Communication plays a vital role in many aspects of our lives. Often times, our desire to get what we want gets in the way of positively communicating our needs. In “Giving From the Heart: The Heart of Nonviolent Communication”, Marshall Rosenberg concludes that including compassion into our conversational skills would not only reduce conflict, but also resolve it. He created nonviolent communication (NVC), which is a method of communication where the speakers make conscious responses to what they are perceiving, feeling, and wanting in a situation. In order to successfully communicate using NVC, you must first observe the situation without judgment and/or evaluation. Then, state your feelings. Next, express your needs. Lastly, make a specific request that links your feelings to your needs. This method of communication could and should be used in a variety of situations, ranging from a miniscule household matter to a controversial and global subject. The intent of this process is to remind the communicators that humans are meant to relate.
Another alternative that goes hand in hand with NVC is engaging in principled negotiation. When a conflict is present that cannot be resolved, but rather a compromise must be reached, principled negotiation is the best strategy. Rather than potentially attacking the opponent in an offensive way, such as positional bargaining, we should approach them as a teammate, because without their genuine cooperation, nothing can be fully, effectively, and permanently resolved. Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton explain the strategy behind principled negotiation in “Getting To Yes”. In order to master principled negotiation, the negotiators must view the participants as problem-solvers and work together in order to find a sensible outcome that suits both parties. In order to reach a consensus, they must focus on the interests of both parties. The negotiators should think creatively and invent options that benefit both sides. This way, they are working together in a peaceful manner to reach a suitable compromise. Dr. Kelly Kraemer presented an opportunity to experience the success of this strategy in class. Two researchers were solving large-scale crises, but both needed the same resource, which was very limited. The students took different positions in attempt to reach a solution. Only during positional bargaining, did they realize that they needed different parts of this limited resource. So in the end, both positions got what was needed from the compromise. It is unlikely that we would have gotten to the same conclusion if we did not engage in positional bargaining. War was easily avoided by using principled negotiation to reach a compromise, which could be