Using nonviolent communication for feedback

04-23-2022 10:06

Everyone has given and received feedback; most of us can readily cite examples of feedback poorly delivered. Despite many different formats available to guide feedback, when delivered poorly feedback can result in harm to the recipient. Nonviolent communication (compassionate communication) is a philosophy and style of communicating designed to increase empathy and improve the quality of life of those who use the method as well as the people around them. NVC focuses on identifying needs that aren't being met and uses this format: "When you [behavior], I feel [honest feeling]. I need [need not being met]. Please [request for different behavior]." However, this simple structure belies the difficulty in communicating observed behaviors rather than judgments, of identifying one's feelings, and expressing how one's needs are not being met. We started teaching nonviolent communication to residents as a means of improving feedback provided to preceptors. Later we expanded teaching to faculty members and have incorporated the principles in our written feedback forms. It has been marvelously successful at improving reactions to feedback. Preceptors have called it "the best feedback they've ever received" and we have had measurable improvement in preceptors' performance. Widespread implementation has led to a culture in which feedback is welcomed and there is considerable thought put into its delivery. 

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Nonviolent communicaton overview   742 KB   1 version
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A handout that describes the basics of nonviolent communication

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