NVC-style conflict resolution differs from other methods of resolving disputes.
Traditionally, conflict mediators focus on issues while offering an outside perspective to help the involved parties reach an agreement about those issues.
With NVC, the most critical part of the process is establishing a connection between the parties. Having a caring, respectful connection lets people talk productively and see each other’s perspectives rather than staying stuck in their own mind-sets.
Empathy is key
Express your needs. Listen for other people’s needs. Look beyond what they ask for to what lies beneath the request. Provide empathy, which people need before they can hear what others are saying. Propose strategies to resolve the conflict. Use “present and positive action language.”
“Listen to what people are needing rather than what they are thinking.”
Don’t fall into applying only “intellectual analysis.” People often hear analysis as criticism. Playing the roles of different parties in a conflict can speed the mediation process and move people out of fixed positions. If people talk over each other or shout, interrupt them. Your mediation role is as a translator. Help people say what they can’t say on their own. Don’t use punishment to get people to act. Punishment focuses on the consequences of an action at the expense of your values, and using it will damage your goodwill and self-esteem.
Depression can spring from repeating internal, judgmental messages. These critical messages prevent you from recognizing what you feel and need. Translate such judgments into statements that begin “I feel,” followed by “because I need.” Make positive statements about actions that can improve your situation. Shift away from “what went wrong” and focus on what you want to do.
NVC helps you voice gratitude without unconscious judgment. Many compliments are judgments that can contribute to alienation just as negative statements can. People might praise others in order to influence or manipulate them. Instead, look for ways to celebrate people. Identify which of their actions enhanced your well-being. Name the needs that their actions fulfilled, and share the joy this generated.