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What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication

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For yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater and her husband, mediator Ike K. Lasater, language is a spiritual practice based on giving and receiving with compassion. In What We Say Matters, they offer new and nurturing ways of communicating. Long-term students of yoga and Buddhism, the authors here blend the yoga principle of satya (truth) and the Buddhist precept of right spee For yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater and her husband, mediator Ike K. Lasater, language is a spiritual practice based on giving and receiving with compassion. In What We Say Matters, they offer new and nurturing ways of communicating. Long-term students of yoga and Buddhism, the authors here blend the yoga principle of satya (truth) and the Buddhist precept of right speech with Marshall Rosenberg's groundbreaking techniques of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in a fresh formula for promoting peace at home, at work, and in the world. The authors offer practical exercises to help readers in any field learn to diffuse anger; make requests rather than demands or assign blame; understand the difference between feelings and needs; recognize how they strategize to get needs met; choose connection over conflict; and extend empathy to themselves and others.


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For yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater and her husband, mediator Ike K. Lasater, language is a spiritual practice based on giving and receiving with compassion. In What We Say Matters, they offer new and nurturing ways of communicating. Long-term students of yoga and Buddhism, the authors here blend the yoga principle of satya (truth) and the Buddhist precept of right spee For yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater and her husband, mediator Ike K. Lasater, language is a spiritual practice based on giving and receiving with compassion. In What We Say Matters, they offer new and nurturing ways of communicating. Long-term students of yoga and Buddhism, the authors here blend the yoga principle of satya (truth) and the Buddhist precept of right speech with Marshall Rosenberg's groundbreaking techniques of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in a fresh formula for promoting peace at home, at work, and in the world. The authors offer practical exercises to help readers in any field learn to diffuse anger; make requests rather than demands or assign blame; understand the difference between feelings and needs; recognize how they strategize to get needs met; choose connection over conflict; and extend empathy to themselves and others.

30 review for What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication

  1. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Non violent communication sounded like something I could do with reading since in the past much of my communication has been laced with angst or upset, and on the whole I found this book a rewarding and engaging read. However I did have a few nitpicks, such as, like a previous reviewer mentioned, some of the phrasing that is used; "seduce me with your needs" just sounds like something I wouldn't be able to say to anyone whilst keeping a straight face. I did like the exercises at the end of each Non violent communication sounded like something I could do with reading since in the past much of my communication has been laced with angst or upset, and on the whole I found this book a rewarding and engaging read. However I did have a few nitpicks, such as, like a previous reviewer mentioned, some of the phrasing that is used; "seduce me with your needs" just sounds like something I wouldn't be able to say to anyone whilst keeping a straight face. I did like the exercises at the end of each chapter and thought that they were a great way to interact with the information I had just learned, either alone or with another or others. The four components of non violent communication and the four communication choices were both sections that I will reread again and again and hope that they become ingrained in me, as well as the focus on giving empathy, both to yourself and others. To be honest I think I would definitely benefit from some self empathy as well as learning to listen to myself. I'd say overall that this book has made a good impression on me considering I wrote eighteen pages of notes from it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    This book was difficult for me—I struggled with feeling that if everyone implemented the practices the authors describe, the world would be SO MUCH BETTER and feeling embarrassed by how awkward some of the phrasing they suggest is ("duck index"? "seduce me with your needs"?). I can see this approach working far better in my personal relationships than in my professional ones, where the level of explanation I feel I would need to give not to feel ridiculous would far exceed the bounds of what's a This book was difficult for me—I struggled with feeling that if everyone implemented the practices the authors describe, the world would be SO MUCH BETTER and feeling embarrassed by how awkward some of the phrasing they suggest is ("duck index"? "seduce me with your needs"?). I can see this approach working far better in my personal relationships than in my professional ones, where the level of explanation I feel I would need to give not to feel ridiculous would far exceed the bounds of what's appropriate. That said: I suspect I'll end up rereading this. The principles of nonviolent communication, and particularly of needs assessment (both your and others'), seem at their core to be incredibly valuable. I think I'll need a few more passes through the text to filter out some of what made me feel so awkward, and another few to deal with whether the language or the actual intention is what's causing that awkwardness, but eventually I can see this making a difference in how I communicate.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Di Cinney

    Good tools Easy reading. The authors provide good tools that are logical and applicable. Many good examples of different tools, scenarios and they also give different practice situations for homework.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vern Stevens

    I found some interesting material and useful ideas in this book, but there were so many references to Marshall Rosenberg that I felt I should just have read his book instead.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Not as thorough as Marshall Rosenberg's "Nonviolent Communication" nevertheless this book gives another perspective and some good exercises for practicing NVC and NVC thinking. Not as thorough as Marshall Rosenberg's "Nonviolent Communication" nevertheless this book gives another perspective and some good exercises for practicing NVC and NVC thinking.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Renáta-Adrienn

    "All criticism is the tragic expression of unmet needs." "All criticism is the tragic expression of unmet needs."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Sullivan

    Better introduction to Nonviolent Communication than Marshall Rosenberg's original book, in my view, as it addresses some common pitfalls that seem to emerge from MBR's explanation of the principles. Better introduction to Nonviolent Communication than Marshall Rosenberg's original book, in my view, as it addresses some common pitfalls that seem to emerge from MBR's explanation of the principles.

