Archives for NVC

Empowering Questions

Sometimes the question is more important than the answer.  How can we discern what questions to ask?


This is a companion post to my earlier article,  Compassion in Listening

In Compassion in Listening, I wrote about the basic idea that when we listen to others, we are not fully available to hear what they are trying to express unless we clear our minds of our preconceived notions and ideas about what they are going to say.   In other words, we must open our minds to hear what they truly want to express, rather than just listening for what we want to hear.

Read More

10 Things We Can Do to Contribute to Internal, Interpersonal, and Organizational Peace

(1) Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how we would like to relate to ourselves and others.

(2) Remember that all human beings have the same needs. 


(3) Check our intention to see if we are as interested in others getting their needs met as our own.

(4) When asking someone to do something, check first to see if we are making a request or a demand.

(5) Instead of saying what we DON’T want someone to do, say what we DO want the person to do.

(6) Instead of saying what we want someone to BE, say what action we’d like the person to take that we hope will help the person be that way.

(7) Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone’s opinions, try to tune in to what the person is feeling and needing.

(8) Instead of saying “No,” say what need of ours prevents us from saying “Yes.”

(9) If we are feeling upset, think about what need of ours is not being met, and what we could do to meet it, instead of thinking about what’s wrong with others or ourselves.

(10) Instead of praising someone who did something we like, express our gratitude by telling the person what need of ours that action met.


(This list is directly quoted from the web page for the Center for Nonviolent Communication.  The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) would like there to be a critical mass of people using Nonviolent Communication language so all people will get their needs met and resolve their conflicts peacefully. They write:  “[original copyright] 2001, revised 2004 Gary Baran & CNVC. The right to freely duplicate this document is hereby granted.” )

Nonviolent Communication Illustrated

(Originally posted on Peaceworks blog, 2/14/10)

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m posting this YouTube video which demonstrates how to express negative feelings to our loved ones in ways that open rather than shut down communication.



Nonviolent communication, or NVC, is a method of communicating which was pioneered by Marshall Rosenberg, who founded the Center For Nonviolent Communication.  (This video was produced by Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (@BayNVC on Twitter).)  If you want to learn more, I highly recommend the book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life which can be purchased from

The concepts of Nonviolent Communication ( NVC)  are easy to grasp, and I encourage everyone to become familiar with them.   The techniques of NVC help us to communicate on a deeper level, getting to the level of feelings and needs rather than principles and positions.  The basic principle is to focus on what is sometimes referred to as “I” statements, and to formulate our requests into an explanation that includes our observations, feelings, needs, and then requests.  Each of these elements takes some simple training to understand.  It’s easy to grasp the theory, but sometimes much harder to overcome old habits to put the new ways into practice!

For me personally, putting the concepts of communication into practice is the larger challenge.  It requires that we abandon old, negative ways of relating and that we adopt new ways of communicating that are more positive.  I re-read this book at least once per year, and I often share it with clients.  It’s an easy book to read, has simple charts that help one put the new principles into practice immediately, and many of my clients report that it helped them greatly.


Protected: Breaking Impasse in Negotiations

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

%d bloggers like this: