Well go over and tell him to stop hitting you.”
|Wondering / Listening|
|One upping||“That’s nothing; wait’ll you hear what happened to me!”||Empathic shares / Listening|
|Educating||“This could turn in a very positive experience for you if you just . . .”
“Let me just show you how to do it.” (not a request where open to a no)
“Look, that’s the way he is; think about it; you know that, too.”
|Offering / Listening|
|Consoling||“It wasn’t your fault; you did the best you could.”
“Why would anyone do that to you?”
“Well, you have plenty of other friends, don’t let it bother you.”
“You’re a beautiful / handsome / strong girl (boy), no matter what she said.”
“Well look, in the end you don’t want to be friends with someone like that anyway.”
“Oh well, come on over here and sit by me and we’ll color together.”
“Tomorrow’s a new day, so there’s no sense worrying about it.”
|Story-telling||“That reminds me of the time . . .”
“I know what you mean, it’s just like when . . .”
|Empathic shares / Listening|
|Shutting down||“Cheer up. Don’t feel so bad.”
“On the bright side, you still have . . .”
“It’s time for a snack, that’ll cheer you up.”
“Later, when you get older, you’ll understand.”
|Sympathizing||“Oh, you poor thing . . .”
“That’s horrible that they did that to you.”
|Validate / Listening|
|Interrogating||“When did this happen?”
“Who was it?”
“What did you do to make him do that?”
“Why did you say that?”
“Why do you feel that way?”
|Honest ?’s / Listening|
|Explaining / Justify||“I would have called but . . .”||Self-forgiveness / Listen|
|Correcting||“That’s not how it happened.”
“You mean last week.”
|Honor their story/truth // Listening|
|Evaluation / judging||“Weird.” “Crazy!” “Strange.” “Stupid.” “Fool, idiot, jerk”
“What were they/you thinking?!” “That’s outrageous!”
“Well, it’s not the end of the world after all…”
“Oh, and I suppose it’ll kill you to sit next to your sister.”
|Curiosity / Listening|
|Exploring / Listening|