Needs-based Connection (NbC)

“Always listen to what people need rather than what they are thinking about us”        (Marshall Rosenberg)

At the basis of all communication, there is a need. Whether we want to discuss the origins of the universe, to invite a friend to a birthday party or to ask what clothes to wear for an interview, we are speaking and writing because we share a human need, such as understanding, celebration or acceptance. And before we can hope to transmit or receive any message, we somehow have to achieve connection with the other person. A first principle of NbC is to become conscious of our own needs and those of others, so that we can then align our communications more closely with the needs: choosing the right words to create the connection we want. Thus, the C in NbC can stand for Communication, Connection or even Consciousness!

Connecting through an awareness of needs is very different from ‘normal’ communication, which is often based around opinions, demands (whether direct or hidden), complaints and so on.

Interestingly, it seems that needs are always linked to feelings. To put it at its most simple, we ‘feel good’ when we see our needs are being met and we ‘feel bad’ when we see them being left unmet. Or you could say that feelings are a guide to our needs, an indicator of how it is with our innermost well-being. My experience is that the more conscious we are of what we feel strongly about, and the more connected we are to our needs, the more powerful the communication can be.

Becoming aware of the underlying human needs in any exchange is the third and most crucial component of the four-stage process of communication proposed by Marshall Rosenberg and known as the NVC model or NVC process. The far-reaching discipline of Nonviolent CommunicationTM (NVC) which Dr. Rosenberg founded is the main inspiration behind NbC. Other influences on the way I formulate, extend and apply my understanding of NVC include Byron Katie, Don Miguel Ruiz and the Michael Teachings. As a result, there are some differences between the NbC that I share and ‘classical’ NVC.

I try to keep an awareness of needs at the heart of all my work, whether with coaching and personal development workshops or with business translations, texts for exhibitions and academic papers.