Non-violent communication

  • Observations over characterizations
    • What you heard or saw.
    • Don’t make a generalization or character judgment. I.e. don’t make a story around what you observed
  • Emotions over thoughts
    • I feel frustrated (emotion) vs. I feel that you aren’t taking this seriously (thought)
    • If you can substitute “I think” for “I feel”, it’s a thought
  • Universal Needs
    • Most emotions flow from unmet universal needs
    • Common ones are:
      • Autonomy
      • Collaboration
      • Consistency
      • Clarity
      • Integrity
      • Recognition
      • Respect
      • Reassurance
      • Security
      • Support
      • Understanding
    • Leave others out of your needs (“I need support” vs. “I need support from you”)
  • Requests vs. Demands
    • Make requests specific
    • Say what you want, not what you don’t want
  • Don’t forget to check in with the other person to see what they heard



Bailey, D. How to Deliver Constructive Feedback in Difficult Situations. at (2019).

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