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No matter where or when you work, you will always need good communication. It’s especially crucial for those of us in Client or customer-focused roles, helping to foster healthy and productive working relationships.
The key to successful conversations is removing ego entirely and focusing on communicating from a place of giving. The process I’ll be sharing today is called Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life — based on the amazing book by Marshall B. Rosenberg
While it may seem like a no-brainer — of course we don’t want to be communicating violently — the process of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) takes some practice to fully embrace. This introduction is a great place to start.
The NVC Process looks like this:
The goal of this process is to effectively communicate what you’re observing, feeling, needing, and requesting in order to move forward with your work and life.
1. Step one, we observe what is actually happening in a situation.
What are we observing being said or done that is either enriching or not enriching our work/life?
The trick is to be able to articulate this observation without introducing any judgment or evaluation- to simply say what people are doing that we either like or don’t like.
2. Step two, we state how we feel when we observe this action.
Are we hurt, irritated, amused, joyful?
3. Step three, we say what needs of ours are connected to the feelings we have identified.
Do you need clarification? Do you need understanding?
4. Step four, we present a very specific request.
This request addresses what we are wanting from the other person that would enrich our work or life.
NVC helps us connect with each other and ourselves in a way that allows our natural compassion to flourish. It guides us to reframe the way we express ourselves and listen to others by focusing our consciousness on four areas: what we are observing, feeling, and needing, and what we are requesting to enrich our lives.
When working with the NVC process, we craft an OFNR (Observation, Feeling, Need, Request) statement.
A statement from an assistant might look like this:
“Hi Susan, I want to connect regarding our work together. When you miss our calls and unfinished tasks pile up, I feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed. I have a need for communication on our next steps, so I can take them and complete your work requests. Would you be willing to book a new call with me so we can move forward? Here’s my Calendly link.”
A statement from a client might look like this:
“Hi Jess, I’m writing in regards to your current task list. When you miss deadlines and don’t share what is going on, I feel lost, frustrated, and confused. I have a need for the completed work as well as an update regarding your used hours, so I can effectively use the remainder of this months retainer. Would you be willing to email me back within 24-hours?”
This style of communication has changed my life, both personally and professionally. I’ve learned to tap into the love I have for what I do and embrace that love so fully that hiccups in communication no longer cause me anxiety or fear.
Moments of uncertainty can in fact open a new door for improved relationships and a deeper understanding of yourself, IF you take the time to observe and react accordingly.
For more Client communication tips, read 4 easy tips for building and maintaining Client relationships.