The Art of the NVC Request

This blog entry addresses the art of the request, which is actually the 4th step in the 4-step NVC process. As you may know, Marshall suggests that we make our requests very, very specific, asking for positive, feasible actions that we would like someone to agree now to do or say (not things we want them to stop doing or saying).
This may require some very careful forethought as to what it is exactly that we want from someone. We may need to reflect on the pain of our unmet needs, and then focus our attention intently on what we really *do* need deep down, and precisely what actions or words would best meet those needs.
Without that forethought, we might do steps 1, 2 and 3, but then stumble on step 4, the request.  If we jump into a 4-step response to someone when we are feeling impatient or angry, we may get to step 4, the request, and draw a blank, or worse, shout out a judgment of the other person.
Rather than make a vague, ineffective request… and rather than to make a negative request (please stop doing this, that or the other) … we might simply say, in lieu of step four:   “I’m not sure exactly what I want to ask of you, but I’ll get back to you as soon as I know.”
Suppose we do make a request in perfect NVC form, from a humble, loving place in our heart, and the answer is a resounding “No!” If the tone of voice indicates annoyance, rebelliousness or resentment, it can be a very hard message to hear.
One thing I’ve found makes it much easier to hear and receive a “No!” as a gift, is to remember all the times when I myself answered someone else’s request with a strong “No!” or a “Hell, no!”
So, if I may suggest a strategy, just remember how you felt when you’ve said “No!” to someone.  Remember the pain of your unmet need for understanding, consideration, communication, etc.  Try to realize that the person saying “No!” to you may be feeling much the same way.  The same empathy you’d have liked when you said “no,” they may also like and respond to favorably.

About swpollack

I’m an independent mediator and collaborative communication coach who can help you to co-create greater ease, connection and mutual understanding in your personal and professional relationships. As a non-traditional specialist, my aim is to get concrete results for my clients in a fraction of the time usually required by traditional therapy and counseling. Please visit my business website: . The emotion-based coaching work I do is deeply therapeutic, yet I am neither a psychologist nor a psychotherapist. Instead I work with a holistic, empathic process called compassionate, nonviolent communication. I also facilitate ongoing support groups for people who want to learn this organic process of nonjudgmental communication to help build bridges of connection, harmony, collaboration and understanding. For more about my Build Compassionate Relationships meetup group, visit: . I’ve been offering these services to the public since 2000 in the greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale area, as well as by phone and through Skype conferencing. . Nonviolent Communication is a process developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. It’s based on a very pure, nonjudgmental language of feelings, needs and requests. I’ve found this to be a powerful tool in my mediation work which involves bringing two or more people together despite a painful history of conflict.
This entry was posted in NVC. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Art of the NVC Request

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *