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What is Violent Communication?
If “violent” means acting in ways that result in hurt or harm, then much of how we communicate—judging others, bullying, having racial bias, blaming, finger pointing, discriminating, speaking without listening, criticizing others or ourselves, name-calling, reacting when angry, using political rhetoric, being defensive or judging who’s “good/bad” or what’s “right/wrong” with people—could indeed be called “violent communication.”
What is Nonviolent Communication?
Nonviolent Communication is the integration of four things:
• Consciousness: a set of principles that support living a life of compassion, collaboration, courage, and authenticity
• Language: understanding how words contribute to connection or distance
• Communication: knowing how to ask for what we want, how to hear others even in disagreement, and how to move toward solutions that work for all
• Means of influence: sharing “power with others” rather than using “power over others”
Nonviolent Communication serves our desire to do three things:
• Increase our ability to live with choice, meaning, and connection
• Connect empathically with self and others to have more satisfying relationships
• Sharing of resources so everyone is able to benefit
“Nonviolent Communication connects soul to soul, creating a lot of healing. It is the missing element in what we do.” —Deepak Chopra, author of How To Know God
“Dr. Rosenberghas brought the simplicity of successful communication into the foreground. No matter what issue you’re facing, his strategies for communicating with others will set you up to win every time.” —Anthony Robbins,author, Awaken the Giant Within and Unlimited Power
“Marshall Rosenberg’sdynamic communication techniques transform potential conflicts into peaceful dialogues and create compassionate connections. I highly recommend this book.” — John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus
“You have to be able to say, ‘Where is this person coming from?’ he says. ‘What makes them tick? Why are they excited or frustrated by something that is happening, whether it’s about computing or beyond computing?’ There’s far more to McCracken’s outstanding piece. Nadella gave him a close and honest look at both himself and Microsoft, and the result is a fun must-read.” — Ben Kerschberg, Forbes
“Upon becoming Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella asked his top executives to read Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication. . . . If empathy as a measure of emotional IQ is a predictor of success, then Nadella hit the nail on the head by inculcating the corporate giant with the trait from top to bottom. Why else is empathy important? Microsoft is both a services and a product company, and its offerings have to resonate with users. Nadella states: ‘You have to be able to say, “Where is this person coming from? What makes them tick? Why are they excited or frustrated by something that is happening, whether it’s about computing or beyond computing?”‘ — Harry McCracken, Fast Company
“The 1 Book That Transformed Microsoft’s Culture from Cutthroat to Creative.” — Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO
“Nadella’s time as CEO was initially shaped by Marshall Rosenberg’s ‘Nonviolent Communication,’ which he asked his top executives to read. This was the first indicator to senior leadership that Nadella would not operate like his predecessors” — Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, Business Insider
“The CEO of Microsoft, the most valuable company in the world, grounds himself and Microsoft’s culture on ideas he’s learned thanks to his reading habit. ‘I read a few pages here or a few pages there,’ Nadella told Fast Company. ‘There are a few books, of course, that you read end-to-end. But without books I can’t live.’ Nadella’s time as CEO was initially shaped by Marshall Rosenberg’s ‘Nonviolent Communication,’ which he asked his top executives to read. This was the first indicator to senior leadership that Nadella would not operate like his predecessors. Nadella recommended it to his leadership team, symbolically differentiating his expectations from that of his predecessors. Nonviolent communication integrates qualities like compassion and effective communication to allow for better leadership. Rosenberg writes from a position of experience and research: He has started peace programs in places throughout the world that have experienced the effects of war, including Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Serbia, and Ireland. This book outlines the principles of peaceful conflict resolution. It’s interesting to note that one of the concepts involves sharing power with others instead of using power over others. Nadella recommended it to his leadership team, symbolically differentiating his expectations from that of his predecessors. Reports have found that Microsoft used to have a conflict-heavy culture under Steve Ballmer — now there’s nonviolent communication coming from the top.” — Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, Business Insider
About the Author
Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD (1934–2015) founded and was for many years the Director of Educational Services for the Center for Nonviolent Communication, an international peacemaking organization. During his life he authored fifteen books, including the bestselling Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life (PuddleDancer Press), which has sold more than one million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 30 languages, with more translations in the works.
