Non Violent Communication in Sales Presentations

Non Violent Communication in Sales Presentations presents a framework for communicating needs equally without projecting outcomes on clients. It is one of the most powerful tools of communication in sales. Do you want to learn to deliver a clear, concise message? Do you want to have an honest conversation and connect with your audience? Non violent communication is your tool. 

Origins of Non Violent Communication? 

The purpose of Non Violent Communication initially was a practice of compassion in resolving conflict for the purpose of change. It is predicated on non violence, whose 6 principles are defined below by Dr. Martin Luther King, and who we always find occasion to include in our work, and then Marshall Rosenberg borrowed this terminology and wrote the official book, Non Violent Communication. He posits that violence is not only physical, but when we use coercion or power over others. This can include punishment, reward, guilt, shame, duty or obligation. There are countless sales tactics and strategies that promote coersion and power, and this is not an attack, but rather an alternative.

The purpose of Non Violence is to reach accord through understanding, education, and compassion. A critical component of how non-violence works is identifying a universal human need that brings factions together. The underlying universal human need for nonviolent communication is connection. Establishing connections is what we are looking to do in sales, which is why this communication technique is important and easily mastered. 

Basic Barriers to the Practice of NVC 

The three skills you need to possess to practice the components of non-violent communication are self-empathy, empathy for others, and the ability for honest self-expression. (We have content on this for you here) Self-empathy is the ability to be aware and accepting of your own experience, empathy for others is the ability to listen and accept another person’s experience as different from your own, and honest self-expression is the ability to express yourself authentically with responsibility for your own experience. 

NVC is about empathy and vulnerability and being in touch with what you are communicating, in an effort to understand your audience’s needs. When your audience feels they are understood and their needs are met, they buy. But this is not a sales tactic. This is just communicating authentically. (We have a piece on that here) 

The Four Components of Non-Violent Communication  

Non-violence in the context of communication and for sales relies on four components. Observation, Feelings, Needs/Values, and Requests. You basically take radical accountability for everything you say in the interest of understanding another person’s point of view. Using this style of communication does not involve blame, manipulation, or alienating an audience, making it so critical to sales and presentations.

It is important to note here, that this method for communicating runs counter to many of the sales tactics that have been popular over the years. We are not discrediting these tactics and strategies, but offering some alternatives, in light of the year 2020. Couldn’t we all use a break and some compassion? 

Observation: If you are making a statement, it needs to be objective. Avoid evaluations, labels, judgments, analysis, or interpretation. If you have trouble with this, try a simple exercise. An observation would be between two people about what is in the room. There is a telephone in the corner. Statement of fact. If you are assigning a subjective filter it may be due to a bias, we offer a section on overcoming Cognitive Bias here. 

Feelings. Express pure feelings, using the word I. These include emotions, bodily sensations, and accountability is on you. The main point here is to avoid victim verbs such as I feel, insulted, attacked, blamed, etc. It has nothing to do with what you subjectively think someone is doing to you. 

Needs/Values: These refer to universal needs and values that do not include specific people, actions, or things. Needing connection is principally what we are communicating in sales. They are not blaming or should tactics to elicit certain behaviors or emotions. 

Requests: Requests are specific, present, doable, and affirmative. Unlike demands that use fear, shame, guilt, manipulation, or reward. There are two types of requests to be aware of. The first is a request for connection and the second is an action/solution request. Both require your ability to HEAR a no to these. The most important element of requests is that they are actionable and not in the disguise of a demand. 

Examples of Non-Violent Communication 

Below is an example excerpted from this excellent piece 

Observation: “I hear you say you won’t have the report complete until next week…


Feeling: …and I’m feeling some frustration and concern.


Needs/values: It’s important to me that our team is timely on reports so the production team can be efficient.

Request: Would you tell me what’s preventing you from completing the report, and what our team might do to get it finished by 4pm tomorrow?”

Notice that this communication was entirely based on one person’s experience. There was not a projection of what the other person was going through, there was no blame or manipulation involved or excuse soliciting. It was direct and required a response from the person on the receiving end. When you read non violent communication and see it as an observer, you will notice that your mind is engaged in both people equally. A conversation is not one sided, it is an exchange. 

Non Violent Communication in Sales Discovery and Closing

The places where you can apply NVC most naturally without training are during discovery and at the close of your demo. During discovery you are trying to solve your clients problems. In order to find out what they are, you ask. Using NVC components, you would be making an observation, without subjectivity or comparison of the client to a competitor, then relaying a value of what you think your product could add, then make a request for connection if they agree or weigh in.If you are asking open ended questions, you are likely already practicing NVC. 

Another place to practice NVC is during a close. Your observation is what you have demonstrated in the presentation. You disclose your feelings about the function of the software with value you think is added, then you make a  request to advance the deal. At its’ core NVC is clear communication without fillers. NVC also is without projections or bias. If you find yourself presenting with many biases or lack of sensitivity, trying to use NVC is a great tool to only express what you feel from your personal experience, to connect with your audience. 

Want to learn Non Violent Communication in Sales Presentations? There are trainings offered here, and we bring in trainers for our demo coaching. This is a big subject and we will do our best to unpack it in further posts. Please subscribe and comment if you would like clarity on points!

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