I just started reading a book titled "Nonviolent Communication A Language of Life" by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD. Nonviolent, or compassionate, communication is a process of relating with greater clarity and understanding based on empathy, deep listening, and honest expression in a way that is most likely to be heard by others.
The basic steps include observing without judging or evaluation, identifying and expressing feelings while taking responsibility for those feelings, looking for the unmet need causing those feelings, and requesting a response which would assist in meeting those needs and enriching life. If we are able to state our observations without judgment, we are more likely not to cause a defensive reaction. If we can then state our feelings while taking full responsibility for them, we are more likely to find compassion. If we can find and express an unmet need, we can have a clearer understanding of our own and other's feelings. And finally, if we can request a response and not make a demand, we are more likely to get a positive result from the communication.
These principals work both when we are expressing ourselves, and when we are listening to others. If someone is speaking to us, we can hear the words without feeling blame, and we can listen for the unmet need.
Marshall Rosenberg's goal is not only to facilitate communication between couples, friends, co-workers, and neighbors, but also to promote conflict resolution and compassionate understanding amongst rival groups. The goal is to develop relationships based on respect, co-operation, and compassion.