Resolving Conflicts and Improving Relationships
- 4 hours on-demand video
- 14 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
Get your team access to 4,000+ top Udemy courses anytime, anywhere.Try Udemy for Business
- Communication Skills
- Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
- Conflict Resolution
Learn how to resolve conflicts and fix damaged relationships using a four-step process call Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Find out how conflict gets started and how it can be prevented and recovered from.
Instructor Marshall Bolin teaches from his experience in community mediation and working with troubled youth.
This course is for complete beginners as well as those who are already familiar with NVC and would like to hone their skills with practice exercises and thought-provoking journal questions.
- Couples who want to improve their relationship
- Groups who want to function more smoothly
- Individuals who want to communicate better
Introduction to NVC. How does communication style relate to conflict? Why is it called "Nonviolent" Communication?
1. Think of a person who seems very different from you. Name one need you have that you imagine the other person would also say is a need of theirs. Can you think of any other needs you both might share?
2. Have you ever tried to be more assertive? What results were you expecting from trying to be more assertive? Did the attempt to be more assertive have the effect you intended?
3. Have you ever tried to be more accommodating? What results were you expecting from trying to be more accommodating? Did the attempt to be more accommodating have the effect you intended?
What are the qualities and underlying assumptions of the mode of communicating most people are taught from an early age? How does this communication style fuel conflict?
Can you think of an instance when at first you wanted to meet someone’s needs but then they said or did something which led to you not wanting to meet their needs? What was it about the person’s actions that made it hard for you to want to meet their needs? Have you ever gone from not wanting to meet a person’s needs to wanting to meet their needs. What led to your change of heart?
Has there ever been a situation where you wanted to meet someone’s needs but had a need of your own that kept you from saying yes to their request?
Think of a time when someone said no to your request. What needs may have kept them from saying yes?
What are the qualities and operating beliefs of an alternative communication style that is more conducive to people hearing each other?
In any of the various relationships in your life (family, friends, professional, etc.), are you in need of more respect? What could change that would meet your need for respect? Do you get the sense that the people with whom you are in relationship would also like more respect? What do you think would give them the respect they are needing?
Is your willingness to help someone influenced by how much they meet your need for respect?
Considering the need for respect is so universal, and that an unmet need for respect often reduces a person’s willingness to contribute, why don’t human beings give each other more respect?
What are the four steps involved in expressing unmet needs in a way that someone is likely to be receptive to, using the NVC model?
Can you think of an example of something someone has said to you to which you responded with defensiveness? What could they have said differently that would be easier for you to validate?
Can you think of an example of something you’ve said to someone to which the person responded with defensiveness? Do you have any ideas of what you could have said differently that would have increased the likelihood of that person empathizing with you?
What does NVC sound like in action? How does it compare to the Win-Lose communication model?
The video described four different types of responses a person might have to a request that doesn’t meet their needs:
1. Saying yes without acknowledging one’s own needs
2. Saying yes with words but saying no with one’s body language and tone of voice
3. Labeling the other person negatively in the hope they will be ashamed and retract their request
4. Communicating that the other person’s needs and one’s own needs are of equal importance, telling the other person the unmet needs which keep one from saying yes, and looking for solutions that meet everyone’s needs
For each of these, can you recall a time when you used this type of response? What was the outcome?
For each of these, can you think of a time when someone responded this way to a request you made? What was the outcome?
Recap of the topics discussed in Section One.
Think of a person with whom you’d like a better relationship. What would it look like to have a better relationship with this person?
What needs of yours are not being met in this relationship?
What do you want this person to understand about you?
Can you guess what unmet needs the other person might have?
What do you think that person would like more understanding about?
Introduction to the first step of NVC: Observing Without Evaluating.
Take a look at a written communication you’ve either personally received (e.g. email, text, letter) or read somewhere else (e.g. news or magazine article, online forum) which is written in a style that stimulates your anger or defensiveness. Make a list of the specific words and phrases used in the writing that elicit an angry or defensive response from you. Do you see any commonalities among the words and phrases on the list? Keep the list handy as you go through this module; It will become clear why these words and phrases inspire defensiveness.
What is the difference between an observation and an evaluation? What difference do they each make as a starting place for a conversation?
Think of a time someone called you a name or labeled you negatively. What was the event (or events) that they were reacting to? Try to describe that event using only the facts that both of you would agree on. (Example: If someone has called me “careless” we can disagree on the definition of careless and whether what I’ve done fits that definition. What we could agree on, though, is that I left the front door unlocked when I left the house. There’s no evaluation in the observation that I left the door unlocked; those are the facts of the situation — a video camera could record me doing it.) After you’ve described the event the other person was reacting to, try to guess what their feelings and unmet needs might have been in that situation.
Frequently asked questions about observing without evaluating.
Why do people give each other negative labels? What is the outcome they are hoping for when they label each other? How likely is it that labeling someone will lead to this outcome? Is labeling likely to lead to any other outcomes? Can you think of a more effective way to achieve the outcome people are aiming for when they label someone?
Do you like it when someone gives you a positive label?
What are the advantages of describing an event using the facts agreed upon by both parties rather than using evaluations, labels, judgments and diagnoses?
Recap of the topics covered in Module Two.
Think of a person with whom you’d like a better relationship. Have they used evaluations when communicating with you that you’ve wanted to defend your self-esteem against?
