Welcome to the Adventure, Grasshopper!
Nov. 9, 2022

๐Ÿ“ Epic Engagement Adventure: Making Essential Connections with Pan Vera

Pan Vera doesnโ€™t just engage his audience. He lets his audience engage him.

In this episode, Pan Vera will introduce you to Nonviolent communication, making essential connections, and much more!


Everyone, I want you to meet Pan Vera. He's got a lifetime of experience in IT, and also an expert in communication. He has something important to teach us about making real connections. He'll also tell us how he used engagement to make his training sessions awesome, and get one on one clients. Take a listen, Grasshoppers!

Complimentary session with Pan: 

https://tinyurl.com/chat-with-pan

 

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Transcript

Interview with Pan Vera

RJ Redden: Hold onto your goggles. It's time for the Epic engagement adventure.

Greetings, grasshoppers. Today we have a fellow theater major. Uh, we have an individual who has, uh, supreme coaching and training experience, and I can't wait for you all to meet my friend Pan. Uh, Pan tell us who you are, what you do, and what your mission with the world.

Pan Vera: Okay. I'll start with my mission for the world.

Uh, my mission for the world is to share as widely as possible a life serving communication skill that many people call the most powerful communication tool in the world with good reason. And, uh, I'll explain a little bit more about that if you would like.

RJ Redden: I would.

Pan Vera: Okay. So I learned how to communicate through Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, who is the creator of Nonviolent Communication, commonly known as Nvc. And I had the privilege of spending over 400 hours in his lectures and of picking him up at the airport and taking him back to the airport. And I worked for him at the Center for Non-Violent Communication for 10 years.

And let me tell you about how I met him. So I had a friend who was in a group that I was part of who every year would say, Man, there's this wonderful guy who's coming to town and you really have to meet him. You should come. And I said, Okay, Patty, I'll come. And I had no intention of going at all. Yeah.

Because I was a traveling around the country and the world doing IT work. So I often wasn't home. And I got so tired of not being home. I decided to quit that job and create a website development business instead. So once again, Patty says he's coming again you really have to come. And I said, Okay, Patty, I'll be there.

But I had a plan. My plan was to get there early, take the chair that was closest to the exit door. Yeah, wait until the first break. Make sure that I had waved to Patty so she knew I was there and back to the office to my new business. Well, that lasted for about five minutes. Because when he started to talk, I realized he had the greatest tool for peace I had ever seen.

And I was in Ireland at a boarding school when the Cuban missile crisis happened and the missiles that were close to the base where my father was the commander, came up out of the ground. And that was very personal to me. So yeah, so I'd always been looking at communication. I'd love to communicate. That's why I got into theater part.

And, uh, so this was like golden, golden tools. So I used my IT skills to help build an application that we could put up on the web so that when Marshall left, we wouldn't have to spend hours and hours depositing checks for $50,000 total. And that was really fun. So I started out within DC It was a challenge because in the class that I was taking with him, he said, I want you to think of a difficult conversation.

I wrote that down. Now I want you to, to get and describe what happened, which it's kind of interesting because for him, if you're talking about something that happened, it can't be, that person was a jerk. You know it's gotta be an observation. This person started talking to my friend while I was talking to him.

So next it was, How do you feel? So I made my list and he said, Who wants to share? And very eager I raised my hand and I stood up and I said, I felt criticized. And he says, That's not a feeling. Oh, well, you know, I kind of felt, uh, I felt, uh, abused. That's not a feeling. And I had two more. And then I just sat, sat down red faced because I was talking about what other people were doing to me.

And when I think my emotions are caused by what other people are doing to me, I become their emotional slave. So I had a sheet of these feelings. And I had a pretty busy household. There was one place I could count on being alone for at least 15 or 20 minutes, and I went into the bathroom and I went through the list and I memorized it.

But memorizing it really didn't help me all that much. So instead I learned, I had been teaching contract the time and I had learned all about the ability of the shock risk that in her hand to give us all kinds of information. So I would say this word and I would root around my chest until I found a re a resonance.

And then I recognized this was an emotion. This was real. So feelings, observation, feelings, and then the other part is needs. So you make me mad, is a misstatement. Nobody can make you mad. Mm-hmm. . What makes you mad is about what other people do and why it makes you mad is because there's something you really value about life that either is happening and you feel great or is not happening.

And then the fourth part, I'll mention that cuz I might not get back to it, is request. And oftentimes when I'm teaching and I say, Now we're gonna talk about requests, somebody in the audience says, Oh, now I can get what I want. And I say, Well, no, not really. That's not the purpose of a request. It gets to that.

