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 our boss for a raise, we are speaking and writing because of a human need, such as understanding, celebration or appreciation. And before we can hope to transmit or receive any message, we somehow have to make a connection with the other person, just as we have to tune a radio to a certain wavelength to pick up the station we want. A first principle of NbC is to become conscious of our own needs and those of others, so that we can align our communications more closely with both sets of needs, and thus we can choose the right words to create the connection we want. This applies most obviously in all areas of life which involve speaking or writing, so the C in NbC can stand for Communication, Connection, Coaching, Counselling, Collaboration or even Consciousness.

Connecting through an awareness of needs has a very different basis and flavour from ‘normal’ communication, which is often rooted in opinions, beliefs, judgments, demands, threats, 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 sense our needs being met and we ‘feel bad’ when we sense 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, Internal Family SystemsDon Miguel Ruiz and the Michael Teachings. As a result, there are some differences between ‘classical’ NVC and the NbC that I share; go here to find out more!

I aim to keep an awareness of needs at the heart of all my work, whether with coaching and personal development workshops or with translation and editing.