Often someone will label a person negatively in the hope that the person will feel ashamed and change their behavior (which usually doesn’t achieve the intended outcome). It’s helpful to be aware, though, that it’s also common for the listener to interpret the other’s communications as negative evaluations, even when the speaker didn’t intend to give one. In this relationship that you’d like to improve, has the other person interpreted anything you’ve said as a negative evaluation when that wasn’t the message you were trying to convey?
At other times, have you given the other person labels and evaluations in the hope this would lead to them changing their behavior?
Using only observations, and avoiding evaluations, can you describe what the other person did that resulted in unmet needs on your end? (E.g. Instead of writing “Chris always has to be in control” you might write “Chris called the client and negotiated a new contract without discussing it with me first”. Or instead of writing “Robin let the client walk all over us” you might write “When the client proposed a contract that was 25% lower than our standard fee, Robin said, ‘Sounds great!’”)
If the other person read this description, would they concur?
What is the adaptive purpose of feelings? What meaning do feelings hold for our lives and our communications with others?
Are there any emotions you feel which you have trouble validating or making sense of? Can you think of any reasons why it might be helpful to have these emotions?
Make a list of the emotions a person might feel when their needs aren’t being met. What are the emotions a person might feel when another person’s actions have left their most important needs unmet (e.g. respect, freedom, safety, love)?
How can I communicate my feelings in a way that another person will be able to relate to?
Has there ever been a situation where you were able to relate to someone’s feelings even though you disagreed with their behavior or opinions? What was necessary for you to be able to empathize with them even though you had a problem with their thoughts or actions?
Has there ever been a situation where it was hard for you to empathize with someone’s feelings even though your ethics and worldview were seemingly aligned with this person’s? What was preventing you from being able to empathize with their feelings?
How does our ingrained language trip us up at the feelings step of NVC?
Are there feelings you have which you’d like more empathy for than you’re currently receiving?
What would need to happen for your need for empathy to be met?
How might you ask for this empathy in a way that increases the chances the other person(s) will be able to give it?
Recap of the ideas discussed in Section Three.
Think of a person with whom you’d like a better relationship. Have you tried to express your feelings to them and been met with argumentation? Have you argued with them when they’ve tried to express their feelings to you?
Write down as accurately as you remember what each of you said to each other during these arguments (or look at the actual written correspondence if you have it, such as from email or text). Name the emotions each person is trying to express. Are those feelings being heard and acknowledged by each side? Or is one or more person hearing an attack on themselves instead of the feelings of the other person?
How might each person’s communications be reworded in a way that makes it easier for the listener to relate?
How does our tragic language cause problems with regard to people's needs?
What are some needs that you think every human being has?
What are some of the things that make it hard for a person to get each of these needs met?
How could things change in such a way that it becomes easier for every person to get these needs met?
What prevents us from wanting to give each other gifts? What is the difference between communicating at the level of needs vs. the level of positions?
If someone wants you to do something that will contribute to their life (even in a small way), what could they do or say that would have the highest chance of you wanting (and deciding) to do what they want?
What could they do or say that has the least chance of you wanting or deciding to do what they want?
How often do people act in the ways you’ve described in the answers to each of the previous two questions?
What can I do to up the chances someone will want to meet my needs?
What did you learn about conflict growing up? What were the strategies you learned and what were the expected outcomes of those strategies? Did the strategies you were taught lead to the outcomes you were told they would?
Are there any possible outcomes that sound more more desirable to you than the outcome you were taught to aim for when navigating conflict? What are the most effective strategies you can think of to achieve that outcome?
Recap of the topics discussed in Section Four.
Think of a time when you did something you’re not proud of. What was the universal human need you were trying to meet?
What could you have done instead that would meet your need and the needs of others involved?
How can we ask someone to meet our needs in a way that will make it easy for them to want to?
What are some situations in life when it’s normal to make demands rather than requests? Why is it normal in these situations not to give the recipient of the demand an option to say no? Would there be any advantage to making requests instead of demands in these situations?
What needs of a person’s are not met when they are given a demand?
What happens when we give someone the option to say no and they take that option?
Think of a relationship you currently have with someone in which you have unmet needs. What do you want this person to do?
What do you want their reasons to be for doing it?
How can you make a request of them that would result in them doing what you want for the reasons you want?
What does it look like to validate a person's needs without agreeing with their position?
Do you need someone to agree with your opinion or position in order to get the respect you need from them?
If a person has an opposing position to your own, what kinds of things might a person say to you that would validate your anger and meet your need for respect?
How important is the need to be heard?
When someone understands your needs and you know they would like to meet them, does that influence how willing you are to consider solutions that don’t fully meet all your needs?
Have you ever seen someone become less flexible after someone invalidated them?
Have you ever seen someone become more caring after they have been cared for?
How important is the need for respect?
If you were to rank your needs in order of importance, where would your need for respect rank on that list?
If a person’s need for respect ranks #1 on their list of needs and I try to force that person to choose to meet my needs through the use of punishment, reward, or extreme shaming, will I make the choice easier or harder for that person?
Recap of entire course.
Think of a relationship you want to improve. Describe any events you are in conflict over using observations and not evaluations.
What are the feelings and needs on each side related to these events?
For practice, write what you would say to the other person(s) in order to communicate your unmet needs in a way that they will likely be able to relate to.
How might you ask the other person what their unmet needs are in such a way that they feel glad to be asked?
What might you say to this person so that they feel validated in their feelings and needs, without getting into whether their opinions are right or wrong or whether they are a good or bad person?
If you can get this relationship to the point where each person is able to say what the needs are of every other person involved, you have reached the point where you can start resolving conflicts and looking for solutions that meet the needs of everyone.