If you’ve never heard of the non violent communication process, coined by psychologist, Marshall Rosenberg, and you’ve experienced communication breakdown (who hasn’t?), you’ll want to listen in on this wise protocol for how to communicate effectively.
The non violent communication process was originally presented in a book titled Non Violent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg. I’m a big fan of the process because it encourages collaborative communication and helps people avoid defensiveness and other pitfalls of communication.
To give an example of how the non violent communication process works (along with some of my own added enhancements), let’s imagine you’ve been given the task of creating a workshop in a short amount of time and you don’t feel like you have enough information to do it as well as you would like.
Step 1 — Make an observation based on an “I” statement
The first step in the process is to make an observation based on an “I” statement. That means you speak about what YOU are experiencing.
You don’t address the other person and start telling them what you think they need to do, because as soon as you start saying “you” to another person, it puts them on the defensive.
Here’s an example:
“I’m noticing that I’m feeling overwhelmed trying to create this workshop in such a short period of time when I don’t have the full landscape of the situation.”
Step 2 — State a need
The next step is to state a need. I recommend stating the need with something that’s in it for the other person.
Here’s an example:
“What I need is a more narrow focus so I can elevate this workshop to the next level of what you would have created on your own.”
Step 3 — Make a request based on your need
Next, make a request based on the need you have just stated.
“Would you be willing to help me narrow the focus so I can create something that helps the company and you look great?”
Step 4 — Get agreement
The fourth step is to get agreement from the other party by simply asking if this is something they can agree to.
The aim of this process is to establish a partnership with the other person on the project. It presents you as someone offering a possible solution, rather than someone who is simply making a complaint.
This can help you feel like you have an ally, and that you don’t have to take on an unreasonable project entirely by yourself.
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