Nonviolent Communication

A Language of Life
by Marshall B. Rosenberg | Puddledancer Press © 2003 · 222 pages

Nonviolent Communication has sold over 1,000,000 copies. Why? It works. There are four key components to NVC: Observations + Feelings + Needs + Requests. In this Note, we'll take a quick look at each of them along with some other Big Ideas to communicate more compassionately.

What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.
Marshall B. Rosenberg

“Believing that it is our nature to enjoy giving and receiving in a compassionate manner, I have been preoccupied most of my life with two questions: What happens to disconnect us from our compassionate nature, leading us to behave violently and exploitatively? And conversely, what allows some people to stay connected to their compassionate nature under even the most trying circumstances? …

While studying the factors that affect our ability to stay compassionate, I was struck by the crucial role of language and our use of words. I have since identified a specific approach to communicating—both speaking and listening—that leads us to give from the heart, connecting us with ourselves and with each other in a way that allows our natural compassion to flourish. I call this approach Nonviolent Communication, using the term nonviolence as Gandhi used it—to refer to our natural state of compassion when violence has subsided from the heart.”

~ Marshall B. Rosenberg from Nonviolent Communication

Based on Gandhi’s ideal of nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication (or NVC for short) is also known as “Compassionate Communication.”

I think it could also be appropriately described simply as “Effective Communication.” As the cover of the book declares: “More than 1,000,000 copies sold for one simple reason: it works!”

I’ve been planning to read this book for quite some time and, after seeing both Brené Brown (see Notes on Daring Greatly + The Gifts of Imperfection) and Kristin Neff (see Notes on Self-Compassion) rave about it, I decided now was the time. I was blown away by the goodness.

I’m inspired by not only the theory and practices laid out in the book but by Marshall B. Rosenberg’s lifetime commitment to mastering communication and helping us, as he would say, create a compassionate flow btwn ourselves and others based on mutual giving from the heart.

You can get the book here. Learn more about Marshall and NVC here. For now, let’s jump in and take a quick high-level look at NVC along with a few of my favorite Big Ideas!

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About the author


Marshall B. Rosenberg

Founder of The Center for Nonviolent Communication.