Nonviolent communication

by Anna Finlayson and Daren DeWitt

Common questions

  1. What is NVC?
  2. How can NVC help me?
  3. I’m not violent, so why would I need NVC?
  4. Aren’t I manipulating people if I use NVC?

 

1. What is NVC ?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC)SM is a simple, yet powerful process that helps us to understand ourselves and others more deeply, communicate more clearly and resolve conflicts more effectively.

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2. How can NVC help me?

NVC can help you in three types of situations:

  • When you are in conflict with another person, NVC can help you resolve conflicts peacefully and effectively
  • When someone is upset or in emotional turmoil, NVC is a powerful tool to support listening, understanding and empathising with them
  • When you are feeling confused, unsure, overwhelmed or angry, NVC can help you clarify and connect with what is going on inside yourself, and then work out what you can do about this.

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3. I’m not violent, so why would I need NVC?

Marshall Rosenberg uses the term ‘Nonviolent’ as Gandhi used it – to refer to our natural state of compassion when violence has subsided from our heart. While we may not believe we are ‘violent’, our words and thoughts often lead to pain for others and ourselves.

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4. Aren’t I manipulating people if I use NVC?

The intention of Nonviolent Communication is to create a quality of connection between yourself and the people you are communicating with that enables both of you to get your needs met through mutually-agreed solutions. If, instead of this, your intention is to get the other person to do what you want them to, then yes, you would be falling into ‘manipulation’ as it is commonly understood. However, you will find that this state of affairs won’t last for long, as the other person will start to distrust you if you are using NVC in this kind of way, and they will become more resistant to you! Therefore it is helpful, when using NVC, to check your intention and focus back on establishing the empathic connection between yourself and the other person, especially when you suspect you may have become intent on getting the other person to do what you want them to do.

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