What is Nonviolent Communication (NVC)?
Nonviolent Communication, or NVC, is an effective, doable method of communication based on the work of international peacemaker and mediator, Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. NVC is now being practiced across the world in over 35 countries for peacebuilding, conflict transformation, relationship-building in organisations and schools, and for personal growth, transformation, and healing.
NVC is both a method of communication, and more than a method of communication. By offering a structure and process, comprising four components (below) or capacities, NVC creates a shift towards a deeper consciousness of universal human needs and connectedness.
NVC offers doable strategies for better relationships, deeper and more effective connection, and personal power in our own lives. Communication as we understand it is often shaped by our education, the concepts of right and wrong, good and bad, winning and losing. These habitual ways of thinking and speaking get in the way of connection, both with ourselves and with others, and can lead to more pain, anger, violence, and abuse. The tools and methods of NVC can help us to reach beneath the surface – deeper than the conflict and disconnection – to get in touch with what is vital and alive.
By helping develop a vocabulary of feelings and needs, NVC enables us to speak to and from a common ground. By focusing our attention on four key components, NVC helps to shift the focus to a “win-win”, “no blame” scenario for building satisfying relationships and communication. These four key components of NVC are parts of a jigsaw puzzle easily available to everyone in any situation:
- Observations: The capacity to objectively describe what is going on without evaluation, moralistic judgment, interpretation or diagnosis
- Feelings: The capacity to connect with emotions and body sensations that arise in the context of the given situation
- Needs: Connecting with the basic and universal human needs that are live in any situation, being met or not being met
- Requests: Making clear requests for actions to effectively meet needs in the moment
These components can be used for
- Honest Self-Expression: Expression that is in alignment with values and needs of compassion, without blame, shame, or judgement
- Listening Empathically: Receiving other’s needs without getting caught up in the story or diagnosis
- Self-Connection: Connecting with the self from moment to moment with compassion and empathy
The effective and doable strategies for communication and connection offered via NVC can be applied in corporations and classrooms, prisons and homes alike. With its easy-to-comprehend, effective techniques, and its focus on the four key components of connecting communication, and building capacities, NVC helps to reduce aggression and hostility, to heal pain, and to transform conflict situations both at work and in personal lives.