First get aware and understand that ‘cynics’ and ‘Haters’ are a judgements. When you label someone like this slow down and see what are their behaviors (Observations). Are they hating everything or only NVC? Are they cynical about all beliefs or only NVC? What could be their needs in these behaviors? Maybe trust, understanding and security? These needs would manifest in multiple ways. Our job as NVC evangelist is to find these needs and try and address them rather than ramming our beliefs down their throat!
Objection #0: Are you trying too much?
Are you too hung up on making others understand NVC? If you are unable to move on, maybe you have some un-met needs you are not aware of. Before looking at them, it is important to look within! Acknowledge your needs and feelings. Address them. This is at the heart of self-empathy.
Next, it is important to acknowledge that everyone is on their own journey. Understand you are not ‘selling’ NVC. Your job is to live in NVC consciousness! Demonstrate it in your behavior. The best marketing and sales is by setting an example and being a role model! Be the change you wish to see in others!
Once you are clear on this, you are ready to engage with others. Below points will help guide those conversations.
Objection #1: Misunderstanding
This is when the person has a wrong understanding something about NVC or is misinformed about NVC by their existing beliefs/past experience.
An example of this type of objection would be the other person saying something like
“Non-violent? It is not possible to survive without violence in today’s world. Others will push me around if I am non-violent. I have to be tenacious.”
How you could respond: Rather than immediately correcting, stay curious. Asking why being tenacious is important for them? Understand their past experience. This gives you a chance to see the reasoning behind their need – their strategy. Acknowledge that this is their way of dealing with their situations and fulfilling their needs.
It seems that in above example the person has a need for trust and autonomy. If you have time, ask when was the last time they felt like this. Based on their reply you could Show a NVC way of dealing with the situation. Beware that you are not lecturing them, telling or giving free advice on how to live their life and use NVC.
Using NVC is just another way of dealing with the situation. Not the only way. Have a healthy balance between being curious (about their situation, needs and strategies) and advocating your way of living with NVC. If you start advocating too much it may come across as condescending. You don’t know their context. If you just stay curious, you will not be able to clear their misunderstandings/assumptions about NVC.
Lastly, make a request if you can send them some material and successful case studies on NVC to clarify their misunderstandings.
Objection #2: Skepticism
This is one of the best types of objections we can get because it shows that others are interested enough that they are looking for proof as to why would NVC work for them.
An example of this type of objection would be, “How do I know NVC will work with my relationship/my boss/my community?”
How you could respond: Again, first empathize and acknowledge the challenges that they are facing.
Then offer a source of social proof. For example, If it is a corporate challenge you can give an example of how Satya Nadela used it to transform Microsoft’s culture. Be educated about similar example from different walks of life where NVC is successfully used.
Next, you can ask them if you could connect them with someone who has been using NVC. Making them experience different beliefs will stimulate their thinking just like travelling, books, art from different culture stimulate us.
You may feel excited to see all their thinking. However, don’t overwhelm them by selling ‘NVC consciousness’ and using big words. If you find yourself getting excited and desperate, evaluate your needs and strategies. Our beliefs change gradually. Give them space to deal with new ways they are encountering. Stay connected to them.
This type of objection is often one of the toughest for anyone to face. A drawback is something about your product/solution that you simply can’t change, such as features or capabilities. NVC is not going to check all the boxes for everyone all the time
If you are repeatedly struggling this objection, it is an opportunity for you to self-reflect deeply about your beliefs about NVC.
Is NVC a panacea for all the problems in world? Definitely not. It is our way of living. We are prioritizing connection, inter-dependence, honesty over safety, selfishness etc. Can we expect all others to live like this? Are we able to live in NVC consciousness all the time?
It is not possible to practice NVC and communicate from feelings and needs when we are physically exhausted, when we are in middle of healing from a trauma. Telling someone that ‘justice’ is not a need to someone who has faced repeated systemic oppression is insensitive and will back fire.
Even after being aware of NVC, we get triggered! There are times we enjoy our jackals at the cost of connection and relationships. It is just humane. How can we expect others to live in NVC when they haven’t even learned the language yet.
NVC has boundaries on when and where it is applicable. We may choose to apply it in toughest of circumstances, we cant expect others to do so. First accept and acknowledge this.
Now, this also doesn’t mean that NVC is completely useless. 1) Draw clear boundaries by describing contexts where NVC can be applied 2) Reframe their drawbacks and get them to focus on the positives of NVC in that context.
“I see you need connection, voice to be heard. While NVC may be difficult with your higher ups. Can you use it with your peers? Wouldn’t that meet your need for connection and belonging? Do you feel that outweighs the drawbacks of NVC?
Read this article for more details. Compassion is not a panacea.
Objection #4: Indifference
This happens when the person doesn’t see a need for NVC or if they are happy with their current way of dealing.
How you could respond: The strategy here is to ask a few great questions that uncover needs and interests the person may not be aware of.
For example, ask what is the state of their relationships currently – professionally and personally? Are they happy with all their relationships? What are the scope of improvements in their current relationships? Then help them see the gaps in their current method and how NVC can help.
This article was written keeping in mind that you are encountering someone in a brief context. You don’t have an entire day to talk about NVC to them neither are you rushed to do this in few minutes.
I plan to keep building on such articles. Researching and writing this really helped me clarify a lot of my doubts about NVC. It gives me a clear structure to think and talk about NVC. What are the boundaries of NVC for me? When do I fail to live in NVC? NVC is not everything for me but it is definitely a big useful part in my life. It helps me focus my energies and consciousness.