“You can learn communication skills, but if you don’t know how to pause and slow down, the skills won’t matter.” Eddie Zacapa
Communication is at the centre of all functional relationships. How people communicate can bring a significant difference in the quality of their lives individually and within communities. Our guest today, Eddie Zacapa, has years of experience training people on how to communicate differently and says that it’s all about the lens with which people view issues.
Eddie Zacapa is the co-founder of Life Enriching Communication and a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC). He has facilitated nonviolent communication workshops, trainings and programs with individuals, families, parents, schools, and organizations and worked in the domestic violence field for over 19 years.
Eddie also offers coaching to executives and managers and helps volunteers and employees discover their full potential on the job. He has worked with volunteers for over 20 years with various non-profit organizations providing volunteer management. He lives in Sacramento, CA, with his family. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from San Jose State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Bible and Theology from William Jessup University.
Eddie is the author of two books: Principles and Practices of Nonviolence: 30 Meditations for Practicing Compassion; https://amzn.to/3kjKboo and Essentials for Cultivating Passionate Volunteers and Leaders: Guidelines for Organizations that Value Connection–https://amzn.to/3zjLHLo.
In today’s episode, Eddie talks about nonviolent and effective communication. He will also present the steps to communicating and making meaningful connections in any given situation.
- I’m the founder of Life Enriching Communication, an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and the cycle of violence. [2:40]
- We work with individuals who come to us voluntarily or sometimes through the court, and we help them discover their power over tendencies and how they can change that. [2:50]
- I also teach nonviolent communication, which is rooted in nonviolence to organizations, couples and families. [3:20]
- Sometimes we use the power that we have to get what we want without thinking about the other person necessarily and what their needs are at that moment. [4:50]
- Everybody has power, and it is not a bad thing since it allows you to do something. However, collaboration happens when you use that power with the resources others have. [5:29]
- I was working in ministry, but then I decided to change my career, and my mom introduced me to someone at her church who did this work with. [6:07]
- The first time I got there, I connected with the individuals who were there and I got hired there, so that started my journey. [6:35]
- I was also drawn to it just because I could relate to it in some ways from my experience growing up. [6:47]
- Along the way, I got introduced to nonviolent communication by a certified trainer, and that process just blew my world, and I started living it out and teaching it. [7:11]
- One of the things I try to get across early is, if you do anything because you have to, you will pay for it. [7:48]
- I tell the people I teach that being there was an opportunity for them to learn and grow regardless of whether they deserved to be there or not. [8:16]
- It is really important to continue doing this because it makes a difference by bringing awareness to what abuse is and making people feel comfortable and safe reaching out for help. [10:05]
- We need to work together and have the police department and fire department to be able to be in touch with the needs of each community and to just feel comfortable with each other. [11:53]
- Commercial Break. [12:18]
- One of the first components of nonviolent communication focuses on differentiating between what’s happening and the story we tell ourselves in our heads. [14:31]
- Being able to differentiate and get down to what happened can be helpful. [15:22]
- The next step is connecting with what happened and assessing your feelings about the truth, and then finding out what you value in the situation. [15:30]
- The last part is just making a request that is very specific and doable. [16:15]
- Another valuable piece is if you’re struggling to connect with someone else, you can close your eyes and just imagine what they might be feeling and their needs. [16:32]
- By doing that, you’re able to see that person’s humanity, and you’re not creating an enemy image with that story and that a lot of times helps you find a solution as well. [16:48]
- You can learn communication skills, but if you don’t know how to pause and slow down, the skills won’t matter. [17:58]
- We’re trying to see what people wish for and what their value is in a particular situation. [19:39]
- When we make a request, remember that when we hear a ‘NO’, it is a gift because it tells us that there’s something really important to somebody else. [22:10]
- There’s a need behind that NO, and if we can discover what it is, we can find a solution that works for everybody. [22:40]
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