The First Building Block – Observation

(Time to read & do: ~ 3 minutes)

So we want to create a quality of connection in which our needs are met through natural giving – no force, no reluctance, no “you owe me” later.

And NVC offers us 4 tools for creating that quality of connection, the first of which is called Observation.

Observations are external sensory data, information we take in through our senses – things we see, hear, touch, smell or taste.

They are emotionally neutral and contain no value judgements.
They have an objective quality – like a videocamera.

Video Camera Image






What is the importance or value of observations?

Observations provide a shared context or starting point for talking about our experiences or the experiences of others.

When our observation is about something positive, as we’ll do in this step, it can contribute to a lot of clarity between people, and even deeper connection.

For example, if, rather than saying simply “Thank you for being so supportive”, I let a friend know which of the things they did was especially meaningful to me:

  • bringing my favourite comfort food?
  • calling me up?
  • sitting in silence with me?
  • going for a walk in the park?
  • something they said?

it can help both of us.

It can help them take in my appreciation, because they can connect it to something they said or did. This is important, because even the most supportive person isn’t always going to feel supportive.

So if someone thanks me for being supportive, I may feel guilty (because I know I wasn’t always), which may not only prevent me from taking in your appreciation, it may even start to impact our relationship, if I start to associate that feeling of guilt with the relationship.

Why Something Positive?

NVC’s four building blocks can be used in ways that are very effective for shifting our energy from negative to positive.

But that is a more advanced skill that requires understanding of more of the building blocks than just observation.

So, at this stage, I would really appreciate it if you would use a “positive” observation for your “test drive”, because I really want you to get the most out of this course.

“Test drive” the Skill of Observation

Think of something someone said or did that you appreciate.

I invite you to fill it in at this link, which will enable me to email you a summary of your 4 building blocks as you go through the course.

Choosing an observation to work with is important, because it will serve as your guide to help you understand the other 3 building blocks.

The good news is that it doesn’t matter what the specific observation is, as long as it is:
– concrete & observable
– has positive feelings associated with it.

(If you can’t come up with something that has only positive feelings associated with it, that’s okay. Just choose as positive a situation as you can.)

Next… The Second Building Block of Connection

If you would like to continue to the next building block now, you’ll be shown a link to take you then by recording your observation at this link.