Useful Tips

Nonviolent communication


Non-violent communication (NVC) consists of a simple method for a transparent, empathic conversation, consisting of four steps:

NVC strives to find a way to give all those present what is important to them, without using accusations, insults, shame, coercion and threats. Such communication is useful in resolving conflicts, in contact with others and in a conscious life, at present, for those who are set up for true life needs for themselves and others.

  1. 1 A statement of observation that makes you feel the need for conversation. They should be observed purely in fact, without judgment or assessment. For example, “it’s 2:00 in the morning, I hear that your music is playing“ an established fact, meanwhile “but now it’s too late for such actions” an assessment is made. Or "I looked into the refrigerator, and there are no products there, which means you did not go to the store," the fact established, thanks to observation (with a detailed conclusion), and the phrase "you spent aimlessly all day" puts a mark. People often disagree with assessments, because they look at things differently, but irrefutable facts create common ground for conversation.
  2. 2 Wording feelings , which caused what he saw. Or an attempt to recognize another person’s feeling and ask.Emotion designation, without moral judgment, helps you combine the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation. Follow this point to clearly define your and others' feelings at the moment, not in order to disgrace them or otherwise prevent them from showing true emotions. For example, "half an hour is left before the speech, I see that you go back and forth (observation). Are you nervous?" Or "your dog runs without a leash and barks (observation). I'm afraid." Feelings are sometimes difficult to put into words.

  • 3 Formulation of needs, which is the cause of this feeling. Or try to recognize the need that the other person’s feeling aroused and ask. When our needs are satisfied, we experience happiness and pleasant sensations, if the opposite happens, then there are unpleasant sensations. Being in harmony with your feelings, you can determine the basic need. Its definition without moral condemnation makes it clear to see what has stirred up both you and the other person at the moment. For example, "I see how you look away when I speak, and you speak quietly, so I don’t hear anything (observation). I feel awkward (feeling) because I need eye contact." Or "I did not see your name in the recognized. Do you feel offended because of the lack of appreciation that you deserve?" Needs have a special meaning in NVC: they are common to all people and are not related to special circumstances or strategies for their implementation. So, the desire to go to the cinema with someone is not a need, like the desire to spend time with a certain person. Need, in this case, manifests itself in companionship. You can satisfy the need to communicate in many ways, not only with this particular person and not necessarily with going to the movies.
  • 4 Ask a specific action question to meet a need.. Speak directly and definitely about your desires at the moment, do not hint or voice only what you do not want. For example, "I noticed that you have been silent for the last ten minutes (observation). Are you bored? (Feeling)." If the answer is yes, voice your feelings and make the sentence "I am also bored. What about going to Exploratorium?" Or maybe "I find the conversation with these people quite interesting. Maybe we'll meet in an hour when the event ends?" If you want to ask, then ask a question - do not demand - let the other person say no or offer an alternative. You take responsibility for the satisfaction of your needs, and allow them to be responsible for their own. When you do something together, you want it to be so, because both voluntarily agree to it, going about their own true needs and desires not because of guilt or pressure. Sometimes you can find something that suits your tastes, and sometimes you just need to part friendly and go different roads. If you are not ready to raise the question with an edge, NOTHING scary, you probably need more sympathy for yourself.
  • Offer Templates

    Sometimes memorizing patterns will help you make a conversation diagram:

      "Do you feel _____ because you need _______?" Show such sympathy so that you can fill in the gaps, then, perhaps, you will see the situation through the eyes of another person.

