Being in different phases:

"I notice that I have all these ideas about what you can do. Would you like to hear them?" (Phase 3)
"No. I just want to say, what I think and what I feel." (Phase 2).
"I notice, that these ideas distract me from being present. Can we pause for a few seconds, so I can write them down?"(Phase 1)

Video example

This listening process based on the Book of Needs includes an example of how the Deck of Needs can be used by professional listeners.

Being in different steps:

"I notice that I'm very angry." (Step 3)
"That means, that one of your needs is not fulfilled. Shall we try to find out, which need is not fulfilled? Do you feel angry, because you want progress?" (Step 4)
"I don't want to talk about my needs. I want you to hear and see that I'm angry." (Step 3)
"Yes, you are angry because your need for progress is not fulfilled." (Step 2, listener is not following the pace and language of the speaker).


6 Steps model for listening

Communication is often a spontaneous process based on what we've learned to be effective. For most situations our education gave us the tools to both find what's important for us (listen) and the words to tell with others (speak). In some cases however these tools don't give the results people want. In those cases a structural model for both listening and speaking can help.

Sometimes 'spontaneous' communication doesn't work

Writing the Book of Needs we found that listening and speaking are two different processes that both require a different model. For speaking we found the 4 Step Model of NVC very useful. For listening we developed a model that has the same focus: communication with needs. At the same time it adds some new steps and guidelines that are particular useful when we try to listen to others or ourselves.

3 Phases and 6 Steps

Our model contains 3 phases and 6 steps.

3 Phases

In the first phase we create a connection between listener, speaker and story. In the second phase we listen to the content and try to find the core message. In the third phase we use the core message to create change by finding solutions and acting upon them.

6 Steps

The first step to create connection is to 'be present'. The second steps involves repeating what we hear in the pace and language of the speaker. The first step to find the core message is to listen to thoughts and feelings and find the 'key trigger'. The second step is to find the needs behind the key trigger(s). The first step to creating change is a combination of analysing the situation and finding solutions and strategies. The second step is to act.

Take the next step only when the previous step is fulfilled enough

One of the main thought lines of the Book of Needs is that we can only go to the next phase or step when the previous steps are (still) fulfilled at a high 'enough' level. It's been our experience that this guideline will has a strong effect on the success of your listening process, especially in challenging situations like conflicts, therapy or any other process that ask for high quality listening.

Based on this model I developed a 'Listening with needs' work sheet and the 'Empathy Path', that helps you to take these steps.

In my workshops and trainings I sometimes use a longer presentation of the 6 Step Model for listening with needs.

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