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Learn the key ideas of the book by Marshall B. Rosenberg

Nonviolent communication

Improve the way we communicate through use of empathy

In his book Nonviolent Communication, the author presents his method on this subject, explaining the necessity to communicate one's needs using an empathic type of communication which enables the person we are talking to, to truly understand the feelings and needs that are hidden behind the words that we speak. By identifying four key areas of communication: observations, feelings, needs and requests, the author teaches us how to use empathy to communicate and listen with honesty, using these four components.

Nonviolent communication
Read in 12 min.
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Many useful tips to:

  • Get in touch with yourself and with others to communicate more empathically.
  • Learn to communicate with honesty and clarity.
  • Learn to listen with empathy.

The author of the book:

Marshall B. Rosemberg, was an American psychologist, a teacher, an author and a mediator. He was the creator of non-violent communication, a process that developed a way to relate to others to resolve conflict in both personal relationships and in companies. He worked as a peace mediator all over the world and in 1984 he founded the Centre of non-violent communication, an international non-profit organisation, of which he was the director of educational services.


The way that we communicate has the potential to hurt others, what are the basic principles for non-violent communication?

All too often the method of communication that we learn to use from a young age tends to hurt both us and other people. For example, passing moral judgements on people that don’t have the same values as ours is a type of communication that can make others hostile to us. We all make value judgments, and through them we show what we believe in, for example even though we think of violence as a negative element, we pass a negative moral judgement when we say that people who resort to violence are evil. This habit of implying that people who don't have the same values as us are wrong gets in the way of our ability to communicate with empathy, the same thing happens when we make comparisons or when we ask for something in a presumptuous manner, insinuating a possible punishment or guilt if we don’t get what we want. Furthermore, this type of communication blinds us to our responsibility for our feelings and actions, for example, we might say: “I have to give marks because the school rules require it of me”, when in actual fact, “I give marks because I want to keep my job”. Non-violent communication is an approach to communication aimed at expressing one’s true feelings without causing pain to oneself or to others. Through non-violent communication we communicate with an awareness of everything that we perceive, without passing judgement or blaming, we manage to transmit our message with clarity and honesty.

By following the NVC method, our communication process can take on a new style which allows us to be clearer and help others understand us at the same time. Non-violent communication focuses on four key areas: 1) observations – the phase where we observe a situation without expressing an opinion; 2) feelings – we confirm what we feel when we witness the action; 3) needs – we express our needs linked to the feelings that we have just voiced; 4) request – we make a specific request of what we need.

Non-violent communication is used to mediate disputes and conflicts at all levels and has no fixed formula but it can be adapted to many different situations.


The key ideas of "Nonviolent communication"

The way that we communicate has the potential to hurt others, what are the basic principles for non-violent communication?
First area of NVC: how to express an observation without polluting it with judgement
The second area of NVC: how to clearly communicate your feelings
The third area of NVC: learning to be responsible for one’s own feelings
The fourth area of NVC: learning to clearly ask for what we need
What are the benefits of using non-violent communication and empathy when listening to others
How to use non-violent communication when we talk to ourselves, offering empathy
Non-violent communication can be used to express anger without implying that someone else is responsible
Take home-message

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