Resolving conflict using Nonviolent Communication

Using Nonviolent Communication to defuse conflict
Nonviolent Communication was developed in the 1970s by Marshall Rosenberg as a way to get beyond the typical elements of conflict, and to encourage empathy by both parties.


It requires you to adopt the mindset that the other person isn’t trying to annoy you on purpose, and then works to overcome differences and expand understanding of each other. It works like this:

  • Observation: A neutral statement of what’s going on.
“When you give me a large piece of work at 4 o’clock on a Friday…”
  • Feelings: An accurate statement of how you feel. Avoid saying “you make me feel” and concentrate on the feelings themselves.
“I feel stressed because I want to do a good job, and concerned that I’ll miss a personal appointment after work.”
  • Needs: A statement of your internal needs. Avoid phrases which begin with “I need you to… (XYZ)”.
“I need to know that I can deliver work to my usual high quality, and that I will be able to see my friends after work.
  • Request: A reasonable request that would meet your needs, and hopefully those of the other person as well.
“So could we take 15 minutes to understand exactly what you need, why, and when, and look at how I can help you get that whilst not missing my appointment this evening?”

Nonviolent Communication isn’t designed to instantly resolve the issue, but to get both parties talking in a reasonable way (responding rather than reacting). The dialogue may then lead to a mutually-acceptable action plan.

Used as permitted by CNVC: www.cnvc.org

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