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Honing Communication Techniques

Structured communication techniques like NVC tend to fail unless we have a reason that feels like life-and-death to apply them.

That's one of the things I loved about learning communication skills working in juvie. There were major consequences for doing it wrong. That's why I so love and resonate with the book Never Split the Difference--it's about high-stakes negotiation, where lives hang in the balance--hostage negotiation.

The reason we deviate from good communication is ALWAYS emotion. It's emotion that MUST express, it literally cannot not.

So it's helpful to have a situation that feels high-stakes, like life and death, to help us hone these communication techniques and know we can be in the fire without burning up. The high-stakes create a larger emotional response that consumes the reactivity that would otherwise be coming out sideways within the conversation, wrecking our ability to apply the techniques cleanly and carefully.

This is why I've gone to my wits' ends many times--the high stakes situation of being at the absolute end of my rope can clarify my ability to communicate.

I stay in a situation until my very SURVIVAL depends upon me carefully applying my techniques to extract myself. I create survival situations because survival consumes my reactivity and allows me to be clearer in the moment. I use reactivity to my presence in the circumstance as the outlet for my reactive energy so I'm no longer reactive to the circumstance itself.

Remember that energy (which emotions are made of) cannot be created or destroyed, it must be channeled somewhere, it must be used. If you're creating high-stakes, ends-of-your-wits situations and don't know why, consider this.

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