  8. 5 out of 5

    LouLou

    Read review in its entirety at http://www.compassbookratings.com/rev... Husband and wife, Ike and Judith Lancaster, incite deeper meaning into the familiar saying: “Think before you speak”, with their composition, What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication. Arranged into nine chapters, Judith and Ike introduce the concept of Nonviolent Communication (sometimes referred to as NVC), and then expound upon the principles and how to use them within our different interactions with family, Read review in its entirety at http://www.compassbookratings.com/rev... Husband and wife, Ike and Judith Lancaster, incite deeper meaning into the familiar saying: “Think before you speak”, with their composition, What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication. Arranged into nine chapters, Judith and Ike introduce the concept of Nonviolent Communication (sometimes referred to as NVC), and then expound upon the principles and how to use them within our different interactions with family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. At the completion of every chapter is a concise overview with tasks to help you implement the teachings. Students of Marshall Rosenburg, the creator of Nonviolent Communication, both Ike and Judith narrate their application of the module, their successes, and at times their laughable conundrums. Initially, the reading may come across as artificial or too utopian, and the language technical, but as you delve further into the book you may find that as the authors share their personal feelings and experiences, the mind becomes accustomed to the language and the prior perceived rigidness will take a back seat. Observers of the yoga sutras and Buddhism, the authors use the functional practice of NVC and combine it with the spiritual methods of “right speech” or satya, meaning truth. Although the reader does not need to be a practitioner of yoga or Buddhism, some familiarity with the practices would be beneficial to help the reader be more open-minded to the concepts taught. The core concept of the book is to create introspection within yourself, so even if you find that “right speech” isn't right for you, or find bits and pieces to implement in your own life, it is all about the underlying intention – being connected with ourselves first and then with others.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary-lou

    My yoga classes this term were based around Patanjali's sutra 1:33 (Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy,compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.--Prabhavananda and Isherwood ) I wanted to look at this sutra broadly as being about relationships and that the relationships we have depend on a mix between compassion and assertiveness. I decided that this book would be a good guide for that. I had previousl My yoga classes this term were based around Patanjali's sutra 1:33 (Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy,compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.--Prabhavananda and Isherwood ) I wanted to look at this sutra broadly as being about relationships and that the relationships we have depend on a mix between compassion and assertiveness. I decided that this book would be a good guide for that. I had previously read Marshall Rosenberg's book on non violent communication and liked the way JHLasater was combining NVC with yoga. I found the book helpful to give homework tasks for students and myself in relation to learning what we really wanted and then expressing it in a compassionate way. I don't think the book would be as interesting to someone who was not already familiar with yoga and I can't imagine taking on the NVC mode of communication as my habitual way of communicating but I can see its usefulness ( if I could just remember to use it when I need it ).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    As a human resources professional, struggling with workplace communications and interpersonal differences, I chose to read this for some insights and tangible guidance. Found this to be a quick, digestible, and practical read. Sort of glossed over (glazed over at?) the bits referring to yoga and "spirituality", but was able to draw meaningful connections between the authors' messages and applicability to life, both personal and professional. Suggested exercises at the end of each chapter render As a human resources professional, struggling with workplace communications and interpersonal differences, I chose to read this for some insights and tangible guidance. Found this to be a quick, digestible, and practical read. Sort of glossed over (glazed over at?) the bits referring to yoga and "spirituality", but was able to draw meaningful connections between the authors' messages and applicability to life, both personal and professional. Suggested exercises at the end of each chapter render this a truly useful guide for helping to put the theory into daily practice.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paiman Chen

    The next time you’re in a big, chaotic group environment, such as a conference, try practicing silent self-empathy. Simply write down how you feel and which of your needs are not being met. Even if you don’t speak up about these unfulfilled needs, this practice of silent self-empathy will create a shift in you – and in the group as a whole.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aliesha

    As with many books on communication, the scripts sound awkward and stilted BUT for learning to think about anger and frustration as unmet needs, and for learning how to identify those needs, this book was great.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Peter Green

    This book made a huge difference in how I think about others and hence how I communicate with them. My kids now use the patterns in the book to resolve conflicts. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Holly Beavers

    It's a good short book, and a little text book-y It's a good short book, and a little text book-y

