What You Learn


‘NVC’ stands for Nonviolent Communication. Dr Marshall Rosenberg (founder of Nonviolent Communication) used the term as Ghandi used it — referring to our natural state when all violence has subsided from our heart.   When we give from the heart, we do so out of a pleasure that comes when we willingly enrich another person’s life.  This kind of giving benefits both the giver and the receiver.  The receiver enjoys the gift without worrying about the consequences that accompany gifts given out of fear, guilt, shame or desire for gain.  The giver benefits from the enhanced self-esteem that results when we see our efforts contributing to someone else’s wellbeing.

This is learnable process that facilitates the flow of communication necessary to exchange information and resolve differences constructively and compassionately. It is based on identifying universally shared standards and needs.

The model uses as its basis a four part process, described below, and yet most importantly, it is the intention under the process that really ensures the success of the process in action between human beings.  It is possible to experience all four pieces of the process without uttering a single word!

The Four Components of the Nonviolent Communication Model

  1. Observation – The specific actions we observe that affect our well-being
  2. Feelings – How we feel in relation to what we observe
  3. Needs – The needs, values, and desires that create our feelings
  4. Requests – The specific actions we request in order to enrich our lives

Firstly we observe what is actually happening in a situation, what it is that we are observing others saying or doing that is contributing or not contributing our life.  Here we need to articulate this observation without introducing any judgment or evaluation – to say what people are doing that we like or don’t like.  Next we state how we feel when we observe this action.  Are we scared, hurt, joyful, amused or irritated.  Thirdly, we say what needs of ours are connected to the feelings we recognise.  We are aware of these three components when we use the model to clearly and honestly express how we are.

An example of communication in the workplace where the needs are less personal and yet no less important, may be between manager and staff.

“John I see that your contribution to the monthly report has not been finalised and I am concerned as I need cooperation to meet the department’s reporting deadline of Friday.  Would you be willing to complete your contribution by Thursday close of business?”

The other part of this communication consists of receiving the same set of information from others.  We sense what they are observing, feeling and needing; then we discover what would enrich their lives by receiving the fourth piece, their request.  A key unspoken element of the process is the listening, both to our own needs and intentions and the other person and holding them of equal value.

This way we avoid language that creates resentment or lowers self-esteem. It emphasises compassion as the motivation for actions, rather than fear, guilt, blame, or shame. It also emphasises personal responsibility for our choices

We are guided to reframe our communication making careful observations free of evaluation and judgement, and to specify behaviours and conditions that are affecting us. We learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others, and to identify and clearly articulate what we are wanting in a given moment. When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed, rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion.  Our intention becomes to connect rather than to be right and dominate.

Nonviolence then becomes an unconscious way of being that is literally transforming.

In Business Environments

How would you like more choice, collaboration and productivity for yourself, your organization, and customers with whom you engage?

It’s possible by surfacing and energizing that most often overlooked third dimension—the human dimension of connection. A connection based on empathy. There are three distinct levels of empathic connection that are constantly at play in our workplace: our relationship to our own internal state, our relationships with co-workers and collaborators —and the relationships that connect us with our end consumers. In many situations, the quality of these connections is not meeting critical human needs such as trust, respect, autonomy, understanding and meaning.  As a result organisational culture is often unhealthy and non productive. Since our entire global economy is shifting to one of complex interdependent relationships, the value of connections and empathy in the workplace continues to increase. The use of this Nonviolent Communication model offers proof that building a more compassionate, empathic workplace is precisely the path to greater productivity, and consequently, profits. Today’s managers can build teams and organizations where empathy is the core driver of their success; with engaged people working productively in workplaces where inspired people and profits meet.  It just takes awareness of the use of collaboration through communication that’s primary purpose is to connect, not alienate.  Some results may include

In Personal Relationships and Environments

How would you like to have the skills to build personal relationships where mutual respect, love and willingness to contribute were a daily reality and not something reserved for special occasions? 

How we communicate in our personal relationships deeply affects our level of happiness and ability to give and receive with others.  It can build trust and bonds with others that are enduring.  It can create an environment where intimacy can be a natural extension of who we are and how we want to be in relationship –  free of manipulation and a desire to control, spontaneous and joyful.  With the NVC model in use you will be given a way of communicating that will enable you to reinvent your relationships.  And yes, you will discover with some time and patience, often no words are necessary!

This requires a certain re-educating and awareness around the way we communicate.  Unfortunately many of us have learned to bring many moralistic evaluations and judgments into our language through our education and it requires us to re-educate ourselves in our communication methods. 

Come from a place of reflection as opposed to reaction when dealing with conflict and hard to hear messages.  Learn to step away from the words and hear the needs, precious needs of each person with whom you interact.  Listen and empathise allowing for healing and thoughtful response.  What a difference you can make in your own and other’s lives.

As part of a community group you will learn simply by practicing simple steps you become a natural mediator and centre of serenity.  Others will enjoy your helpful and understanding attitude, strong listening ability and a warm feeling that they have been heard without judgement.

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