Communication is a complex process; even for people who speak the same language it can be difficult to understand each other.
This is because when we express our ideas, thoughts or emotions orally or in writing, we are aware of what we want to express, not what others may understand.
In this article we will talk about nonviolent communication , give some techniques to improve our communication and get more assertive when we express our thoughts.
How is non-violent communication?
Non-violent communication corresponds mainly to the degree of empathy established between people . The higher the empathic level of the subject, the lower the violence in his/her communication style.
The opposite happens when we are dealing with subjects who are not very empathetic, who are unable to put themselves in the other’s place and do not perceive the discomfort that their words can cause in other people.
Below are some techniques for encouraging an assertive communication style in ourselves and others.
1. Recognize our emotions
The more aware we are of how we feel at any given time the more able we are to avoid violent communication .
Sometimes, when we are upset, we tend to say things that we later regret. Then, if we are able to acknowledge our annoyance, we will also be able to avoid issuing opinions or words that are violent and capable of harming others.
What is recommended is to keep silent and go to a place where we can think clearly , and then express our opinions in a calm and assertive way.
2. Putting ourselves in the place of others
When we prepare to express ourselves we should always take into account the particular situation in which other people find themselves in relation to our own point of view.
In other words, let’s avoid touching on sensitive issues for others in a light way; we must remember that for the other person it is a delicate matter, which mobilizes him/her emotionally.
3. Practice assertive communication
We have already mentioned this aspect, now let’s see what it is about. Assertive communication consists of expressing our ideas and emotions in a clear way , so that the speaker doesn’t have to make too much of an effort to understand what we are trying to tell him, because our message is clear.
This prevents misunderstandings resulting from misinterpretation by the other person.
4. Implementing active listening
In the communication process it is not only important to express oneself , but also to interpret the message coming from the other person.
In the case of verbal communication, we must always listen carefully to what our sender tells us. By doing this we will better understand the message they are trying to give us, and the response we give will then be more accurate in terms of the subject matter.
5. Knowing how to reconsider our opinions
It’s okay to reconsider an opinion that we thought was right at first and that after hearing the other person’s argument we realize we were wrong.
Learning to agree with others leads to a better collective understanding, and makes us more empathetic people .
No one is the master of absolute reason, that is why we must be careful not to fall into radicalism, otherwise we become prone to be violent people in all aspects.
6. Being informed
This point refers to the fact that when we do not have enough information on a subject, we could end up giving unreasonable opinions. It is better to make sure that we know the topic in depth before giving any delicate opinion.
Disinformation only contributes to generate wrong rumours and opinion matrixes that can do a lot of damage both at individual and collective level.
7. The speech must be in line with the actions
As we saw earlier, communication is a complex process, which is not only verbal or written. An important part of communication involves our behavior and our non-verbal communication.
It is important to make sure that our words are in line with what we do . It is not healthy for us to express a few ideas and then do the opposite in practice, not to mention that this can lead to personal conflicts with others.
8. Avoiding provocation
Many times it can happen that even though we practice assertive and non-violent communication, situations arise where other people want to provoke us, trying to make us lose control of ourselves and act the same way they do.
When this happens, it is best to avoid getting into a long discussion with these people . It is important to remember that we are not obliged to always respond to everyone; sometimes it is better to keep quiet knowing that this way we avoid a major conflict.
9. Surround ourselves with people who practice a language of peace
In the same way that each of us influences the collective, the collective also influences us . That is why it is important to surround ourselves with people who are in the same line of thought as we are, avoiding conflicting people benefits us greatly, and in many aspects.
- Martínez Jiménez, J. A.; Muñoz Marquina, F.; Sarrión Mora, M. Á. (2011). “Language and communication”. Spanish Language and Literature (Akal edition). Madrid: Akal.
- Trenholm, Sarah; Jensen, Arthur (2013). Interpersonal Communication Seventh Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.