Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I say this to someone who doesn’t practice NVC?” In preparing for workshops on this topic around the US this spring, CCC’s lead trainer Dian Killian has been thinking about this topic a lot. In our practice of NVC, we want to listen and be heard. The goal is connection. While keeping the basic “road map” in mind of observations, feelings, needs and requests, we want to choose words that the person we’re speaking with can easily understand and relate to.
One first step in “naturalizing” NVC is simply leaving out the words “feeling” and “needing.” Rather than following the classical model, we can simply ask, “So are you concerned and want some reassurance?” If you look at this example, we also added the words, “so” and “some.” Adding connecting words (“so,” “ok,” “alright” etc) and qualifiers of this kind—such as “little,” “some,” “really” or “a bit” (as in, “feeling a bit sad” or “really happy”) can also help you make “streetify” empathy guesses.
There are other ways to make your NVC practice sound colloquial, such as coming up with slang or idiomatic expressions for feelings and needs (getting “on the same page” for example to address the need for “shared reality” or “buzzed” for feeling energized or excited). Yet what really deepens your practice is simply silently guessing feelings and needs (yours and others) and then simply opening your mouth and trusting what will come out is both authentic and connecting!