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Nonviolent communication (NVC) focuses on the connection between people, on understanding what people feel and need. It is sometimes called ''compassionate communication".

"NVC guides us in reframing how we express ourselves and hear others. Instead of habitual, automatic reactions, our words become conscious responses based firmly on awareness of what we are perceiving, feeling and wanting. We are led to express ourselves with honesty and clarity, while simultaneously paying others a respectful and empathic attention. In any exchange, we come to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. NVC trains us to observe carefully, and to be able to specify behaviours and conditions that are affecting us. We learn to identify and clearly articulate what we are concretely wanting in any given situation." p.3

When people clearly express what they observe, feel, need and request, they are more likely to get what they really want, a better quality of their life. It seems remarkably difficult to do this - to avoid judgements, interpretations, generalizations, demands, unspecific language and other unproductive communication patterns -, so there are workshops to learn NVC.

NVC was created as a method by Marshall B. Rosenberg. He wrote the book "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values ". ISBN-13: 978-1892005038.

NVC is often used for ConflictResolution in difficult situations, in violent group conflicts or personal therapy, but its principles can be used to improve normal communications as well.

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"NVC does not mandate that we remain completely objective and refrain from evaluating. It only requires that we maintain a separation between our observations and our evaluations. NVC is a process language that discourages statc generalizations; instead, evaluations are to be based on observations specific to time and context." p.26

NonviolentCommunication is useful for FairCriticism.

"The Austrian-born Israeli philospher Martin Buber describes this quality of presence that life demands of us: 'In spite of all similarities, every living situation has, like a newborn child, a new face, that has never been before and will never come again. It demands of you a reaction that cannot be prepared beforehand. It demands nothing of what is past. It demands presence, responsibility; it demands you.'" p.91

possible problems:

"If it happens regularly that people distrust our motives and sincerity when we paraphrase their words, we may need to examine our own intentions more closely. Perhaps we are paraphrasing and engaging the components of NVC in a mechanistic way without maintaining clear consciousness or purpose. We might ask ourselves, whether we are more intent on applying the process "correctly" than on connecting with the human being in front of us. Or perhaps, even though we are using the form of NVC, our only interest is in changing the other person's behaviour." p.100 [hostgator coupon]
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See also: NonviolentCommunicationAndPatternTheory

CategoryConflict CategoryCollaboration


NathanielThurston -- Sat Aug 29 12:37:00 2009

Sunir, I think that NonviolentCommunication is a powerful tool, appropriate for use when defending the community against an excess of passion. One key is to insist on nonviolence from the community, while ignoring the violence being done by the passionate intruder.

FridemarPache -- Wed Sep 2 21:07:27 2009

hoping to contribute to a more realistic and fair treatment of the subject, the contributor inserted: "while clearly expressing, what one wants, with the result that people are more likely to get what they want." Reason: "Clearly expressing the wants" is one step of the 4 step model, presented in the book "Nonviolent Communication" by Marshal B. Rosenberg.

SunirShah -- Wed Sep 2 21:13:11 2009

The key to all facilitation techniques is to use them naturally, and never turn them into fixed rules. The stronger the rule, the more prone it is to attack.

NathanielThurston -- Thu Sep 3 10:53:38 2009

There are multiple advantages to using facilitation techniques naturally. Two others that spring to mind are that the formalism is distracting and unsightly; and that the formalism creates the impression that the recipient is being instructed, with the implication that the speaker is in a position to be teaching the listener, i.e., in a position of superiority. While this may be true in fact, maintaining the illusion of equality may be necessary in order for the "student" to stop pushing his point of view and start listening.

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