Non-Violent Communication (NVC)


Nonviolent Communication is a type of communication that is based on self-awareness, sincere expression, empathetic listening, self-empathy, and the appropriate use of power (Rosenberg, 2012). The term “power” refers to the ability to influence or direct the behaviour of others or events. 

NVC can be applied to personal situations, such as resolving internal conflicts or freeing oneself from cultural conditioning, guilt, or shame. It can also be used in interpersonal situations to empathise with others, and in societal situations to understand one’s relationship with society (Rosenberg, 2012).

NVC helps to separate facts from feelings, giving the communication a focus on the needs behind the words.

According to Rosenberg (2012), there are five main elements of NVC:

  • Consciousness: Am I being truthful and open in expressing myself? Am I actively listening and acknowledging the needs of others? Am I connected to myself?
  • Thought: Am I being judgmental or placing blame?
  • Language: Are my words free from criticism and blame?
  • Communication: Are my nonverbal movements consistent with my words?
  • Use of power: Am I trying to dominate the other person to achieve my own ends? Am I making a disguised request or a demand?

Try to pay attention to the way you express yourself, your body language, the words you choose, and how you use your power during the conversation.


  • Use neutral language
  • Avoid ambiguous terms or words that are open to a lot of interpretation

TIP for SCI volunteers

When receiving negative comments on social media, SCI replies in a constructive and formal way. For example, in the case of someone replying with a negative comment about our vision on migration, we responded by repeating what SCI believes in and reinforcing our values through the power of example. We reply only once, not to following messages, so that we would not keep the negative comments going in a loop. Our purpose is to show that we stand our ground rather than trying to change the view of every person who leaves a negative comment, as we know we cannot change the mind of the commenter with one online response.
In some cases that are really hateful, with gruesome images of killings, we reported and deleted with no comment on our part.