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What is NVC?


What is NVC?


Nonviolent Communication (NVC), as developed by Marshall Rosenberg, is both a consciousness and a specific set of communication skills.  It is the intention to put our attention on feelings and needs, with the goal of establishing connection.  Once connection is established, it is more likely that everyone's needs will be addressed effectively. NVC is about creating a world where everyone's needs matter.  In Marshall's words, it's about "making life more wonderful."


Key principles include:

  • We all have the same universal needs (e.g. physical survival, safety, community, freedom, meaning, etc.). Realizing this helps us move from a sense of difference or separation to experiencing our shared humanity with others.

  • Everything anyone does is an attempt to meet needs we all have, regardless of whether we approve their choice or it’s success.

  • When we are in touch with these needs, abundant strategies show up to meet them.

  • What people enjoy most is contributing to life energy - giving from the heart willingly and joyfully.  We're made for this.

  • NVC emphasizes personal responsibility for our own behaviors and feelings, liberating us from the idea that other people or situations make us do or feel things.

  • It also allows us to be clear and effective in asking for what we want and more honest and caring when responding to the requests of others.

These principles are not new. What NVC offers are the tools to live them out, including four practical skills:

  1. Making observations without judging or evaluating.

  2. Separating feelings from thoughts (judgments)

  3. Distinguishing universal human needs from strategies to meet them

  4. Making clear, specific, do-able requests to meet our needs (free of coercion, demands, judgments, threats, or blame).


Note:  Some people don't like the term "Nonviolent Communication." Sometimes other terms are used, e.g., "compassionate communication," "courageous communication," "collaborative communication," etc. Ultimately what matters is not so much the term used as the power of experiencing it for yourself.  For that, we invite you to check out the practice groups, classes, and workshops posted on this site, or find others interested in exploring NVC with you.