Book of the Week: Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Duchess Susanna and I have worked hard to improve our communication skills. All of us are taught in school how to speak a language, but not how to communicate. Our society often teaches that communication is not as important as power. We are taught that the most important thing is make sure you are not the loser. Nonviolent communication (NVC) provides tools to seek a win-win situation.
The ability to communicate better is important in relationships, whether they be personal or political. Too often we waste a great deal of time talking around what we need because we can’t figure out how to get to what what both really need. Even worse, we are most frustrated when we know we are reacting negatively to someone else’s emotional outburst, even though the voice in the back of our head wants to head us in a positive direction. Too many times we find that both parties walk away unhappy, and neither feel they have communicated what they want to say. Nonviolent communication teaches skills to help us work together to get what everyone needs..
I want to share my view of some of the skills I have gained from NVC training. First is active listening. That means stepping back from our emotional entanglement, and even our own need to feel we are solving someone else’s problem. Active listening means we are trying hard to understand what the other person is saying. We have to dig down to get at their concerns, without judgment. This allows us to understanding what their emotional state is, and what caused it. This often requires repeating back what they said in our own language to check with them if we are understanding correctly. Continue reading Royal Book of the Week: Monday 7/25/11