NVC (non-violent communication) feedback is adapted from the works of Marshall Rosenberg and The Center for Nonviolent Communication. The goal behind this framework is communication without blame or judgment. We have learned that it is this judgment in language that tends to alienate, separate, and isolate people creating conflict and confrontation. Feelings in and of themselves have a tendency to be somewhat charged with energy and emotion, hence the difference between feelings and thoughts or logic.
The research shows that when these feelings aren’t addressed or acknowledged that charge increases exponentially. It is the gap between these desired feelings and needs and what really takes place that creates stress, frustration, anxiety, and sometimes hostility.
This framework provides an organized and responsible method for acknowledging those feelings hence reducing any perceived gap in expectations giving people a communication outlet for behavioral refinement. The framework uses four elements:
|Observation||Describe the behavior. Describe what is seen and/or heard. Do not provide any interpretations or justification for the behavior. Do no attempt to evaluate it or give any qualitative explanation. For example, instead of saying, “I’ve seen you throw a temper tantrum in the middle of the hall,” you could say, “I’ve heard you raise your volume at others, seen you close your mailbox door making a loud noise, and walk away in a very hurried fashion.”|
|Feelings||Describe the emotions you felt as a result of the observation. Your emotions should be the way you feel and not the way you may think others make you feel. There should be no implication of ill intent on the other person’s behalf in your description of your feelings. For example, instead of saying, “I feel manipulated” or “I feel used,” which includes an interpretation of another person’s behavior because the term “manipulate” and “used” requires ill intent or maliciousness on the part of the other person, you could say, “I feel unappreciated.”|
|Needs||Our feelings are derived from needs. The needs are universal (i.e., air, water, safety, new opportunities, etc.) and independent of others’ actions. State your need rather than the other person’s actions as the cause. This puts the responsibility on you as opposed to giving power to others. For example, you could say, “I feel unappreciated because I need support,” as opposed to, “I feel unappreciated because you don’t stand up for me.”|
|Request||Suggest a new behavior. The behavior must be doable, immediate, and stated in a constructive manner describing what you want as opposed to what you don’t want. It should also be stated in the form of a question as opposed to a demand. For example, you could say, “Don’t slam your door,” or “Don’t throw a temper tantrum.” However, the recommendation is to say, “Would you mind using a lower volume within the building?” or “Would you please close it without such force?”|
Click on the links below for a downloadable WORD version that you can fill-out and print, as well as examples to review.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO REMEMBER:
Not all issues are looking for resolution. This template can also be used to provide empathy to people who are looking to share. Use the two middle steps:
- Feelings: Identify the way the person feels.
- Needs: Help understand why they feel that way.
In this situation, there is no need to seek solutions.