"Say What You Mean" by Oren Jay Sofer

Review by Borodutch

The author suggests that we can use mindfulness techniques when practicing nonviolent communication. Whatever you've learned when meditating — feel free to use that when trying to talk to someone acting irrationally. Oren suggests the following three steps:

  1. Presence
  2. Curiosity and care
  3. Focus on what matters

Firstly, make sure you're fully present when talking to someone. Not thinking about what to say next and holding to that thought — but wholeheartedly present. Anchoring to your meditation center (breathing, gravity, center point, etc.) helps with this. You can return the attention to the speaker whenever it wanders off.

Secondly, make sure you're genuinely curious and truly care about what the person is saying. Don't fake this. Try to make this honest. It doesn't take much to be interested, and practice (just like with meditation) helps you improve.

Thirdly, think about the person's motivations. What drives them? What are their needs? Focus on this to resolve potential conflicts or stay relevant in a discussion. Try to bring your attention back to what matters repeatedly, and you'll get better at it!

The author also suggests a list of practices to maintain and improve mindfulness and nonviolent communication techniques throughout the book. I come from both the nonviolent communication and the mindfulness background, so the ways were pretty familiar — yet I've never made the connection. I'm thankful to the author for pointing out how they can be used together.

Should you read this title? Yes, but make sure to familiarize yourself with mindfulness and nonviolent communication concepts and practice them beforehand. Otherwise, you might miss the crucial connection between the both.