Are you being clear on the response you want?

“When we simply express our feelings, it may not be clear to the listener what we want them to do.”

Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication

Do you communicate what do you want someone to do when you are expressing your feelings?

In the book Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg offers a way for us to think about how we communicate in the following four step process:

  1. Observe in as objective a manner as you can what is happening;
  2. Express how you Feel when you observe this action;
  3. Articulate your Need that is not being met (this links into yesterday’s post about compromise);
  4. Make a very specific Request of the person.

The quote below expands on that process in more detail.

First, we observe what is actually happening in a situation: what are we others saying or doing that is either enriching or not enriching our 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. Next, we state how we feel when we observe this action: are we hurt, scared, joyful, amused, irritated? And thirdly, we say what needs of ours are connected to the feelings we have identified.

Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication

A second quote from the book was in my feed this morning, that makes the same point, but for groups:

“In a group, much time is wasted when speakers aren’t certain what response they’re wanting.”

Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication

I challenge you to think about what you want from the other person when you are talking to them. Can you articulate that request in a way that helps them understand how to respond to you in a meaningful way?