  • "Are you angry because you think ____?" Anger is triggered by the thoughts, “I think you lied,” or “I think I deserve more than just doing this and that.” Develop a thought, and you will come closer to unraveling your basic needs.
  • "I wonder if you feel ____." This is another way to show empathy without asking a direct question. This expression makes it clear that this is just your guess, and not an attempt to analyze another person and evaluate his feelings. Soften the manifestation of your feelings and needs with such phrases as “if you could, how about, maybe it could be, maybe ...”
  • “I see ____” or “I hear ____” is a way of voicing what is seen so clearly that the person understands that it is the result of observation.
  • “I think ____” is an expression of a thought so that it sounds like a thought that can change if you hear new information or an idea.
  • "Would you like to ____?" This is an explicit way to make a request.
  • "Would you like that if I ____?" It’s a way to offer to satisfy a need, enabling that person to take responsibility.
  • The general template for all four steps could be: “I see ____. I feel ____ because I feel the need for ____. Would you like ____?” Or, "I see ____. Do you feel ____ because you need ____?" Therefore, "will it satisfy your desires if I ____?" or declaring your own feelings and needs, asking a question.
    • You cannot always guess the true feelings or needs of someone empathizing. The fact that you are listening and trying to understand, not criticizing or condemning, but advising, analyzing or arguing, will force them to open more to understand the deeper meaning of what is happening. A genuine interest in the feelings and needs that drive people will lead you to something new, something that cannot be predicted if there is no understanding. Often you can help someone open up if you first honestly share your feelings and desires.
    • The above examples and formal NVC templates: this is a conversation method that makes each of the four steps absolutely predictable. Formal NVC is useful for studying NVC and in situations where misunderstandings are possible. In everyday practice, it is best to use conversational NVC, which uses a non-official language, and is not context sensitive. For example, if you, together with a friend who is waiting for the bosses to decide, whose meeting takes place immediately after his report, you can say this: "Are you afraid, Dave. Are you nervous?" but the following sounds better: "when I see how afraid you are, Dave, I ask myself if you are nervous because you want to keep working to satisfy your needs for food and shelter?"
    • NVC can be useful even if the person you are talking to does not practice this and does not know anything about it. You can use it unilaterally and get results. NVC sites charge a fee for viewing, but there are also free versions for beginners, free audio and online courses, etc., go to the Academy NVC link.
    • How simple NVC might not look can be difficult to put into practice. Read a book, go to a seminar or two, experience first hand and see what you have learned. When making mistakes, pay attention to what goes wrong, try to remember what you need to study next time. Over time, this will be easier. It will be very helpful to observe a professional in this field. There are many materials at NVC that go beyond four steps: allowing you to deal with specific situations (children, spouses, work situations, street brigades, countries at war, violent criminals, drug addicts). A more detailed description of needs along with strategies, and other key differences, alternatives to domination, choosing in favor of empathy or self-expression, a culture where non-violent communication is the norm and more.
    • All four steps are optional in all situations.
    • Try not to say the following phrases: "You make me feel ____", "I feel ____ because you did ___", and especially "You make me nervous." Such words place the responsibility for your feelings on the other person, and they skip the identification of needs that are the cause of your feelings. Say this: "When you did ____, I felt ___ because I needed ____." On the other hand, as noted earlier, if the phrase is less explicit, it sufficiently voices your needs, without making one person responsible for the feelings of another, then there is no need to thoroughly explain the whole situation.
    • When someone speaks with you in a language of condemnation, slander, or superiority, you may notice that they are conducting a dialogue expressing their unmet needs. “You're awkward! Shut up and sit down!”, This phrase expresses dissatisfaction with the elegance and beauty of the movements. “You are such a lazy loafer! You make me angry!” May sound like a need for efficiency or a desire to help someone show their talents. Understand this.
    • You can use these four steps to determine your needs and make a smart decision. For example, if you are upset, one way out is to scold yourself or others: "These people are idiots! Don't they understand that they are destroying the whole project because of their limitations?" Non-violent communication itself could have gone like this: “The other engineers did not convince me. They did not listen to me. I am upset because they did not listen to me as they should. I want respect in accordance with the project I heard and demonstrated. As I am now will I get respect? Maybe not in this team. Or maybe I can talk one-on-one with the engineers when the conversation is not so heated and I'll see what happens next. "


    • Do not argue with an angry man, just listen to him. As soon as you understand his true feelings and needs, and show that you have listened to them thoroughly, they will be ready to listen to you. You can then look for a way out that will suit both of you.
    • Empathy is not a mechanical process. Just pronouncing certain words is not enough. You really need to understand the emotions and needs of another person, to see the situation through his eyes. "Empathy is the union of our attention with consciousness. It's not what you say out loud." Sometimes it can help to imagine yourself in the place of another person. Read between the lines: what really worries them, what matters and what makes them act and speak. "
    • In NVC, “needs” is not what you should do, first of all: need is not an excuse to say “I have to do this because I need it.”
    • In a very emotional situation, empathy for one of the sensations will provoke the manifestation of feelings, most of which can be negative. If this happens, just keep sympathizing.

    For example, your neighbor might say, "You put my sweater in the dryer, and it stretched out! You are a careless couch potato!" You can answer with sympathy: "I see that you are upset and think that I am not careful enough with your things." You may answer the following: "You do not think about anyone but yourself!" Just keep sympathizing: "Are you angry because you need more care and understanding than I could give you?" Depending on the intensity of emotions and poor communication practice, you will probably have to go through more than one round of negotiations until you get an answer like: “Yes! This is what I mean! You don't care!” At this stage, you can say new facts ("In principle, I did not go to the dryer today"), apologize or offer help, which your neighbor will regard as something that you really care.