But the purpose of the request is to create a connection with the other person. How would it be for you if you did X, Y, and Z. Not, would you do X, Y, Z, but how would it be? And you dance this infinity side dance of getting closer and closer to what both of us want. Yeah. And there's almost always something that will satisfy all of our needs.

So in 2000, That was in 2001. Yeah. In 2004, I decided this was my life mission. This is why I stayed on the planet when I was dying of pneumonia as an infant. And, um, and I, John was gonna do this and I did it. And RJ it is so much fun. Have you ever been in a situation where you're planning to talk and all of a sudden you hear yourself saying things you didn't know?

RJ Redden: Oh, yes. Yeah. Uh, not always like on stage or anything, but sometimes in conversation, sometimes, like you just get into the zone. And, and like, Yeah. I, I, I, I, I'm smelling what you're cooking Pan.

Pan Vera: Yeah. Right. So it's just the most joyous thing that I ever did. And, uh, I had been in IT before I met Marshall when I was meeting Marshall.

And, um, I had decided when I moved from Seattle to Vermont to be with this wonderful woman that I had fallen in love with, that I wasn't going to do IT work anymore. Until my best friend on Vasan Island in Western Washington called me up and said, The center's looking for an IT guy. So I became the IT person for the Center for Non-Violent communication. And that was awesome because I met these incredible people all around the world. I help them find people and sign up for their courses. And, but the most fun besides the 22 applications I built for that company over 10 years was hanging out with people who were just so heart centered and so calm, cool and connected.

That, that was my favorite part of the whole job. Beautiful. Yeah. So where would you like me to go from here?

RJ Redden: Well, uh, gosh, I just, I just wanna follow up on what you just said. That, uh, you, you seem to be a rare bird, if I may, uh, in that

Pan Vera: You dunno the half of it.

RJ Redden: Um, but it's, you know, you, you have those technology skills but also just incredible communication skills. That's not an easy thing to find.

Pan Vera: Yes. But the reason I was so successful in the IT world is not because I was a great programer. But because I could go and sit down with somebody and ask this question in, in a business, what's driving you crazy? Yeah. And then I would listen to what they had to say and I wouldn't say, Well, I don't think we can do anything about that.

Or, That shouldn't drive you crazy. Or, What's the matter with you? Why don't you just buckle down and do your job? I would say must be really irritating. I think we might be able to do something about that. Yeah. So that was my main. And then I could take my notes and sit down and say, Okay, we need a database and it needs this table and that table and this table and all that other kind of stuff.

Yeah. Because I actually did enjoy that sort of work as well. But mostly I enjoy dealing with people.

RJ Redden: Yeah. Wow. Uh, that's pretty beautiful. I mean, because I, I have a lot in common with that. In fact, uh, I design, you know, soft, customized software, uh, with a conversational interface. Uh, and uh, yeah, it makes me so happy.

But a lot of what makes me happy is sitting with people and really learning, because sometimes folks will tell you, you know, uh, they will tell you they think what they think the problem is, and it's really the symptom. Um, Real problem somewhere else. Yeah. Um, and it just, it delights me to be able to put together what the real problem is.

Yeah. You know, with that, with a real solution for it. Um, yeah.

Pan Vera: That is so much fun. That's really fun. Beautiful. When we contribute to, I'm, I was, I was just gonna say that the greatest joy human beings experience is contributing to someone else when they don't have to.

RJ Redden: Interesting. Interesting. Is that, was that something that you learned at the Center for Nonviolent Communication?

Pan Vera: That's something Marshall said quite a bit because it's all built around compassion and it's built around gratitude and, uh, he would travel 300 days a year nonstop. Whew. Then he would take a couple months off and I once asked him, Marshall, how can you do that?

And he drew a picture of a draft cuz he really loved using puppets. He had a jackal, which was the dominator language and a giraffe, which was the heart centered language. So he drew a picture of a giraffe and he talked about the thrill he had when he came back to a place he had been before and people were lined up to tell him how what he had taught them had benefited their lives.

So he called that giraffe juice , and I call it gratitude. Beautiful. Yeah. Yeah.

RJ Redden: I, I need to hook you up with a man named, uh, Kevin Monroe. He is the gratitude guy I think that you would love Kevin. Uh, he is on a mission to spread gratitude in the world. And, uh, I think that you, and he would, uh, very much like each other.

Um, I'm sure it would. Yeah. Well, so, um, you know what, uh, you know more about, tell me more about nonviolent communication. What is it, what was it founded upon? Can you, can you elaborate on some of that?

Pan Vera: I sure can, and I'll talk to you most about how I use it in coaching. Since I understand that's your bailiwick.

