2. The Basics of Nonviolent Communication with Marshall B. Rosenberg


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How to make clear requests after we have expressed our unmet need.

A clear request defined in giraffe is first, it's a positive action. We say what we do want, not what we don't want.

A woman gave me a very good example of what happens when you say what you don't want, in a workshop. She said, you've really helped me understand what happened to recently, Marshall. I said to my husband, I don't want you spending so much time work. Then I got furious with him, when he signed up for a golf tournament.

A teacher gave me a similar example. She said just yesterday, Marshall, I said to this young boy, please, I don't want you tapping on your book while I'm talking. He started to tap on his desk.

Saying what we don't want, doesn't make clear what we do want. If we frame our objectives in getting rid of something, it leads to violence, very often. It makes violence seem attractive, when we try to get rid of something.

For example, I was working with some teachers in the school in Rockford, Illinois, their observable behavior they wanted to work on is, on the average every three months, 38 broken windows in the school.

We got down to the request. I said, what do you want different from the students?

It's obvious. We don't want them breaking windows.

You're saying you don't want the children breaking windows. Yes.

What should we do? Kill them?

Research has demonstrated dead children break no windows.

Almost any time we think of what we want to get rid of. It makes violence look attractive. As stupid as that example was, I just gave, you look in the newspaper on any given day and see how many world leaders are saying, we're going to teach them not to. We're going to get them to stop. They think the violence is going to, see this always makes violence seem attractive.

It's only as I said earlier, when we get to questions clear, what do we want people to do? What do we want their reasons to be for doing it? Then I think we'll see violence never works.

We want to say what we want to say in the positive. What do we want the other person to do? What do we want them to start doing differently? Second that it needs to be clear action language.

(1:07:27) We can't do what this one wife did with her husband who came to a workshop with him.

She said, I want you to listen to me when I talk.

He said, I do listen.

No you don't.

Yes I do.

No you don't.

They told me they'd had this same conversation for 11 years. The problem is with the word. Listen, I see what does that. We can use the word, listen as a need. I have a need to be listened to.

But when we moved to requests, we need to speak action language. What specific action do we want this person to take?

We can't use the verb to be. I want you to be more friendly, not doable. We can't use feeling language. I want you to feel confidence in yourself. That's not doable. We need to be able to make very concrete requests, try it out with the behavior you've been writing about, in relation to what the other person did and your feelings and needs in relation to the action.

Imagine you're talking directly to the person and express a request using this form.

I would like you to, what do you want the person to do to meet your needs?

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