Would you like...
* to feel the joy of being heard, known, and understood?
* to have some ease in approaching challenging conversations?
* fulfilling connections in reciprocal relationships?
* to develop connection skills from the comfort of your home/office?
Join us for an online 10-week series on Conversational Connection: Practical Skills for Communicating Compassionately, based on Nonviolent Communication (NVC) along with concepts from Authentic Relating. First session FREE - attend without commitment on Thu Feb 22.
Dates (2024): Thu 2/22, 2/29, 3/7, (skip 3/14), 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/18, 4/25, 5/2 (10 weeks)
Times: 9 AM to 10:30 PM Pacific, 11 AM to 12:30 PM Central, 12 PM to 1:30 PM Eastern (Europe 6 PM CET)
Optional: 30 minutes unstructured Question & Answer
Location: Zoom link provided with registration.
Zoom main room video recorded and available to registered participants through members-only webpage (breakout rooms are not recorded).
FAQ: “Why 10 weeks?”
Answer: Because that’s the average time to make a new habit.
In this 10-week online series, you will learn practical skills for connection through Nonviolent Communication. Beginning with simple scenarios that build on each other, you will end up with the ability to facilitate a conversational flow of connection, weaving between self-empathy, empathic listening and compassionate honest expression. The repeating structure of the sessions start with a lecture supported by a PowerPoint presentation, a demonstration of the process being taught, breakout group practices, followed by a harvesting debrief of the breakout practices.
You will also be invited to 30 minute practice buddy sessions a week for additional practice outside of the main facilitated Zoom session.
- "I came to Conversational Connection not knowing what to expect: perhaps that I would learn skills to communicate more effectively, especially when it came to disagreements or fraught situations. What I came away with was a transformed sense of how I relate to myself and others through the lens of observations, feelings, needs, and requests; and true empathy for myself and others. I thought this training would be helpful at work—it is, but it's so much more than that... the presentations coupled with 1:1 practice sessions with other participants made the work tangible in every facet of my life. I learned as much from members of my cohort as I did from James and come away with gratitude for the opportunity to have started this exploration of the world of nonviolent communication with these wonderful people. Now I have working knowledge of the basics and an extensive reading list to learn more. Thank you!" —Leah Hancock, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing at a New England independent school
- "My experience in James Prieto's comprehensive introductory NVC course far surpassed my expectations. As a newcomer to NVC, I especially appreciated the design of his class -- combining instruction and a lot of practice -- to help me safely find my footing as I learn new skills and habits. The often challenging process of acquiring these new communication skills was broken down into highly organized micro-steps each week, in a way that felt "natural" -- each week's lesson built upon the knowledge and skills learned in previous sessions. The many practice sessions were essential learning pieces during this course, and James and Leticia facilitated an online classroom environment where everyone seemed to feel supported and open enough to both express their authentic selves and to "mess up" as it were -- to learn by doing about what is -- and isn't -- empathic communication. It's transformational work, but expertly broken down into pragmatic steps that were completely approachable to this beginner (me!). I also appreciated James's abilities to guide the class dynamic in a consistently productive and positive way, to keep the class task-focused and time-aware, and to remain flexible and curious about questions and feedback. Lastly, James's Heart-Canvas tool is one of the most powerful things I accessed in this course -- it was amazing to be able to reference a visual-spatial illustration of the complex worlds of feelings, needs, values, and states of emotional intensity. It really does help me "map out" naming the key elements of any NVC interaction. The foundation of my trust in James as my introductory NVC instructor is that he seems to come from a place of having walked the walk in his own life -- having already been through a process of changing the quality of his connections with others by learning how to put empathy (and self-empathy and honesty) into everyday action. I am at the very beginning of learning to communicate effectively in this way, but I feel like I'm on the right track having taken James's course." Sarah Johnson
- “The Conversational Connection series was a life changing introduction to Non-Violent Communication for both me and my wife. We had worked with therapists for years to improve our communication and lower tension. While this work had produced a great deal of improvement, NVC, with its overriding focus on connection, has been a breakthrough. James Prieto has developed a great way to introduce this material. He taught us new, usable skills right away and things expanded from there. It was a therapist that directed us to James and I am so grateful she did!” Chris Henry
- Click here for more Testimonials
What past participants say to someone considering signing up -- that they know now, but didn't know when signing up?
- It's a great opportunity to get to know new people
- Sign up. There will be things you'll learn that you'd never known you didn't know, not only about yourself but of others, especially about connecting and having successful conversations regarding difficult topics.
- It's a steep learning curve! It's learning a new language that is extremely challenging and has its ups and downs but is fascinating and the people make it so special.
- The class was really effective--James is super flexible and supportive--that there is a buddy schedule associated--James is a great teacher in the sense that he takes every opportunity to model what NVC looks like. Beyond the teaching of the various concepts, he brings to life NVC between participants discussion and while he's answering every participant's question. Yet he does it in a subtle way every time
- The practice is powerful. This work is hard on your own. Learning from someone like James clarifies so much about the process.
I grew up in a highly competitive and violent environment. As I got older, I used my skills, smarts and education to argue and fight for what I wanted. To make things worse, I got triggered often, taking me into reactions that I later regretted. I reached a point in my life and career where my relationships stopped working.
After years of personal growth work, and realizing I was challenged in how I communicated, I discovered Nonviolent Communication (NVC). I’ve been practicing NVC since 2002, and have been facilitating NVC since 2005. I received my CNVC trainer certification in 2014, which took about 3 years to complete. I received over 100 days training with experienced teachers Marshall Rosenberg, Mary Mackenzie, Robert Gonzales, Jim & Jori Manske, and others as part of my growth journey. NVC is my passion and way of life. Now, I’m dedicated full time to contributing to a more compassionate and sustainable world.
