Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a book, a program, and a language of compassion. It helps people change their habitual responses, particularly in situations involving conflict, in a way that honors everyone’s basic human needs. The starting assumption is that underlying all of our actions are needs that we seek to meet. Entering our communications with this in mind gives rise to more compassionate and ultimately more effective exchanges.

There are two roles in communicating nonviolently: honestly expressing ourselves and empathically hearing others. Both involve learning to honor four simple components: making observations without evaluating, expressing feelings (not thoughts), sharing needs, and making clear requests.

What NVC helps you eliminate are the judging, interpreting, evaluating and demanding that make communicating brutal. This compassionate approach allows us to express ourselves and hear others in ways that are more likely to lead to understanding and connection.

NVC was developed by Marshall Rosenberg, who has taught his methods all over the world: with warring tribes; in prisons, schools and corporate settings; and with individuals in intimate relationships. We offer NVC instruction to our facilitators periodically at Suppers, primarily because maintaining a safe and friendly environment that is free of judgment and criticism is vital to success but also challenging to provide.