Yeah, so Marshall Rosenberg was a very successful graduate. He was a student of the father of American psychology, Carl Rogers. And he, uh, he was very successful and had a huge business, but he didn't like it after health insurance came in because they insisted that for him to get paid, he had to supply a diagnosis.

And he was against that because he discovered that when he told somebody what their diagnosis was, then they changed their concept of self to meet the diagnosis. Okay. That's the first thing. The second thing is that he noticed one of the funniest, uh, workshops that I took him to was to the criminally insane hospital in Washington.

And he titled it, entitled it. There's no such thing as mental illness. So the auditorium auditor, the audience, the auditorium, filled up with psychiatrists who were just ready to do battle with him. , but he wanted that . Yeah. Cause I'll get to the energy up and energy is what works. So his what his his justification was that when he had somebody come to him, he sent them to a doctor he trusted who took a blood sample and the doctor would report back, Yes, there's something in the blood.

And then he would say, That's a biological disease. The output is what people label as mental disease, but that was very few of the people that he worked with. The rest of the people, it was how they talked to themselves. I'm a jerk. I'm no good. Nobody likes me. I never get a break, and so on and so forth, and, He recognized that what was causing the disruption was what he called the dominator language, which features such wonderful things like criticism, diagnosis, evaluations, judging who's good, who's bad, all of this stuff that just destroys connection.

Yeah. And so he came up with that simple four step process that I out outlined and people recovered. And I'll tell you my story. When I met him, I had been dis diagnosed with chronic clinical, acute chronic clinical depression. Acute means it's kind of bad. Chronic means it's always there. Clinical means it's in your blood, we can see it, and the last one means that it's probably gonna be there forever.

So I went on medication and it really worked for me. It settled out my life. Until I moved from Seattle to Vermont to live with this lovely woman. And the first thing we did second day I was there, was leave Vermont and travel up and down the East Coast, including to this island off of Cape Cod that's owned by her family.

And there were 20 people in this house that we stayed in. All family members and I was on a medicine because my medicine was hopscotching around behind us. Oh yeah. And I was explaining to the family there that I was gonna be very depressed and I'd probably be hanging out in my room and not to worry I'll be okay.

So I run outta medicine the next day. I'm feeling fine. Well, it's gonna take a while. Next day after that, I'm feeling fine. Next day after that I'm feeling fine and I realized. That what happened was that by using non-violent communication on myself, I wasn't depressed anymore. Wow. Yeah. And as you can tell, I'm not very depressed now,

RJ Redden: No, uh, no. That's a, that's an amazing story. Uh, and, and you know, not to, uh, not to be down on medication. I'm certainly not.

Pan Vera: Oh, no. I wouldn't suggest anybody not take medication. I actually had a dear friend who would, take medication, it would be better. And he said, I'm better now. And he'd stop taking it and crashed and burned and got rid of all his friends.

Oh. And he went back on it for a while. No, the medication has gave me a chance. Yeah, it gave me a chance.

RJ Redden: Well, but the, that root cause, uh, of so many things, so many. So many, you know, uh, so many ills, uh, of our, of our society. It, it does start with that self talk.

Pan Vera: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. It goes on from just when we're beginning to learn language, you know, that's bad. You're a bad boy or you're hurting mommy and daddy and all that kind of stuff. It's the best we know how to do, but we have no idea. Most of us don't have an idea of how damaging it is on a person's psyche.

RJ Redden: Well, because it's so ever present, right?

Pan Vera: Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

RJ Redden: Um, that's a lot of training. Uh, if I were, if I were training in AI it would be 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You know what I mean?

Pan Vera: I do. Yeah.

RJ Redden: Whew.

Pan Vera: Oh, so when Michael quit his job, when Michael, when Marshall quit his job, he actually bought a secondhand car, left his car and his family behind, and started traveling across the country to places where he had friends and he started teaching in living rooms. And then when he would come back, he would need to run hall.

And when he came to our place, we would have eight or 900 people who would attend his training over a week. Yeah, he went to places like Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sri Lanka, where people had been living together for thousands of years and killing each other's children in the process. And he was able to use this process to help them realize that they all had the same needs.

Yeah. And that they could work together and get everyone's needs met. But then he said, I wasn't ever sure exactly how much he was joking, but when I went home to my wife, that was a whole different story.

RJ Redden: Sure.

Pan Vera: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We tend to be meanest to the people we love the most, cuz we know they are still gonna love us after it's over.

We don't think of it that way, but I believe that's kind of what happens.

RJ Redden: Well, that's an amazing story. I've got to look up this, uh, Center for Nonviolent Communication. Uh, it just, it sounds, uh, it sounds like, because I, I feel like there are so many people that can benefit from learning how to talk to themselves differently.