My Learning/Facilitation Style
My active area of research relates to NVC and nature-based depth psychology as described by Bill Plotkin’s book titled “Wild Mind.” I created the “Heart-Canvas” as a tool for self-empathy. I also published a book on NVC Spirituality in 2010 titled “The Joy of Compassionate Connecting.”
What I’ve noticed about my learning style is that it follows more of a spiral than a linear process. That means that I find value in trying and experiencing a variety of things, integrating them into my daily practice over time. This includes training with a variety of NVC trainers and other modalities, as everyone seems to provide a unique perspective of our collective "language of life.”
Recognizing that this spiral is common to the learning styles of many others, I find it helpful to define a high-level outline for my classes, let participants try (and sometimes stumble through) a high-level process, and then spend time going deeper into the experience of each step.
For instance, I learned about “Zero Step” and “Layers of Empathy” 10 years ago from Jim & Jori Manske. As I look back at what they were teaching at the time, I now have a deeper appreciation and respect for the gift of those teachings. I’ve internalized much of what I’ve learned through years of practice.
Participants seem to enjoy the balance between structure and experiential learning.
Unfortunately, most of us have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand, diagnose, to do things out of guilt/shame, and to think and communicate in terms of what is “right“ or “wrong“ with people. Our "implicit bias" fosters the creation of "enemy images" of those who look and behave differently than us. When un-examined, "implicit bias" results in racism.
We also blame others for our feelings, as if they caused them. Even worse, we might blame ourselves for other people's unpleasant feelings. The habitual ways we think and speak hinder communication, and perpetuate a culture of comparison, guilt/shame and punishment. Without wanting to, even people with the best of intentions generate needless conflict because of the lack of clear boundaries of personal responsibility.
At work especially we are encouraged to wear a mask to pretend everything is okay even when it’s not. Conflict arises when different positions are expressed, people’s emotions get triggered and usually blame others for them. The loudest voices and bigger titles usually win. It isn’t safe to be real; instead we are encouraged to be “nice.”
A New Paradigm
With Nonviolent Communication (NVC) we learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC helps us discover the depth of our own compassion. This language reveals the awareness that all human beings are only trying to honor universal values and needs, every minute, every day.
NVC can be seen as both a spiritual practice that helps us see our common humanity, using our power in a way that honors everyone's needs, and a concrete set of skills which help us create life-serving families and communities.
The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.
Through the practice of NVC, we can learn to clarify what we are observing, what emotions we are feeling, what values we want to live by, and what we want to ask of ourselves and others. We will no longer need to use the language of blame, judgment or domination. We can experience the deep pleasure of contributing to each others' well being.
NVC creates a path for healing and reconciliation in its many applications, ranging from intimate relationships, work settings, health care, social services, police, prison staff and inmates, to governments, schools and social change organizations.
"All that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries about consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to maintain a perspective of empathy for ourselves and others, even under trying conditions."
-- Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD
Nonviolent Communication contains nothing new. It is based on historical principles of nonviolence-- the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. NVC reminds us what we already instinctively know about how good it feels to authentically connect to another human being. For more information, go to CNVC.org
Benefits of 10-week Series
- you will have more mastery and tools at your disposal for navigating conversations
- interpersonal conversations will be easier and more satisfying
- the people you interact with will enjoy being heard and understood
- expressing yourself authentically will become more comfortable
- you will meet new people, and get to know them more deeply
- you will experience a natural curiosity toward others
- you will develop compassion toward others as you acknowledge everyone's needs
- experience more trust and the joy of connection
About the 10-week Series
We meet as a group once a week for 1.5 hours. Sessions typically will start with a check-in -- breakout rooms used so that everyone gets a chance to share on how they're doing. After re-connecting in the larger group, we'll dive into various NVC practices -- there's a combination of structured learning and improv learning through large room and small breakout room practices. Finally, we close out the group with a "check-out" of how we're feeling after spending time together. After closing the core session, a smaller group spends another 30 minutes of unstructured discussions and questions.
The presentation slide PDF is sent to participants at the beginning of the session, and available for download
Sessions are recorded and available to registered participants through the series webpage
All registered participants will have the opportunity to practice independently with others through a rotating practice buddy system (1 or 2 calls per week for 30 minutes)
Optional homework is assigned each week
Learning Objectives - In this series, you will learn and practice how to:
- prepare for challenging conversations
- get clear on what you really want, how you feel about it and why (self-empathy)
- create and deliver the context for a conversation
- express yourself fully in a way that has a good change of connecting (honesty)
- listen to the heart of what others are expressing while checking in on your understanding (empathy)
- make clear, doable, present requests with an openness to outcome
- use requests to support a flow of connection
- Observations vs. Evaluations
- Needs vs. Strategies
- Developing Feelings/Needs literacy
- Empathic Listening
- Feelings vs. Thoughts vs. Evaluative Feelings
- Responses to difficult to hear messages
- Compassionate Honesty
- Requests vs. Demands
- Clear, doable Requests, vs. doing a don’t
- Flow of Connection
- Expressing Appreciation
About the facilitator
James Prieto is a nature enthusiast, author and Certified Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Trainer, apprentice in the Animas Wild Mind Training Program (WMTP). James guides individuals toward connection through personal development coaching, by facilitating NVC, along with “Wild NVC” and “Wholistic NVC” nature-based offerings which integrate with Wild Mind. He’s passionate about the intersection of Animas Valley inspired work with NVC as a way to contribute to Earth elder Joanna Macy’s “Great Turning” and Thomas Berry’s “Great Work.”