Tag Archives: emotional intelligence

4 Simple Steps to Effective Communication

Who hasn’t heard or even found themselves reiterating the classic expression “Communication is Key”?

Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Non-Violent Communication (NVC), was an American Psychologist and a travelling peacemaker.  He developed NVC to help people hear and express deeper needs and to communicate with one another in a way that harbours authentic connection, based on the principles of empathetic listening and honest expression.

Sounds good hey? Authentic connection and clear communication are things we inherently all want as humans, yet it is still tremendously difficult!

This is a very quick snapshot of the basic principles of Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication.

  1. Identify the behaviour                              

When identifying the specific behaviour that is affecting you, be as specific as possible.  Using words like “always” or “never” will not do.

Example: Person roles eyes at you.

The statement for this example would be something like                                  “I noticed that you just rolled your eyes at me.”

2.  Express the feeling

When expressing the feeling try to identify the feeling in a way that does not involve the other person. For example, rather than feeling “ignored” you might feel “lonely” because feeling “ignored” implies that the person was ignoring you, which may not have been the case.

Always try to own the emotion that you feel. Nobody has the power to make you feel a certain way, so avoid saying something like “When you rolled your eyes at me it made me feel insecure.”

Rather, you might choose to say                                                                                        “When you rolled your eyes at me I felt insecure.

Click here for a List of Feelings

3. Identify the need that is not being met          

This is the “because” part of the sentence. Why did that uncomfortable feeling of insecurity come in when this person rolled his or her eyes at you? Because a need that you have was not being met in that moment. Perhaps in this case that need might have been acceptance or respect.                                                                                                        “When you rolled your eyes at me I felt insecure because I need to feel respected by my colleagues.”

Click for a List of Needs

4. Specifically request what you desire  

Lastly, requesting (not demanding) what you would like to see happen. This may or may not happen, but this way you have been clear about what you hope to see.

“When you rolled your eyes at me I felt insecure because I have a need to feel respected in the workplace.

“If you would be willing, I would like for you to share with me the reason  you rolled your eyes at me.”


That’s it! Start practicing. You will see and feel results, I promise.


Learn more about Non-Violent Communication from the official NVC website.

Purchase your own NVC book from Amazon.ca and learn even more about NVC!

Marshall Rosenberg's original cover.
Marshall Rosenberg’s second ed.

Space to Respond

In any situation, there are many different ways to respond. Most often we chose the quickest route, which is reacting without thinking, following old brain pathways and emotional patterns.

If you want things to stay as they are, then keep doing exactly what you’re doing. If you want things to get better, if you want to live a happier life, then you need to change some things.

The one thing in life that is the easiest and most accessible to change is yourself. You can’t change anyone else but you can change yourself. Making changes to how you respond to situations can begin to change what situations arise. The first step is to begin to understand why you react or respond to situations the way you do.

By finding a way to create space between stimuli and how you respond to it, you begin to understand yourself and your environment more clearly. It’s a powerful tool and is falls under many categories. It is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, becoming your own observer… Whatever you want to call it, this practice gives you space to see yourself as an outsider and give yourself the chance to respond with reason instead of reacting without self-awareness or understanding.

Following is a link to a record sheet to use to understand your response in any situation. This tool helps not only to understand your response to something, but also to begin to understand where it is coming from and why. The more you can understand why you are responding to something the way you are the more freedom you have to respond in a way that is most effective.






Getting Friendly with Feelings

Ask yourself:
How am I feeling right now?

I’m going to guess that you used a word like “good” “fine” maybe “happy”… maybe “tired” “stressed”… maybe “angry” “frustrated”…

For most, myself included, language to describe emotions is limited.
Here is a list of feeling words.

For a larger version of this image click HERE

This week I am challenging myself to expand my feelings vocabulary.

Why bother doing such a thing?
To better understand myself. The better we understand ourselves, the more clearly we can express ourselves to others and be understood. The better we understand one another the better we can all just get along and be happy :) (Okay so maybe there is a little bit more to it than that… but it’s a start.)

Step 1 is to FIND the name of the feeling.
Step 2 is to FIGURE out why you are feeing that way.
Step 3 is to ACCEPT it.

I write a lot about being happy.  Part of being happy is accepting all of our feelings. Nobody is happy all of the time. If you were always happy, you wouldn’t know you were happy because you wouldn’t know what it feels like to be sad!



(I did not use any outside resources for this post)