    • First, emotional contact must be made to identify each other's needs, followed by a decision or search for reasons to view things from the other side. Pushing people directly to solve a problem puts them in a position where they will feel that they are not listening or being forced to, and because of this they will be even more on their own.

    What is nonviolent communication?

    The Nonviolent Communication method was developed by clinical psychologist Marshall Rosenberg, who devoted himself to peacekeeping missions. It is not surprising that the method is based on the belief: the original intention of a person is always positive (no matter how it appears and leads to anything).

    Another thing is that far from always the behavior of people is fully consistent with their intentions. Here it is worth recalling the notorious proverb "My tongue is my enemy." According to psychologists, in the process of human communication 60–80% of communications are carried out using non-verbal means, and the information itself is transmitted through the prism of an internal dialogue that includes feelings, affects, experience, attitudes and judgments. Therefore, good intentions cannot always be correctly expressed and correctly understood. An example of a situation: the teacher is persistently trying to influence a difficult teenager, prepare him for adulthood, and a difficult teenager, due to his mostly negative life experience, perceives this as pure aggression. Another example: a teenager who is not very diligent and successful is compared with more successful people for reasons of motivation, that the child hears “You are a failure”, “You won’t succeed” (and he believes this assessment!).

    Three mental centers influence the mental activity, including the perception of your words and actions, according to the popular “Triple Mind” model. Moreover, only one of them is responsible for analyzing the situation, and the other two for emotions and reflexes (reptilian brain: fight, freeze, run). Nonviolent communication is directed to all three layers of the brain. Developing the skill of non-violent communication, we learn to express ourselves at three levels of perception, which allows us to accurately convey our message and our intentions.

    Key principles of the Nonviolent Communication method:

    • the freedom to choose another person
    • responsibility for your feelings only on yourself (not on another person!),
    • The intention with which we enter into non-violent communication is important.

    In the process of non-violent communication, people communicate information to each other in such a way that the parties have a chance to resolve conflicts and disagreements, in which everyone acquires in the relationship what is important to him.

    Non-violent communication versus patterns

    Speaking of unconscious actions and perception, we need to recall the patterns - patterns of behavioral reactions, stereotypic actions. The same patterns are characteristic for different areas of relationships: between family members, at work with colleagues, between teacher and students. Consider several well-known patterns, among which you can see familiar situations.

    Unhealthy relationship models

    Conscious non-violent communication leads to the formation of healthy relationships. They are characterized by the fact that even with attachment there is also autonomy, personal resources and independence from another person.

    The practice of non-violent communication: observing and keeping a diary

    • Get ready to get started. Make a decision to perceive reality and record facts without distortion, not relying on your stressful and affecting states. Learn to manage your stress.
    • Learn to watch. This will help you better understand what is behind the words of another person. Psychological method for training: imagine yourself as a video camera and impartially capture everything that you see around.
    • Understand the essence of an invaluable observation. Compare the expressions:
      • “He is late all the time!” / “Today is the second day that student Oleg comes to English classes at 19.45, although the schedule indicates the start time of classes at 19.30.”
      • “He is not capable of anything! Deutscher, what can I say! ”/“ In a quarter, a third of his estimates are deuces, there are 5–10 triples and 5–6 fours. ”
    • Practice being an invaluable observer. Try to reformulate the statements: “Recently, my husband was angry with me for no reason,” “Nikolai constantly“ plows ”at his job,“ “The teenager from 9„ A “is clearly aggressive,” “My son is lazy, rarely does the cleaning.”
    • Pay attention to situations of interdependent relationships. Do you have anything like this with any of your wards or colleagues? If there is, try to get out of the classic patterns.
    • Keep a diary. Commit in it:
      • Participation in patterns, their role in them.
      • Their life situations, requiring non-evaluative observation, an evaluative and non-evaluative description of these situations.
      • Когда и при каких обстоятельствах какие отделы мозга у вас включаются: «мозг человека» (неокортекс) занимающийся вопросами смыслов, целей и объяснений ситуации, «мозг млекопитающего», отвечающий за эмоциональное отношение, азарт, гнев, любовь и т.д., и «рептильный мозг», главное для которого — выживание и продолжение рода.

    К слову, ведение дневника интересно и многим подросткам. Ребята с радостью фиксируют в нем действия и суждения в представленной форме для рефлексии.