Pan Vera: Uhhuh um, yeah, .

RJ Redden: Um, so do you, you said that you do a lot of training. Is this the type of training you do?

Pan Vera: Oh, yes. Yeah, I have six different trainings. I have two that are kind of at the beginning level, and then I have some intermediate trainings that, uh, develop the skills a little deeper. And then I have trainings on certain areas, like words at work, language for lovers, social change.

I think there's one other one. So it's quite a package. And when I'm in business and they say, Okay, well what's your niche? And my niche was people who talk and it didn't narrow things down very far. No. No.

RJ Redden: But uh, you know, I mean, one of the things that I'm just personally fascinated with is that for all of us, you know, when the internet exploded, uh, we all. All of a sudden have a bigger stage. Yeah. So, so much more talking is going on uhhuh, but it seems like even less communication is going on.

Pan Vera: I know, I know. Yeah. I really know. It's, it's sad. It's very sad.

RJ Redden: Well, uh, well onto better things. So you and I were talking before and we were talking about the way that you train, because I was asking you, you know, how do you engage your audience?

Uhhuh , can you go into that a little bit?

Pan Vera: Yes. Um, back, oh God, it's only been 10 years ago. Um, I built two websites, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, and I would announce it and that would fill my classes regularly, and that's not working so much the way it was before. So what I would do in order to get people is I would try to get speaking engagements at churches, clubs, and other people, places where people gather.

And I can go in and in about 90 minutes or less, 30 minutes in a crunch, I can lay out a foundation of that particular group, I focus it on whatever the group is interested in. And that draws people. Yeah. And then I find that about 20% of the people who attend my classes wanna set appointments for one-on-one coaching.

And I would share to the coaches here that what I learned from Marshall is we ask people what's bothering them, and they tell us a story, and we don't listen to the story. We listen to how they're feeling and what they're needing. So it can happen very quickly because the story is the stimulus, but the problem lies within them.

And by feelings I'm talking about actual emotions, not, you know, things somebody has done to us. Abandoned. I don't feel abandoned. I feel sad or lonely or angry when I'm telling myself that I'm abandoned. So we cut right down to what is specifically the person is longing for. Yeah. So that's what, that's what I do and it's, It's actually quite effective and quite amazing because if you spend an hour talking about something that happened to you 20 years ago, That's never going to heal anything except under special conditions of extreme trauma, then that becomes useful in the skilled facilitator's hands.

But if a person is stuck in the story from a long time ago, they're stuck in the past and there's no healing there. So what's important is how does it affect your life today? How do you feel today? What is it that you're longing for today? And one of the things that's central to the concept here is that we are 100% responsible for everything that happens in our life, and well, I can't be responsible for what that person said to me, but you can be responsible for how you heard it.

Mm-hmm. , oftentimes when somebody is doing something, we put the label of abuse on 'em. It's because they're in a great deal of pain. And so if they're blaming me to be something, I guess that they have pain around what would cause that something, and now they're in control. Now they learn. Sometimes it's slow because we've only been speaking this dominator language for eight to 10,000 years.

Yeah. . So it does take some practice before it becomes automatic to you. Yeah. But you're inspired. To have that happen. Because even if you do it poorly, it still makes a connection because you're not saying, Oh, don't worry about it. It's not that big of a deal. Grow up and all that kind of stuff that most people do and think it's the big thing to do to help, but actually is quite disrupting to the person.

Yeah. So, and then, um, the last part about request. I teach people how to make requests because most people make demands .

RJ Redden: So how do you know what's the difference my friend?

Pan Vera: Okay. Okay. So honey, would you pick up all of your toys before you go to bed? No. You pick up those toys, right now. You see what I'm saying?

Yeah, if you can. . If you can hear a no and know that it's not a no to you, it's a yes to something else than in this example. You might say, Well, would you like to play for five more minutes before you go to get in? Yes, mommy, that would be great. So, So that's, yeah, that's kind of the flow of it. It's all based on the joy of contributing to another person.

And it's based on gratitude and it's mostly based on compassion and above all and around all is connection. Yeah. Every time in the beginning until it becomes a habit, when you think about what you wanna say, that's the hardest thing to do in nbc. Stop. Stop doing what you automatically do and think about what you want out of it and have it be connection.

Then that opens up the door. Even if you don't follow the formula, if your heart is filled with a desire to connect, it will connect.

