I've played Play to Evolve with my teenage sons and in adult small groups with great results. The game provides a supportive environment to learn how to clearly express emotions, needs and empathy and each time I've played, participants increased their ability to understand and communicate their needs and the needs of others. I also experienced that the realistic scenarios and interactions in Play to Evolve helped transfer the learning and practice to my day-to-day life.
First, I would like to thank Scott for the opportunity to take part in this course. Over the years, I had come to see myself as a good communicator. This class showed that I had a lot to learn. After an intense day of exercises, discussions and lecture, I picked up more about communication than I had in my adult life. These days, when I use these communication techniques at work and in personal interactions, I am better able to listen and be listened to. When I choose not to employ these methods, communications feel more labored and less productive. My days are spent working with vendors and engineers, dealing with their expectations and my own. These dynamic interactions can become heated due to the amount of money that is at stake. When I use these tools to deal with them, the negotiations go smoothly and people typically get most if not all of what they want. My personal life is very up and down at times. It has helped me deal with family and loved ones in a way that they are heard and understood. It also gives me a method of having them understand me better. Again, when I fail to use the techniques, discussions turn into bickering which turns into a fight. This class and the time you'll spend are well worth it. ~ Randy Carnes
I attended Scott's "Empowering Your Communication" class as a refresher for the Non-Violent Communication training I received several years ago. The session was informative and Scott easily adapted to the group's needs. I will definitely recommend it to friends and colleagues.
Since I was introduced to NVC (Nonviolent Communication), it has been effective in directing potentially difficult conversations into more collaborative and productive conversations. I'm embarrassed sometimes that I don't use it as often as I could. When I recognize a missed opportunity, I can reflect on how to rework my role in a conversation while using NVC as my frame. I've talked about NVC in my workplace and online, and people are interested. The workshop was great, and has influenced my thinking and awareness. What was most rewarding about Saturday was hearing the experiences and opportunities in other people's lives. NVC is all about relating in a healthy and honest way - as we improve how we relate with each other so will the quality of our relationships also improve.
Cannot say how much this stuff has improved my life, Scotter. I have a lot of difficulty keeping in the NVC 'mode' because so much of my day to day life is based off of meetings with customers that more than anything else feel contentious.
I often use NVC with customers and they love the forthrightness, the knowledge that they're being heard, and the fact that they can bring up topics that would often result in knee-jerk defensiveness from many of the other solution providers.
When I use NVC in my work environment, I produce more and better work because I'm able to hear things that people don't exactly say and come to helpful conclusions and action items instead of spending time talking past each other.
It is also disarming to customers who come to meetings seemingly desiring to bring up topics and talk in a way that might encourage defensiveness and conflict; it gives me a strategic leg up when I am seemingly unflappable and am able to in a neutral, nonjudgmental, magnanimous fashion come to conclusions about what the customer is trying to say.
In my personal life, because of the way I was brought up (in my home environment as a child, language was used to control: shame, humiliate, lower self-worth. Conversation and interaction were vehicles to tunnel a meta-conversation that was a power struggle of individuation vs. Control, a "take that!" mechanic to see who could get the last word) I often enter into conversation thinking of it as a contest with "winners" and "losers" where something is at stake, where something will be gained or lost.
When I use NVC in my personal life, I can examine the feelings behind the words that I want to say and decide if they are coming from a positive or a negative place; it can act as a gatekeeper, if you will to make sure that I am going to say something that expresses my rich inner world and comes from a positive, productive place so that my real adult needs can be met and not the needs of my childhood defense and survival mechanisms.
On the other side of the coin, I can also analyze what other people say; I can try to descry where it's coming from; is it coming from a place of hurt? Is it coming from a need to feel superior? When I do this, its so very difficult for a conversation to escalate into angry words. It makes the seas smooth and it makes stormy seas easier to navigate because your mental hands are fixed on the rudder; you're concentrating on where you want to go instead of letting the sea toss you around where it will.
Yes, like anything worth reaching for, it's a struggle but it is a worthwhile one. I am sometimes almost moved to tears (and have to turn my head away so they other person cannot see my eyes moisten!) whenever I feel that jolt of happiness that we all feel when we think we have been heard and understood, and the same thing happens when I feel that I've penetrated the miasma of negative emotion that sometimes surrounds and subsumes someone's words and real emotions and feel connectedness.
