In all of our interactions with other people it obviously makes good sense to use effective communication. Without it we run the risk of the interaction failing and the message not getting through. Isolation, hurt, pain and frustration are usually the result. Good communication skills are in everyone’s rational self-interest.
In this weeks podcast I interview Ron De Brito, a practitioner and advocate of Non Violent Communication (NVC), and we discuss ways in which this approach can facilitate better communication.
The technique was first pioneered by Marshall Rosenburg and has attracted many advocates. However, it is important to appreciate that NVC is not a formula for all communications. As always context determines appropriate action. For many situation this technique will not be appropriate.
One of the central principles of NVC is that communication must move beyond the concepts of right and wrong. Sometimes this is appropriate, but clearly not as a catch all principle of communication. This is where the work of the truth seeker and thinker must be done. Questions must be asked, such as: What is the context? What method of communication is appropriate in this case?
The concepts of right and wrong are central to all successful human life, and as truth seekers we are aware of this and focused on it with the concept of truth. But we must also bear in mind that communication fails when one person involved feels attacked or unduly judged. It all depends on context. There is a phrase used to promote the idea of NVC wish goes…
“Beyond ideas of right and wrong, there is a field. I will meet you there”
I advocate caution here, and respectfully remind potential users of NVC to always bear in mind the context. Right and wrong should be subordinated to communication only where appropriate otherwise we are throwing out the baby with the bath water!
It is similar with the idea of respecting people’s feelings. Obviously in delicate communication situations feelings must be acknowledged and respected. However, if we are not careful here we can fall prey to political correctness, which is the elevation of feelings above rational thought. And also we must remember that thinking is our means to knowledge, not feeling. As long as we are aware of these things, of course, being aware of the feeling of the one we are communicating with is very important.
Having said that, I still hold that NVC can be a very useful tool in improving our communication skills.
Here are some of the many websites offering information and lists of local practitioners.
Ron De Brito’s website is https://www.rondebrito.co.uk