Veteran Peacemaker, Marshall Rosenburg teaches his readers the 4 steps to creating harmony and better accord in their lives through their words. Readers will learn how to use empathy to speak their truth, while acknowledging the emotional needs in others, how to dissolve volatile situations and how to disarm powerful emotions like fear, anxiety or anger in their tracks. Families, businesses, students, teachers all ove the world ave benefitted from this approach, now ordinary people can also learn how to create more peace in their lives.
My key Takeaways from “Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values" by Marshall Rosenberg PhD
Takeaway #1 Communicating Compassionately & Clearly
When you see that someone has done something that they know you dislike, whether it's your husband leaving dirty socks around the house or your kids not putting their toys away, rather than losing your temper and yelling at them, stop and observe the situation. Are you mad because you have to repeat yourself and don't feel heard or another reason? When the red mist has cleared, tell the person clearly and compassionately what you would like them to do and why; identify your needs without resorting to the blame game. You could say “When I see your dirty socks laying around I feel frustrated, I need to live in a clean and orderly home. Would you be willing to put your socks in the laundry basket without me needing to remind you?”
You can continue to communicate effectively by clearly articulating your feelings and being clear with your words. Don't be vague – Saying “I feel a bit down” or “Everyone is ignoring me” fails to convey your exact emotional state or the exact situation at hand.
Takeaway #2 Keep Your Observations Away From Your Evaluations
It's difficult to separate the two but you should avoid using the words “you never” or “you always” and instead refer to a particular moment. For example, “John is always late to work” is an evaluation where as “John does not arrive before 8.30am” is more exact. By being specific you reduce the likelihood of a misunderstanding and lessen criticism which makes the recipient defensive.
You should also avoid labeling people as this makes you think that you already know what the person is thinking. For example, if you label someone as a liberal, when you're having a discussion with them you will presume you already know their answer.
Takeaway #3 Learning To Listen
Listen emphatically, try to feel what the other person is feeling by asking questions instead of offering advice or reassurance and remember that what people say they need is not always the same as what they truly need.
When someone comes up to you with a criticism, repeat it back to them which allows them to agree and expand I.e “You're so lazy” - “I'm lazy?” - “Yes, you're so lazy, you didn't put the garbage out or walk the dog”. In this way you get to the bottom of the problem, can explain your reason for not doing it – or apologize – and there's no misunderstanding, providing you've kept your temper. Most often the problem won't actually be with you but will be because the other person didn't do or remember something so you can communicate calmly to put actions into place so it doesn't happen again or so that you agree on a turn-taking system.