Monday, March 9, 2009

How’s Your Listening?

In Nonviolent Communication they advocate “Empathic Listening.” What is that? It is a “compassionate connection with what others are presently experiencing. It requires one of the most precious gifts we can give to another and that is our full presence. It is our postponing these: giving advice, reassurance, corrections, explanations, or searching for solutions until the other person confirms that what was communicated has been accurately and compassionately received.”

These examples below are some common responses that PREVENT us from being present and connecting empathically with another:

Advising: “I think you should_____”, “How come you didn’t____?”
One-upping: “That’s nothing; wait until you hear what happened to me.”
Educating: “This could turn into a very positive experience for you if you just ______.”
Consoling: “It wasn’t your fault; you did the best you could.”
Storytelling: “That reminds me of the time______.”
Shutting down: “Cheer up. Don’t feel so bad.”
Sympathizing: “Oh, you poor thing_____.”
Interrogating: “When did this begin”?
Explaining: “I would have called but ______.”
Correcting: “That’s not how it happened.”

All of these responses take us away from being “with” the person in what they are experiencing. Hearing what’s “alive in them.”

If you want to connect to someone after they have expressed something, NVC advises that we ask these questions “Are you feeling _______? Because you are needing _______?”
And this only after the other person has fully expressed themselves and what happened for them. Otherwise they may feel rushed or that we are in a hurry to be free or to fix their problem.

For more on Nonviolent Communication visit these

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