It is something so incredibly special to see someone's face soften when they realize that you have the ability to weather the storm of raw emotion and see at least to some degree the motivation behind the words that they say, when you can understand the message that's been hidden in the medium. Sometimes it is almost like the way that people speak is a cipher and NVC is the key.
I would say that what has become more automatic is the knowledge that I can use NVC in any particular situation to improve an encounter's outcome, to make it productive for everyone involved. Because of the stuff that I said in the first paragraph (so far up there! lol!), I have a naturally competitive spirit; it's easy for me to get my Irish up when I enter critical conversations or situations. That still happens, and it might always, but now I have a small companion voice in my head that reminds me to slow down and pay attention.
Small steps over a long period of time (was it 2010 I first came to your workshops?) but you know, that two years would have passed anyway; and where would I be now if I'd never tried?
I'm so glad I signed up for this workshop. First, it prompted me to read the book which I'd been meaning to do for some time but never got around to. And second, reviewing the content in an open, supportive forum with like-minded individuals, under the supervision and guidance of our fearless leader, Scott, really brought to life the principles and perspectives of NVC in a way I could not have achieved from a solo read of the book. While I am nowhere near an expert in NVC, I'm noticing the effects and patterns of "violent communication" in my personal and professional life and have begun to discover the power of empathy as a "first instinct" when it comes to what would have historically been an otherwise tense and fruitless argument. All of this is a long-winded way of saying: attend a workshop!
Not at all what I expected. The structure was so much more free-flow than I prepared myself for. And I personally think that the result of that was yes, at times, sidetracked conversations but also unrehearsed, relevant material for the analyzing and applicability of non-violent communication techniques. A lot of intimacy was shared that Saturday. The more uncomfortable it got, the better we processed the notion of offering our needs and listening to others' simultaneously. Not sure I'll ever quite be the same, in the sense that I now know better than to judge anything I don't agree with, or to withdraw from fully participating in a genuine manner. Vulnerability is the hardest thing in this life for me. Sure, the book was great. But the class about the book's lessons, and the involvement of our group is what allowed me to digest ideas like fairness and empathy. There is no teaching substitute for experiential learning. Thank you for offering yourself up for us.
My wife and I got a lot out of the workshop. It really enhanced what we learned from the book. NVC does not solve all of my communication "issues", but we are convinced that if we focus on these techniques where we can, they will improve our communication with each other, with other people, and even with our selves. I am really glad I made this choice, it was time very well spent. I wish we'd had even more time! Thanks, Scott, for sharing your self, your knowledge, and your time with us.
this was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend the day. intense & somewhat emotionally exhausting, but extremely worth it imho. much appreciation to everyone that came & opened up to us. i am moved by the bravery, gentleness & honesty of this group. i feel like i have improved tools for becoming a better listener. thank you to our hosts Tom & Sheri for sharing their home special gratitude to Scott for facilitating this workshop, offering a variety of thought provoking exercises & keeping it interesting. my daughter called the experience "reflective."
I have been working actively on improving my communication since my divorce a year ago. This class was a real boost to improving my communication with my daughters, friends, and the rest of humanity. Thanks for coming up to Dallas to teach the class, Scott.
Dr. Cynthia Schade
Communication skills that I have been introduced to thru Scott Swain are helping me transform my business from a resentful, high-turnover office to one where people are having fun and working together on projects. It has given us a way to talk to each other that helps to keep people from becoming defensive and resentful.
In using it with my boyfriend I am finding I have more patience with our different communication styles even though I still want to lop his head off every once in awhile (he has not been practicing the non-violent way of communication). I find myself thinking about conversations before I have them or react to them, which gives me greater peace of mind.
It was interesting to me that after I had been introduced to Non-violent Communication thru Scott, I found out that some of my friends that I most enjoy having conversations with were also students of Non-violent Communication in other cities. Small world among the consciously speaking! I am far from being able to apply it in every situation but the more I practice the better my relationships and the more type of relationships I get to have.
Learning about Non-Violent Communication from Scott has helped me become more aware of how I speak and interact with others. As a teacher, the students and I have benefited from using this approach to communication. When students come to me with a problem, I try to incorporate NVC by listening empathically, identifying feelings, and determining needs. As a result, students feel respected and valued, and you can almost see the tension dissipate. Encouraging students to use NVC when having conflicts has allowed us to settle differences calmly and peacefully, without blame. NVC is a technique that helps us listen to each other in a way that many people wish to be heard.
