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BlameSticks and stones may break my bones,

but words will never hurt me.

Yeah right.

In reality, while it is our nature to both be empathetic and open to others, violent communication and violent words do more than hurt – they silence us; they scare us; they make us sad.

In other words: THEY HURT FAR MORE THAN SOME SILLY STICKS!

But, here is the thing – violent words are sneaky. And they are all over the workplace. They are neither ethnically and/or racially motivated nor the seven naughty words George Carlin made so popular in the 1970s.

In reading Nonviolent Communications by Marshall B. Rosenberg, the words are actually those we use to attempt to express our feelings, but instead are really giving an evaluation of what others are doing to us – words like “taken for granted,” “unheard,” “unseen,” “abandoned,” “cheated.”

These words, it turns out, are not actually feelings at all – they are things that you think based on how you believe you were treated (or mistreated).

We often combine these thoughts with observations, equaling what others see as criticism.

And we all LOVE CRITICISM, don’t we?

Sounds like using these words are a fast track to loss of productivity – not to mention positivity – in the workplace.

So, my challenge to the wordsmiths who read our blog is this – look at the words below and try to determine which are actual feelings versus which are thoughts ascribing an evaluation to another. And then, would love to know how you have successfully resolved conflict, expressed your desires and needs, and given difficult messages without evaluating other asserting blame.

Feeling or Thought – What Say You?

Betrayed

Hurt

Hostile

Upset

Unwanted

Pressured

Withdrawn

Coerced

Frustrated

Manipulated

Bitter

Disenchanted

Used

Patronized

Interrupted

Distrusted

Good luck – happy to share answers with anyone who plays along in the comments! And, as an added prize, here are some good tweets from the author himself on Nonviolent Communications.

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

1 Comment

  1. Alison says:

    Fun fact…compliments can be violent comminications too!

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