The four key ingredients of NVC
As well as being aware of our intention when communicating, NVC encourages us to focus on four key areas of communication, which we call the four key ingredients. Below is a summary of the four ingredients. We will expand on these in separate pages.
We clarify exactly what we have seen or heard that has triggered our upset us. We are
encouraged to express our observation free from judgments, labels and criticisms that are likely to
We aim to accurately identify the feelings that have been triggered inside us as a
result of the situation and express those feelings, free from language that attacks and lays blame on the
Identifying the deep, powerful forces inside us which motivate all our behaviour and
which generate our feelings and then connecting to and finding a language to express these deep needs is the
unique contribution that NVC makes to conflict resolution and communication skills in general. Hearing and
expressing the needs inside ourselves and others has tremendous healing power, whether in a conflict
situation or when supporting someone who is in deep pain.
It is also important to be clear about what specific actions we would like taken to
meet our unmet needs, and who we would like to take these actions. Communicating our needs separately from
our requests creates freedom and flexibility. The other person may not be willing to do what we request of
them, but when they are connected to our need, they are freed up to think of something they can do that
meets our need and that also works for them.