IMI and ISM University Certified Training 


Posted 5 Jan 2023


What causes conflicts to occur? Why do some people remain calm and stay in safe waters even in the most troubling situations, while others escalate to violence?

Every conflict involves a variety of emotions. In many cases, emotions cause conflicts to arise, and focusing on these emotions helps to overcome conflicts.  At this point, it is useful to focus on the effect of nonviolent communication on conflict resolution.

There are certain steps to nonviolent communication. Just learning what these steps are will not be enough to establish a nonviolent communication. These steps need to be practiced and integrated into daily life. They should be put into practice in family relationships, workplace environment, friendship, and social life.

The first step is to make changes in our language and communication skills. There are certain stereotypes that have been subconsciously created in response to what we hear in our daily life. You will find that people you spend time with on a regular basis will be able to predict how you will answer questions after a while. This is because using certain phrases becomes a habit. These phrases are usually a reflection of our attack or defense mechanisms. Instead of focusing on what the other person is saying, we become defensive and use the phrases that we have made a habit of using. In order to have a non-violent communication, we need to get out of our habits and focus on what the other person really wants to tell us.

The second step is to fulfill the 4 steps of the nonviolent communication process. The first step is observation. The person needs to be free of all subjective judgments and only understand what the other person wants to express or the situation they are facing. At this stage, it is important not to involve one’s emotions in the observation. The stage where emotions are involved is the second stage. We examine how the expression makes us feel, free from our personal evaluations. The third stage is the needs stage. We identify our needs that are related to our feelings in question. The last stage is the request stage. As a result of our needs, we express what we request from the other person.

For example, imagine that in the office where you work, the working model is an open workspace. You have an important deadline, but your colleagues are deep in conversation. In this case, your statement might be something like: “I feel uncomfortable when you chat in the workspace because I can’t focus on what I’m doing. Can you continue the conversation outside?”

It should be noted that the person you are trying to communicate with nonviolent communication does not need to know or follow these steps. As long as you follow these steps, you can change the ground of communication and involve the other person in this process.

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution in which the third party mediator plays an active role in the process. This mediation also includes bringing the communication ground to the point of nonviolent communication. When we look at the principles of mediation, we see that they overlap with the stages of nonviolent communication. A mediator should make emptahy but not feel any sympathy towards the parties in the negotiation process. He/she should stay impartial. In this way, he/she can observe the parties and convey their feelings to the other party with a clear and nonviolent communication.

Nonviolent communication is not limited to these stages. We will continue to examine different stages of nonviolent communication in our upcıming articles.

Rosenberg, Marshall B., “Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life”, 2015 p. 1-31.

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Alexandra Kieffer

Alexandra Kieffer

Alexandra Kieffer is a certified mediator with a background of peace and conflict studies and responsible for international networks and training and happy to answer all your questions.

Dr. Andrea Hartmann-Piraudeau

Dr. Andrea Hartmann-Piraudeau is an international certified mediator and conflict expert with a broad international network and many years of experience in mediation and ADR. She is responsible for curriculum and research.