The art of asking for what enriches life
Once we learned to separate our observations from the assessments, identify the feelings behind them and associate them with a need that was or was not met, we arrived at the fourth component of the CNV. It is time to turn this whole process into an authentic request that expresses our needs in the most empathic way possible.
Use a Positive Language
The natural tendency when expressing our requests regarding what we would like to change within our relationships is to tell people don't this or that.
The interesting thing is that our brain does not process negative sentences, no matter how hard you try to do that. For example, if I say "Don't think about a banana" ... Can you avoid thinking about a banana? Probably not.
It is for these and others that when placing an order that will summarize the entire process of the 3 steps we worked on previously, it is much more advantageous to focus on what we want and we need to satisfy our needs.
When we make requests for clear language and concrete actions, we leave very little room for doubt.
A vague language will only open up more room for internal confusion.
Let's look at an example.
Consider a case where a mother is uncomfortable with her child because he does not do his homework, nor does he help with basic household chores like making a bed and washing his plate after eating.
She can just reach out to her son and say, “I can't take this laziness anymore. I need you to be more responsible! ”.
Here it is not at all clear what the child needs to do to become someone responsible according to the mother's criteria.
If we were to express the same thing using the 4 elements of the CNV this sentence could be like this: “Son, when I see the way you are doing with your school duties and the care for the house I feel frustrated because I need to know that you will independent person who can organize and maintain his harmonious space. Could you please pay more attention to your space, make your bed, wash the dishes after eating and strive to do your school's homework? I'm here to help you if you need anything ”.
Language is really an interesting phenomenon. We can ask for things without necessarily making a request. You've probably heard someone say something like "I'm thirsty!" to order a glass of water, for example.
In this case it may even work. But there is a great risk here of being misunderstood and having our requests sound like harsh demands.
When we simply express our feelings or needs, the request may not be clear to the listener.
A simple example offered by Rosenberg is that of a woman who says to her husband: "I am upset because you forgot the butter and onions I asked you to buy for dinner".
Is she telling her husband to go back to the market and buy the butter and onions or is she just letting off steam in order to make him feel guilty?
It may seem strange, but in fact it is quite common that we are not aware of what we are asking for.
The clearer we are about what we want to achieve, the more likely we are to achieve it.Marshall Rosenberg
Asking for a return
It is important to learn to ask for feedback from the people who live and work with us. A very simple way to assess the quality of our communication is to place a direct request on the quality of our communication.
Sometimes just asking something like "Is it clear?" or "Does it make sense?"
A next level would be to ask people to repeat in their own words what they heard us say. This is a very interesting “mirror exercise” that helps us to understand what is really reaching the other side.
People often listen to what we are saying and process according to the needs that are not being met and express extreme discontent. So it is important to learn how to ask for feedback so that we understand how people are really processing our speeches.
Remember: When you hear someone repeat what you said, no matter how different it was from what you wanted to say, remember to celebrate the person's version. Thank for the effort in trying to express what you understood and improve your message according to the feedback received.
Sometimes such a request can be received as an affront and we have to show empathy for people's lack of willingness to repeat what we say.
Asking for Honesty
After making so many requests it is normal to look forward to receiving honest feedback on how people are feeling about what was asked.
We usually want to know:
a) What the listener is feeling: "I would like to know how you are feeling about what I just said and the reasons for feeling that way?"
B) What the listener is thinking: "What do you think of what I just said?"
c) If the listener is willing to take a specific action: "I wonder if you are willing to fulfill this request?"
It is important to receive any response with empathy, whether negative or positive.
Ordering a group
Working in groups can be something that brings a sense of marked complicity. However, the ability to operate as a single living and adaptive organism is rare in a world where competing is the first option on each day's menu.
Many know the phenomenon of “boring and unproductive meetings” in the most varied organizational environments: associations, companies, cooperatives, schools, government, etc.
Learning how to make and receive group orders is a tricky task, but what can cnv teach us about it?
When making a request to a group, clarify the type of response you would like to receive.
Sometimes we get into conflict simply because we haven't identified the answer we would like to get about a proposal.
The generating question is “What do I want to achieve with this proposal? What kind of response do I expect from the group? ”
In the same way, when someone is not being clear we can also ask: “Sorry, I'm a little confused about your proposal. Can you say what kind of response you expect from us? ”
This will not solve the problem of the meetings, but it is a start for the participants to start to understand what they expect from each other.
In India, when people receive the answer they wanted on a topic they initiated themselves, they have a word (“Bas”) to indicate that they already got the answer. This is an interesting feedback mechanism to be explored so that group conversations flow with more variety and lightness.
Orders vs Requirements
When we make a disguised demand requirement, people will generally feel guilty or punished if they don't respond.
We can only distinguish a request from a demand when we see people's reaction to having their request denied.
A person making a demand will try to make the other person feel guilty while a person making an authentic request would have an empathic reaction to the other's feelings and needs.
Authentic requests are a pure manifestation of our needs that sometimes make us vulnerable to other people. Knowing how to receive one is not learning to empathize with the other person's needs that are not being met.