by Lila MacLellan at qz.com
There seems to be no way around it: In the aftermath of a contentious US presidential election, conversations between voters all along the political spectrum either devolve into shouting matches and insults, or irreconcilable platitudes. If they occur at all.
But we’ve been here before, according to the late psychologist Marshall Rosenberg. As a communications coach and mediator for civil rights and student activists during the US civil rights era, Rosenberg developed a practical strategy for peaceful conflict resolution called non-violent communication. By focusing on language and process, the theory goes, injured parties can shift the tone of their communication and spur collaboration.
Rosenberg’s method, now used by companies, conflict negotiators, and personal therapists, is rooted in the belief that all humans share the same universal needs, including the sense that they’re being heard, understood, valued, and respected. Conflicts arise when words are perceived as threats, which devolve into power struggles. The goal of Rosenberg’s four-step approach to meaningful conversations is to connect about everyone’s needs, not to “win.”
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