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Good book despite the off-putting title! Picked this up on my counsellor's recommendation when I was having a hard time with a job that clashed with my personality. Good book despite the off-putting title! Picked this up on my counsellor's recommendation when I was having a hard time with a job that clashed with my personality.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    This book is one of reference for me which I find myself referring back to again and again. The way it is written and the examples provided really bring-home the principles which may feel foreign to those of us who, 'have always had our way of doing things.' Whether it's being angry with a partner when they are late coming home from work, or suffering from anxiety and the fight to parcel through which thoughts are truth and farce. This book is a must for anyone who is tired of the way we all do This book is one of reference for me which I find myself referring back to again and again. The way it is written and the examples provided really bring-home the principles which may feel foreign to those of us who, 'have always had our way of doing things.' Whether it's being angry with a partner when they are late coming home from work, or suffering from anxiety and the fight to parcel through which thoughts are truth and farce. This book is a must for anyone who is tired of the way we all do things and wants a refreshing take on the way we interact with one another and ourselves.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Strawberry

    I loved hearing both authors discuss their experience. I felt so enlightened after reading this book. I love all of the real-life examples and how down to earth the book is!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Ridgeway

    I was hoping for more specific languaging in different situations. Great practice, though.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carina

    Excellent book on practicing NVC, with some focus on connection with spiritual practice of Buddhism and Yoga.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erin Matson

    While there are concepts in here I will circle back to with gratitude, I'm a stickler for poor editing. Three noticeable errors is too much. I also worry about the utility of this method toward abusive or potentially violent people. The only example given of the concepts in a moment of potential violence concerned a man defusing a situation -- this doesn't calm my worry. While there are concepts in here I will circle back to with gratitude, I'm a stickler for poor editing. Three noticeable errors is too much. I also worry about the utility of this method toward abusive or potentially violent people. The only example given of the concepts in a moment of potential violence concerned a man defusing a situation -- this doesn't calm my worry.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This is a life long journey for some people. As with everything in your life this starts with the intention you set within yourself. Genuine heartfelt nonviolent communication is difficult but with practice and patience with yourself it will evolve. Like anything else it's a journey. Love and peace to anyone who reads this and practices this in their daily life. If everyone did the world would be a different place. This is a life long journey for some people. As with everything in your life this starts with the intention you set within yourself. Genuine heartfelt nonviolent communication is difficult but with practice and patience with yourself it will evolve. Like anything else it's a journey. Love and peace to anyone who reads this and practices this in their daily life. If everyone did the world would be a different place.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    This is one good way to look at non-violent communication. I remember it being a smidge too spiritual for my needs, but the practical advice is very solid. Though it's hard to put into practice when the world just won't cooperate with you. Still, though, even a quick read of it will improve your communication and open up your eyes to some things we all do that put our conversational partner on the defensive. Though I've not tried all the practice tips, I've still found it very useful. This is one good way to look at non-violent communication. I remember it being a smidge too spiritual for my needs, but the practical advice is very solid. Though it's hard to put into practice when the world just won't cooperate with you. Still, though, even a quick read of it will improve your communication and open up your eyes to some things we all do that put our conversational partner on the defensive. Though I've not tried all the practice tips, I've still found it very useful.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

    This book is much more readable than Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. It gives just enough info about the process of NVC without getting too technical or artificial sounding. And it's extremely practical, both authors give situations such as work or writing emails where practicing NVC probably is the most difficult. This book is much more readable than Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. It gives just enough info about the process of NVC without getting too technical or artificial sounding. And it's extremely practical, both authors give situations such as work or writing emails where practicing NVC probably is the most difficult.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    This may not be as informative, meditative, and soothing as Living Your Yoga, but it's definitely worth reading. Insightful. Made me realize I know very little about psychology, but there are still many methods to remain aware of our words and thoughts. This may not be as informative, meditative, and soothing as Living Your Yoga, but it's definitely worth reading. Insightful. Made me realize I know very little about psychology, but there are still many methods to remain aware of our words and thoughts.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book discusses and outlines a process for nonviolent communicaton. At it's worst it feels like a stiff formula for communication, but at its best it combines principles from Eastern thought (truthfulness and nonharming) in useful ways toward a more empathetic approach to oneself and others. This book discusses and outlines a process for nonviolent communicaton. At it's worst it feels like a stiff formula for communication, but at its best it combines principles from Eastern thought (truthfulness and nonharming) in useful ways toward a more empathetic approach to oneself and others.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Audra

    Great tidbits, but completely unrealistic conversations I believe. I love the most important message, which is to think in terms of feelings and needs. Some of the examples seemed that they would not be taken well by the other person, but I guess that's just me. Great tidbits, but completely unrealistic conversations I believe. I love the most important message, which is to think in terms of feelings and needs. Some of the examples seemed that they would not be taken well by the other person, but I guess that's just me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maren Showkeir

    The frame of recognizing emotion, needs and requests vs demands was extremely useful. The emphasis on self-awareness and empathy is invaluable if you are trying to communicate for understanding and connection.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Roque

    Transformed the way I speak to myself and other people. Taught me to give myself more tenderness, to treasure the spoken voices in my head and in my heart. Taught me to prioritize what I "need." So grateful for this book. Transformed the way I speak to myself and other people. Taught me to give myself more tenderness, to treasure the spoken voices in my head and in my heart. Taught me to prioritize what I "need." So grateful for this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Practical tools for talking - I like the exploration of needs in addition to feelings.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Todd Mayville

    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/0... http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/0...

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