Frequently Asked Questions
While NVC is much more than a communication model, the components below provide a structural concept of the process that leads to giving and receiving from the heart.
- Honestly Expressing how I am and what I would like without using blame, criticism or demands
- Empathically Receiving how another is and what he/she would like without hearing blame, criticism or demands
Whether expressing or receiving, NVC focuses our attention on four pieces of information:
- Observations—Objectively describing what is going on without using evaluation, moralistic judgment, interpretation or diagnosis
- Feelings—Saying how you feel (emotions and body sensations) about what you have observed without assigning blame
- Needs—The basic human needs that are or not being met and are the source of feelings
- Requests—Clear request for actions that can meet needs
Most of us are hungry for skills that can improve the quality of our relationships, to deepen our sense of personal empowerment or simply help us communicate more effectively. Unfortunately, most of us have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand and diagnose; to think and communicate in terms of what is “right“ and “wrong“ with people. At best, the habitual ways we think and speak hinder communication and create misunderstanding and frustration. And still worse, they can cause anger and pain, and may lead to violence. Without wanting to, even people with the best of intentions generate needless conflict.
NVC helps us reach beneath the surface and discover what is alive and vital within us, and how all of our actions are based on human needs that we are seeking to meet. We learn to develop a vocabulary of feelings and needs that helps us more clearly express what is going on in us, and understand what is going on it others, at any given moment . When we understand and acknowledge our needs, we develop a shared foundation for much more satisfying relationships. Join the thousands of people worldwide who have improved their relationships and their lives with this simple yet revolutionary process.
Life-Changing Benefits of NVC in:
Parenting and Families
- Reduce family conflicts and sibling rivalry
- Move beyond power struggles to cooperation and trust
- Create a quality of connection that embodies unconditional love
- Protect and nurture the autonomy of children
- Motivate using “power-with” rather than “power-over” strategies
- Deepen your emotional connections
- Transform judgment and criticism into understanding and connection
- Listen so others are really heard
- Get what you want more often without using demands, guilt or shame
- Hear the needs behind whatever anyone does or says
Education and Schools
- Maximize the individual potential of all students
- Strengthen students’ interest, retention and connection to their work
- Improve safety, trust and connection in your classroom
- Improve classroom teamwork, efficiency and cooperation
- Strengthen classroom and teacher-parent relationships
Personal Growth and Healing
- Transform shame and depression into personal empowerment
- Heal old pain
- Transform unhealthy habits
- Stay connected to your own needs and preferences
- Eat by choice, not by habit
- Improve teamwork, efficiency and morale
- Increase meeting productivity
- Maximize the quality of your services or products
- Maximize your organization’s benefit to the community
- Transform anger before it leads to behavior you’ll regret
- Discover the needs behind your anger
- Learn to appreciate what triggers you and others
- Identify solutions that are satisfying to everyone
- Express anger in ways that connect us to others
- Strengthen employee morale and loyalty
- Resolve workplace conflicts quickly and effectively
- Reduce office stress and absenteeism
- Maximize the potential of all employees
- Hear and address customer needs more effectively
- Offer employee evaluations that promote personal growth
- Improve the effectiveness of job and college interviews
- Resolve conflicts peacefully—personal or public, domestic or international
- Get to the heart of conflict and disputes quickly
- Improve cooperation––listen so others are really heard
- Transform criticism and blame into compassionate connection
- Prevent future pain and misunderstanding
- Connect your actions to your spiritual values
- Transform enemy images and moralistic judgments
- Connect to our common humanity
- Overcome cultural conditioning that promotes violence
- Care for your own needs first to fuel compassion for others
How NVC is different from other tools:
- Unique Assumptions--NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies--whether verbal or physical--are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. It also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that all actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs.
- It's Simple--NVC offers an effective four-step communication process that's easy to grasp.
- More Than a Communication Model--NVC goes beyond communication techniques by showing us how to stay connected to the life energy in ourselves and others. It also helps us to be conscious about the impact of how we think and how we use language in everyday conversation.
- Broad Application--NVC is a powerful tool with a variety of applications, from interpersonal relationships to international negotiation; personal healing to conflict resolution; social change to drug/alcohol treatment; trauma recovery to prison inmate rehabilitation.
- Results Are Substantial--NVC helps transform anger, destructive attitudes and habitual behaviors into more peaceful, life-serving actions. Around the globe, NVC has contributed to a significant reduction in violence in some of the most war-torn regions. NVC helps individuals, families and organizations reduce conflict, foster trust, deepen emotional connections, heal pain and strengthen personal empowerment.
