Non-Violent Communication – Basics
13th Feb, 2019
Non-Violent Communication (NVC) is a Communication framework which offers a space to collaborate most effectively. It’s a compassionate communication where you try to build connection and trust by offering safe space just like Scrum team runs a safe to fail experiments called Sprint. Before jumping into how to adopt NVC at the workplace or to oneself or in a relationship, let’s take a peek into the basics of NVC.
NVC skills are the most tangible skills which will have the highest impact and is game-changing when applied and practiced effectively. It changes the way we look at the world and handle situations more effectively. I would like to start with a statement quoted by Thom Bond an NVC Trainer.
“Everything we do, everything you have ever done, Everything I have ever done, everything we ever are going to do, and everything ever any human being will ever do is all done for one reason.” i.e We are trying to meet our needs.
We have been habituated from infancy to look at the world through the lens of Judgement to meet our needs. The Judgement come in all forms like
- We do certain things that make us good
- If we do certain things that make us evil.
- If we do it this way it is right
- If we do the other way it is wrong
- We do things because we should
- We should not do things this way since it’s not accepted etc..
These Perspectives that we carry on with us from our young age keeps us occluded from the new learnings, accept the emerging organizational behavior changes and stops us from collaboration.
What NVC teaches us is to translate our Judgement thoughts to our needs thoughts which is a solution-oriented communication. It encourages us to share the views openly and frankly and hear/understand others view clearly.
NVC Framework consists of four components namely
Observation(O): Clear and specific observations keeping assumptions/perceptions out of it on what happened.
Feelings(F): Emotions arising out of the observations made.
Needs(N): Needs behind those feelings.
Request(R): Specific request to other people.
You might be wondering this doesn’t work at my workplace all these feelings need and emotions fit in only at the personal place or with close family but believe me at workplace also we for sure run through all these components (OFNR) of NVC. For e.g.:
When I interacted with my team, I sensed that my team is less collaborated. This worries me a lot since my need as a manager to achieve the sprint goal is hindered which in turn affects my organizational goal as well. So, Scrum Master could you please coordinate with my team and see what we can do differently so that the team gets more self-organized.
NVC has a specific framework (OFNR), but its less about the specifics of following the pattern and more about what the pattern represents. Just applying all the components and trying to match the pattern doesn’t mean you are applying NVC effectively rather it is manipulative and miscommunication of needs. For e.g.:
When I see the weird face, you made on hearing my Idea(assumption/judgment), I feel like… you are weird! Because I really need you to stop being weird…Would you please be willing to, …. stop making weird faces.
The above statement may look like matching the NVC framework but it is more like a Judgement-Assumption-Strategies-Demand Framework which can build more resentment and gap within the team.
If I translate this to NVC components it might more look like
Observation: I see the gestures that you are making.
Feeling: When I see this kind of gestures, I think or what crosses my mind is “You are not happy or you are not interested.” This makes me feel sad.
Need: I really need to express myself and need clarity on what exactly you are looking for.
Request: I really like to hear what’s happening within you.
This way NVC helps us to create an open communication which makes our own speechless harmful and clearer which, when applied at the workplace or at a personal level is game-changing.
Keep reading to gain more insight into the NVC in my subsequent blogs. Do clap if you like it and share your views and queries will be happy to explore more together.