Tea Time: Effective Communication (Marshall Rosenberg)

Feb 22, 20:30-1am . Impasse Chaptal Montpellier

This evening was my first opportunity to present Non-Violent Communication (inspired by Marshall Rosenberg’s workshops) to the EnglishStuff community and commit to discussing this topic and practicing it together for the next upcoming tea time events.

Those who are familiar with my strategy of learning, know that I do not claim to be the expert in the topic I present, but rather I feel personally motivated to learn and understand more about these topics of communication which interests me, and so these tea times are an opportunity for us to all learn together from each other.

In this workshop I outlined the basic kind of consciousness which effective communication supports, which is a consciousness of feelings and needs. We work of the axiom that all human beings have the same basic needs (sustenance, love, understanding, ect.) and we have been educated or programmed in some way, to not think in terms of our needs but instead of “who’s right!”

This right/wrong paradigm leads to violence through punishment or reward systems of influencing people. “I believe that any time we try to influence people using criticism, blame, insults, demands, ect. to get other to do what we want, even if they do what we request, it will be out of a guilt/shame/should energy, which will be very costly for both parties.Marshall R.

This way of thinking; that their are certain things you must do, or you deserve to be punished and suffer OR if you do what is define as ‘Right’ by authority you deserve a reward. This is a way of thinking designed to make us obedient to authority, and we have been educated in this thinking for about 10,000 years.

An example from the workshop:

If you ask yourself 2 questions, you will see that punishments/rewards dont work
1) Think of someone who is doing something you dont like. What would you like 
       them to do differently?
Sometime you will be able to find strategies of punishment or reward that will
work to get them to do what you want. but then ask yourself this:
2) What do you want the other persons reason to be for doing what you requested?


Effective Communication works on the understanding that we can live compassionately & peaceful through Compassionate Giving: from the heart, when it is done willingly, and out of the joy that comes naturally to us. I believe it makes us happy to contribute to life; our own life & the lives of others.

So we need not contribute more guilt, or shame, or fear of punishment, or trying to buy love. Giving out of this energy will be payed for by everybody. When we feel like someone is demanding something from us, it makes it difficult to give out of this compassionate energy. When we do something because we want to get rewarded we are also disconnected from this natural compassionate giving.

This effective (NVC) communication can be an amazing healing tool when combined with empathic connections & fulfilling each others need out of a compassionate giving energy.

How do we apply NVC within ourselves?

Many of us have been educated or programmed in a way of communicating that is quite unnatural. Using language that categorizes people and their actions. To judge what they are for doing what they are doing.

The more cultures think in terms of what people are, and what their actions are, the more violence in those cultures.

Marshall gives an example of an indigenous culture in Malaysia that asked Marshall to mediate a conflict between this tribe and a logging company that was encroaching and destroying the environment around the tribe. On the first day Marshall had a meeting with the translator who wanted to make some things clear about the difficulties in translation certain thoughts.

“Marshall, in our language we dont have the verb to be in the sense of judging people or their actions.”

“Huh? No insults or anything? How would you translate this; Your Selfish”

“Well that would be very difficult because in our language you can’t say that, we dont think that way.” 

“Well try anyways, how would you translate your selfish?”

“hmmmm, well I would say: Marshall sees you taking care of your needs, but not the needs of others. He’d like you to take care of the needs of others as well.”

This cultures natural native language was pure non-violent communication because instead of using moralistic judgements or criticism or blame or insults, they though of people and their actions in terms of feelings & needs. If you can express the need of yours that isn’t being met, which we find underneath our feelings and whats alive in us in the moment, and follow it up with a clear request, we have made it easier for the other person to give to us compassionately and fulfill our need. With NVC, every conflict can be solved in a way were everyones needs can get in a way that makes it joyful for us to fulfill each others needs. When both parties hear each others feelings & needs, and connect with each other empathetically based on these feelings and needs, the solution will be found quickly. In a lot of conflicts people skip the empathetic connections/ expression and listen to the needs, and go directly to solutions and strategies. In order for effective communication to work, this connections through a needs based consciousness in the foundation of conflict resolution.

effective comm workshop

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Liam Cornwell

Don't get a big head, your just a curious monkey....