NVC can help reduce conflict:
- Develop Your Emotional Vocabulary--Improve your ability to clearly express your feelings and needs. Your expanded emotional vocabulary will help you avoid making moralistic judgments, blaming others for your feelings, and using other strategies that often contribute to conflicts. Teach your children these skills to empower them to resolve their conflicts peacefully.
- Stay Connected to Your Feelings and Needs--Prevent and reduce conflicts by learning to stay connected to your feelings and needs through self-empathy. Increase satisfying outcomes from emotionally charged situations by entering them from a place of calm and compassion, rather than defensiveness or anger.
- Break Negative, Habitual Patterns--Overcome habitual patterns that often lead to conflict. Transform thinking patterns like moralistic judgments, blame, criticism, shoulds and "have-tos" that can lead to anger, depression, guilt or shame.
- Hear the Needs Behind All Behavior--NVC teaches us that all behavior--even behavior we dislike--is a strategy to meet one of the many needs we all have in common. Diminish anger, violence and conflict by connecting to the needs behind whatever anyone does or says.
- Get to the Heart of Conflict Quickly--Defuse heated situations before they lead to behavior you'll regret. Use empathy to let others know they are really heard--which is often all that is needed to transform conflict into powerful connection.
NVC can improve the quality of my personal and professional relationships:
Personal & Family Relationships
- Make Clear, "Doable" Requests--Get what you want more often by learning how to make requests that are actually "doable", easy to understand and can be done willingly. Learn alternatives to coercive behaviors like demands, threats of punishment or promises of reward that often motivate people to fulfill our requests from a sense of fear, guilt or shame.
- Find Greater Intimacy--Strengthen your connection to your partner, siblings, family and friends by more clearly understanding their values, hopes and needs.
- Listen More Effectively--Learn how to listen so your partner, colleague or family member is confident he/she has been heard. Learn how to translate another's negative language into feelings and needs in order to transform emotionally charged situations into powerful connections.
- Stay Connected to Your Values--Deepen your personal connections by entering all interactions from a place of compassion.
Professional & Business Relationships
- Lead More Effectively--NVC helps leaders let go of "power-over" leadership styles, such as
- the coercive use of threats of punishment or promises of reward, which can lead to resistance and often stifle individual creativity and potential. Leaders learn a "power-with" approach that respects and values everyone's needs. The NVC approach to leadership enhances personal power, strengthens teamwok and maximizes individual potential.
- Provide More Meaningful Employee Evaluations--Provide staff with more empowering, meaningful evaluations that move beyond moralistic judgments of good/bad or right/wrong. Instead, identify specific behaviors that are or are not meeting needs, that present clear requests and create specific agreements for future actions.
- Get to the Heart of Workplace Conflict Quickly--Mediate conflict more quickly by ensuring each person or party is really heard. Facilitate the communication of specific obser- vations, the expression of feelings and the unmet needs that have triggered the conflict. Then create specific remedies that satisfy everyone's needs, without compromise.
- Improve Employee Morale--Improve employee morale by learning how to effectively acknowledge and value the needs of the entire workforce. Help ensure staff or colleagues are heard--often for the first time.
Positive cultural shifts NVC is creating:
- An Internal Culture of Peace--Peace in the world begins with creating an internal culture of peace. NVC helps us live peacefully in deed and word by entering any interaction from a compassionate consciousness. It also provides us effective tools to heal pain, find mutually satisfying resolution to conflict and to get our needs met peacefully.
- A New Generation of Corporate and Community Leaders--NVC is creating a new generation of leaders who know how to empower individuals, groups and communities without using coercion, fear of punishment or demands. Employers and communities are already witnessing substantial benefits in the effectiveness of their workforce and the rate at which we progress professionally and technologically.
- A New Generation of Communicators--NVC is helping establish a new generation who have better skills to express their feelings and needs, to act from a place of compassion and to establish emotional connections that put meeting needs first.
- Schools That Support Students' Emotional Safety--NVC is helping create a new movement in education rooted in the importance of teaching emotional intelligence and establishing emotional safety in the classroom. Schools and classrooms that integrate NVC are already noticing improvements in test scores, a reduction in conflicts and violence, improved workforce preparedness and an increase in civic engagement.
- An Empowered Peace Activism--Marshall Rosenberg's message helps us work for social transformation from a place of understanding and compassion, rather than a place of fear, anger or moralistic judgment. We learn to hear the needs behind all behaviors, to ground our responses in compassion and act from a desire to meet our common needs.
- A Reduction in Violence by Addressing its Cause: Unmet Needs--NVC helps us move beyond the symptoms of violence to address its root cause--unmet needs. From substance abuse to domestic violence; from emotional abuse to anger management programs; and from social work to international peacekeeping efforts--NVC gives us the tools for more powerful, effective and substantive change.