RJ Redden: And that's, I mean, that's one of the things that, uh, It's so beautiful. It's that, you know, I mean, I deal with the, uh, you know, I work with, uh, and love and teach, uh, a lot of coaches who want to, you know, change their marketing because what, what is marketing but that dominator language, as you say. Yeah. Uh, buy this, do this, or you're not a real coach, or, you know, you've gotta do this right now. If you miss out on this one opportunity, it'll ruin the rest of your life. I mean, it's all demands, it's all domination.

Pan Vera: It's all manipulation. Right?

RJ Redden: It's manipulation, for sure. Yeah. Uhhuh, and what you're saying is that kindness can win. Compassion can be, uh, you know, uh, nice guys finish last, uh, you know, and, uh, and this, this thing about you've gotta be aggressive. I am not an aggressive person, Pan. I am not mm-hmm. . And I don't want to be aggressive in order to be successful with my business.

And I know so many people out there who also, uh, want that same thing. Yeah.

Pan Vera: Yeah, those are the people I'm looking for RJ. I have finally discovered a niche market for myself. Are you familiar with spiral dynamics?

RJ Redden: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Natasha.

Pan Vera: Natasha is very much into that. Yes, absolutely. And can, Wilber is very much into that.

They, they have different names in different colors, but they basically are talking about the same thing. And what they are seeing in the world right now is a second level of consciousness that's based on unity, compassion, connection, and I'm gonna use the term young people, but you gotta realize in my mind, that's anywhere from 30 to 60.

There you go. Yeah. Are just more inclined to be that way than any other group that I've ever worked with. And it really fills me with some hope in these really dark times we're living.

RJ Redden: You, you cannot turn a blind eye to hope. That is, uh, hope carries us. It absolutely does. Yeah. I'm so glad you've helped share some hope with my listeners today.

I'm gonna put down a link that you gave me that other people can use to connect with you. You bet. And tell us, uh, tell us the beauty of your gift, uh, to the listeners today, Pan. Okay.

Pan Vera: So if you decide that you would like to learn more about what I do and experience it, then this link will take you to a chance to set a free 90 minute session where I will take you through a series of questions that help you uncover what you would like to change about the communication you're currently using, and I think you will find it an enormous benefit, even if it's the last conversation we ever have.

I, of course I hope that we have other conversations out of it and that you might come to my trainings or come to my counseling or coaching. But, um, we can't fix a problem if we don't know what the problem is and to say my communication isn't working is not enough information to make any changes. So we will discover just what it is in your life, not in some theory, but in your life, that you would like to see different in the way that you speak, and most importantly, the way that you hear. Because if you've been raised in this culture since fifth first grade, you've been educated to criticize and diagnose and judge who's right and who's wrong, and those things just destroy connection.

We can replace that with something that creates connection. So I would love to be meet with you. I hope you take me up on my offer and normally goes for $120, but this will be free for you.

RJ Redden: Nice. I just wanna thank you on behalf of the audience because that indeed is a very valuable gift. And, uh, uh, listeners, if you're, if you're listening to me later on the podcast or, or seeing this on a, on a video somewhere, if the last 30 minutes has lit you up inside, imagine how you'd feel 90 minutes one on one with Pan. And then stop imagining it and hit the link. The link will be in the show notes and everywhere. Uh, gosh, thank you so much. Is there, do you have any final parting words for us?

Pan Vera: Well, the main parting word I have is thank you so very much for inviting me in front of your audience. And um, so to those of you who are watching this, when I work, it's not really me. It's spirit moving through me and I will find myself saying things I didn't know because you need to hear them. This is not some can that I open and pour out of, but it's a live real connection with compassion and desire for your betterment. Foremost in my mind, you might be able to guess from so far that I love doing this work.

RJ Redden: I feel it, Pan. Uh, I feel it. I wanna thank you again for joining today and joining us. Joining our little tribe. Um, just loving, loving having you. And, uh, that's, uh, that's gonna wrap it up for the show today, everybody. Uh, we got lots of stuff coming up. Uh, we've got a Power Networking coming in a week. Uh, we have got other events coming.

Uh, and, uh, you know, don't forget to listen in every Thursday, four central, uh, to the Epic Engagement Adventure. Uh, thanks for joining us, everybody, and we will talk to you again soon. Hi.

Pan Vera: Hi.

Pan VeraProfile Photo

Pan Vera

Pan Vera was born a Heyoka Empath. He is a PSNCC Certified NVC Trainer, Advanced Training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Active Listening. Pan spent over 400 hours being with Marshall Rosenberg during his visits to the Pacific Northwest.

29+ years in Information Systems with companies including British Petroleum, Citibank, Simmons, and Associated Grocers, specializing in groupware, and 15+ years in Sales Consulting in insurance, real estate, and financial planning and investments, including three years with Merrill Lynch.