Making Clear Requests

REQUESTS VS. DEMANDS In Collaborative Communication (aka Nonviolent Communication or NVC), we often discuss ways to make a clear and doable request, so folks know what we’re asking and, we hope, agree to do it. But we’re not always so precise about the distinction between requests

When Curiosity Killed the Rat (updated)

  Dear Friends— This article was originally published about five years ago. People seemed to find it helpful back then; it also feels relevant now. Not all problems can be resolved solely with active listening and empathy (often, we also need action, including restorative or protective solutions)

Bad Empathy Guesses: An Aspirational Guide

  YEARS AGO, WHEN I FIRST started working as a leadership coach and consultant in Collaborative Communication, my nightmare fantasy was that during a business meeting, I’d make a “bad” empathy guess about my client’s needs and values. As a rookie, I was convinced that this

The Head & the Heart

  MANY YEARS AGO, I was taking a sociology course and we received an odd assignment: At some point in the coming week, during an otherwise routine conversation, we were instructed to do or say something unfamiliar—something outside our comfort zone—and then report back on the

Noticing the Good: Expressing Appreciation

DURING THIS TIME OF PANDEMIC, it’s so easy to let one day merge into the next, without celebrating our accomplishments or mourning our losses. We’re stressed, we’re exhausted, we’re frustrated and anxious. We long for the ease and comfort of pre-COVID life, which seems very

One Next Step

YEARS AGO, WHEN I FIRST STARTED working in Collaborative Communication, I spent a lot of time worrying about my endgame. When I sat down to do a mediation, I thought I should know at the outset exactly how the conflict would be resolved. When I

Climate Control: Turning Down the Heat

FOR MY SOMETIMES SKEPTICAL clients and students: Two stories to prove that yes, Nonviolent Communication works in real life. While we probably won’t use NVC’s formal language (“Are you feeling sad, because you need support?”), as we select our own words, we can still embody

Life Hack: Resolutions That (Really) Work

SO HERE WE ARE at the beginning of January and the annual question arises: Will we set personal goals for the new year—or just burrow into the sofa with a warm blanket? Resolutions are hard: we love them, we make them, sometimes we don’t keep

When Curiosity Killed the Rat

  RECENTLY I PRESENTED a workshop on Collaborative Communication to an organization wanting to learn how to talk across the political divide. During Q&A, the participants cut straight to the chase: “What is the one most important thing to know about effective communication?” they asked. “What

NVC in the Wild

Over the years I’ve encountered many people—friends, colleagues, clients—who are put off by the language of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). It’s too jargony, they say. Too artificial. And way too “woo-woo.” And I get it because sometimes I don’t like the vocabulary of NVC either. Because