Non-Violent Communication – Basics

Non-Violent Communication – Basics

Vivek Jayaraman
13th Feb, 2019

Non-Violent Communication – Basics

Non-Violent Communication (NVC) is a Communication framework that offers a space to collaborate most effectively. It’s a compassionate communication where you try to build connection and trust by offering a safe space just like the Scrum team runs a safe-to-fail experiment 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 are game-changing when applied and practiced effectively. It changes the way we look at the world and handles 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 it 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 a young age keep us occluded from new learnings, accept the emerging organizational behavior changes and stop us from collaboration.

What NVC teaches us is to translate our Judgement thoughts to our needs thoughts which is solution-oriented communication. It encourages us to share our views openly and frankly and hear/understand others' views 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 the 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 collaborative. 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

ObservationI see the gestures that you are making.

FeelingWhen I see this kind of gesture, I think that what crosses my mind is “You are not happy or you are not interested.” This makes me feel sad.

NeedI really need to express myself and need clarity on what exactly you are looking for.

RequestI really like to hear what’s happening within you.

This way NVC helps us to create 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.

With 11+ years of experience in the field, Leanpitch has successfully upskilled 90,000+ people across 12+ countries. Explore our website, Our trainers are internationally acclaimed for their insightful and experiential training.

We upskill and boost your career by providing a wide range of courses such as CSPO, CSM, ICP-ACC, etc. visit our website to learn more about all the courses we offer.

Don't Miss Out

Get latest updates about new and exciting opportunities delivered to your inbox

Publish Your Blog

We are inviting authors to write blogs. If you are interested in writing and sharing your knowledge as blogs, get in touch with us.
Submit your blogs to