Dr. Rosenberg has received a number of awards for his Nonviolent Communication work including:
2014: Champion of Forgiveness Award from the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance
2006: Bridge of Peace Nonviolence Award from the Global Village Foundation
2005: Light of God Expressing in Society Award from the Association of Unity Churches
2004: Religious Science International Golden Works Award
2004: International Peace Prayer Day Man of Peace Award by the Healthy, Happy Holy (3HO) Organization
2002: Princess Anne of England and Chief of Police Restorative Justice Appreciation Award
2000: International Listening Association Listener of the Year Award
Dr. Rosenberg first used the NVC process in federally funded school integration projects to provide mediation and communication skills training during the 1960s. The Center for Nonviolent Communication, which he founded in 1984, now has hundreds of certified NVC trainers and supporters teaching NVC in more than sixty countries around the globe. A sought-after presenter, peacemaker and visionary leader, Dr. Rosenberg led NVC workshops and international intensive trainings for tens of thousands of people in over 60 countries across the world and provided training and initiated peace programs in many war-torn areas including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the Middle East.
He worked tirelessly with educators, managers, health care providers, lawyers, military officers, prisoners, police and prison officials, government officials, and individual families. With guitar and puppets in hand and a spiritual energy that filled a room, Marshall showed us how to create a more peaceful and satisfying world.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
A Language of Life
By Marshall B. Rosenberg, Lucy Leu
Copyright © 2015 PuddleDancer Press
All rights reserved.
Foreword by Deepak Chopra, MD,
1 Giving From the Heart,
2 Communication That Blocks Compassion,
3 Observing Without Evaluating,
4 Identifying and Expressing Feelings,
5 Taking Responsibility for Our Feelings,
6 Requesting That Which Would Enrich Life,
7 Receiving Empathically,
8 The Power of Empathy,
9 Connecting Compassionately With Ourselves,
10 Expressing Anger Fully,
11 Conflict Resolution and Mediation,
12 The Protective Use of Force,
13 Liberating Ourselves and Counseling Others,
14 Expressing Appreciation in Nonviolent Communication,
The Four-Part Nonviolent Communication Process,
Some Basic Feelings and Needs We All Have,
About Nonviolent Communication,
About PuddleDancer Press,
About the Center for Nonviolent Communication,
Trade Books From PuddleDancer Press,
Trade Booklets From PuddleDancer Press,
About the Author,
Giving From the Heart
The Heart of Nonviolent Communication
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, PhD
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?
My preoccupation with these questions began in childhood, around the summer of 1943, when our family moved to Detroit, Michigan. The second week after we arrived, a race war erupted over an incident at a public park. More than forty people were killed in the next few days. Our neighborhood was situated in the center of the violence, and we spent three days locked in the house.
When the race riot ended and school began, I discovered that a name could be as dangerous as any skin color. When the teacher called my name during attendance, two boys glared at me and hissed, “Are you a kike?” I had never heard the word before and didn’t know some people used it in a derogatory way to refer to Jews. After school, the same two boys were waiting for me: they threw me to the ground and kicked and beat me.
Since that summer in 1943, I have been examining the two questions I mentioned. What empowers us, for example, to stay connected to our compassionate nature even under the worst circumstances? I am thinking of people like Etty Hillesum, who remained compassionate even while subjected to the grotesque conditions of a German concentration camp. As she wrote in her journal at the time,
I am not easily frightened. Not because I am brave but because I know that I am dealing with human beings, and that I must try as hard as I can to understand everything that anyone ever does. And that was the real import of this morning: not that a disgruntled young Gestapo officer yelled at me, but that I felt no indignation, rather a real compassion, and would have liked to ask, ‘Did you have a very unhappy childhood, has your girlfriend let you down?’ Yes, he looked harassed and driven, sullen and weak. I should have liked to
In this edition, page numbers are just like the physical edition