When I first met Scott, I was inspired by the way he communicated with and interacted with everyone around him, and my personal interactions with him conveyed a depth of understanding and connection I'd found only rarely in my life up to that point. Learning NVC with Scott (I've been in three of his work groups already) has given me the ability to interact with others in a more genuine and open way, and it's added greater connection and beauty to even the simplest interactions in my life.
I can't recommend working with Scott highly enough. His comprehension of NVC and his ability to impart this knowledge and understanding through both his everyday actions and the way he guides his work groups are simply incredible. Scott doesn't just teach NVC; he lives it.
NVC gave me tools to improve my communication and process information in a new way. Scotter was an awesome ;) guide on the journey.
Peter James Craig
When I arrived at the first meeting, I immediately felt connected to the open, safe space he provided at his place. I really enjoyed practicing NVC with a group of like-minded folks, who most now are my friends! The way Scott taught NVC (having previous experience with it) was simple, direct, fun, and applicable. We focused consistently on practice in 1 on 1 or group setting so that now NVC is a part of me. Observe what's happening, connect your feelings or another's to what is going on, express your needs or facilitate others doing so, and create a positive request for a new way! Scott is a wonderful guy, the workshop is fun and helpful, and you'll use NVC wherever you go!
Thanks for helping me with "NVC goggles". I am seeing the world more clearly thru lenses of empathy and compassion. It's so great to start liberating yourself and the way you view others from the moral judge and persecutor.
I have known all these practices in bits and pieces I have collected over years of therapy meditation and self awareness. But to have it in one comprehensive plan is making it possible to apply.
I feel like for the first time ever....when I see someone "angry" I don't feel like I need to protect myself from that anger or tell the person to "not be angry". I can see the complete despair that is beneath anger.
I have seen Anon Name #1 in a totally different light after the years I labelled him as "abusive". How limiting that was for both of us!
I saw Anon Name #2 yesterday and was able to turn some anger that was coming out toward me into a recognition of how much pain was there in him. I told him I realized I hadn't listened to him properly for years. I reached him. He heard me. His whole body softened. His clenched fist released as I held his hand. We understood each other. That moment moved a mountain.
What a gift. Thank you.
When I was initiated and learned my first lesson of tantra meditation, I took an oath of non violence. NVC resonated with me immediately like my spiritual path did. The core of my path/practice is: self awareness, universal benevolence, and non violence. To now have a practice that is separate from spirituality (read: the dogma that sometimes exists in spirituality) but also is in line with that practice - Magnifique!
Jon De Montreville
For me NVC with Scott was an amazing breakthrough in communication as well as an eye opening view of the unconditional love Scott has for so many. I found myself surrounded by peers and strangers alike, all ready to live and learn from the obvious skills Scott portrays on a regular basis. As a true mentor I find myself looking to him for guidance and friendship, all and all I find him to be one of the most selfless people I know and a highly skilled communicator. Thanks Scotter for providing a place for me to learn how to both Talk and Listen!
When I first heard about NVC, I was skeptical, however coming from a relationship where the communication was destructive, I decided to give it a shot. During the sessions, I learned a lot through others, and I also learned that although my intentions were good, the way I went about communicating was not constructive. I learned to be honest with my feelings and how to express those. From a person who can be quite blunt, it really helped me face a mirror and understand that there was a disconnect between what I felt and what I said. It was an incredibly valuable experience that has equipped me with the tools to have the healthy relationship and communication I have with my partner. I highly recommend NVC!
I participated in Scotter's NVC class last year (January-March 2010) and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in communicating with anyone else. Much of the information was intuitive to me, but I still got a lot out of fine tuning my awareness during communication. I also really enjoyed being a part of a community of people who are in different places in developing their communication abilities and experiencing the warmth and comfort to know there are a lot of people interested in improving and bettering how they relate with the world and themselves! Thanks for bringing us together Scotter!
You're one of the biggest proponents of open, honest communication that I know. And an amazingly respectful person, in every way that I've seen. And experienced in multiple types of relationships. And a genuinely good guy. :)