Nonviolent Communication

This article aims to draw the reader's attention to how we can deal with our particularly "unpleasant" feelings and at the same time strengthen relationships. Whether it is a working relationship or a relationship with relatives, the daughter, the father, the mother or the spouse - the principle remains the same. Behind Marshall B. Rosenberg's principle of non-violent communication, a certain attitude should be conveyed that can make it possible to live the theory in practice.

A girl hugs a lion - Nonviolent communication is the goal of every conflict.

About the inventor of Nonviolent Communication, Marshall B. Rosenberg

“If we don't take our needs seriously, neither will others. Your presence is the most valuable gift you can give another human being. Depression is the reward for being good.”

Marshall B Rosenberg

Growing up in precarious circumstances in Detroit at the end of World War II, Rosenberg regularly experienced violence in various forms. His father also seemed little Empathy for his son, which is why he called him “Stone Face”.

The mother was an outgoing card player and professional bowler who encouraged her boy to fight back mercilessly in conflicts. Marshall Rosenberg resorted to a dual strategy. He made himself invisible within the family. At school and on the streets, he developed into a feared brawler. Nonviolent communication is applicable to any conflict.

The rest of the story is also characterized by numerous hurdles, pain and violence, which I do not want to go into further in this article.

Today, Marshall B. Rosenberg is known as the inventor of nonviolent communication, which is being embraced around the world, particularly in troubled regions like Israel.

Nonviolent communication is based on four essential iterative steps (cf. Rosenberg, 2016):

1. The observation

Let's say a person has been disrespectful to you, wants to test boundaries, or just has pent-up anger or Stress drain. The person orders you to do this or that, verbally abuses you, or even oversteps physical boundaries. At the appropriate moment we are often overwhelmed with the situation. As soon as we manage to find the necessary distance, we can watch what is happening in front of our inner eye as soberly as possible, like a film.

2. The feeling

Depending on how the situation unfolded and how we perceive the world, feelings arise that arise from whether a need has been met or not. In conflict situations, a need is often not sufficiently met. To illustrate, here are some simple ones inspired by Vera F. Birkenbihl circular models, all "known" feelings represent visually in categories. This facilitates the process of becoming clear about the situation. Anger, in particular, is one such emotion that tends to be so dominant that it overshadows or drowns out something beyond. A healthy culture of debate can be enhanced by Nonviolent Communication.

3. The need

The need is the cause behind the corresponding feelings. What needs me is the appropriate question about it. Here, too, there are helpful overviews of a wide variety of needs on the Internet. Once you're in Coaching or in the self reflection If you have recognized the need associated with the feeling, you have completed an essential step. You have clarified yourself and can now move on to the fourth and last step. Nonviolent communication is not just a trend.

4. The request

The request is a specific formulation of how you would like to resolve the situation or conflict in the future. This includes a clear I-message to the other person who is involved in the situation. A formulation can be something like: “Dear Peter, yesterday at the end of our Teammeetings observed that you me before the entire Team referred to as a 'know-it-all'. This made me very angry and depressed because my need for recognition and respect was not sufficiently met. I ask that you tell me such comments personally in the future and give me an example so that I can learn from them.”

During coaching, a clarifying conversation can be prepared by reflecting on and working through the four individual steps. Of course, everyone can do this for themselves, as long as the principle is understood and the necessary ability to reflect is present. Sometimes coaching doesn't make sense, read about it here our article.

Only after self-reflection can the scenario either be practiced playfully in coaching or communicated to the relevant person.

The setting is essential for the conversation with both of those affected, as is the willingness of the other person when and how he or she is ready to seek an exchange! Once you have practiced this principle for some time, you will see the almost limitless possibilities behind it. Let's talk nonviolent communication.

Another step can then be to first give the other person empathy before you start communicating your own points. This does not have to be in the immediate presence of the person, but can happen at home during coaching or even on a walk by simply thinking about the person, putting yourself in the situation and noticing what that is doing to you. Also read our article about provocative co-branding.

We hope this summary will help you communicate. If you want to dig deeper, we are, Ihr Coaching Institut, here for you! Have you ever been over Executive coaching thought? We got you one leadership guide compiled in this article.

What is Nonviolent Communication and how does it work?

Nonviolent Communication is a communication method developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg. The method consists of four steps: observation, emotion, need and request. By using these steps, conflicts and misunderstandings should be avoided and clear and sensitive communication should be achieved. The aim of non-violent communication is to create a connection between the interlocutors and to promote open, appreciative and respectful communication.

How can Nonviolent Communication be used in everyday life?

Nonviolent communication can be used in many ways in everyday life, e.g. B. to resolve conflicts, negotiate compromises or communicate needs and desires. It is important to listen attentively and empathetically, to focus on your own needs and feelings and to adopt an open and respectful attitude. Through clear and appreciative communication, misunderstandings can be avoided and constructive cooperation can be achieved.

How can you learn and practice Nonviolent Communication?

Nonviolent communication can be learned and practiced through training and practice. There are different ways to learn Nonviolent Communication, e.g. B. workshops, seminars, books or online courses. It is important to understand the methods and principles of Nonviolent Communication and gain practical experience through role play and exercises. The regular application and reflection of Nonviolent Communication in everyday life can help to improve communication skills and resolve conflicts and misunderstandings more effectively.

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Rosenberg, MB (2016). Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. Junfermann Verlag GmbH.

Sofatutor GmbH (2022, July 30). The Essay Wheel to Feelings.


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