Restorative Communication

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Restorative communication is a way to repair relationships that have been damaged by conflict, and prevent future conflicts from arising. By choosing our words carefully, we can experience dramatic shifts in our results.

Restorative communication is similar to non-violent communication (NVC) and both involve talking in terms of observations, feelings, needs and requests to reach mutual understandings. We've included excerpts here from the GKI Restorative Communication Guide, helpful NVC references like the feelings and needs inventories, and some links to additional videos, practice exercises and free or sliding scale trainings.

Core Concepts[edit | edit source]

Here are the Core Concepts of Restorative Practices:

  • How we feel is important. Our emotional state has enormous impact on our ability to be productive, experience enjoyment and satisfaction, and make positive connections with others.
  • All conflicts share an underlying structure. Conflict arises when someone does or says something that we find harmful, and we want them to stop or change their behavior.
  • Threatening language backfires. When we want someone to change their behavior, we usually use threats, fear, or punishment to get them to change. “If you show up late again, you’re fired.”
  • Communicating observations, feelings, needs and requests restores connection. Using Restorative Communication, by clearly expressing our needs and offering the space for others to do the same, we can create change through building greater connection, compassion, and collaboration. “What can I do to support you in being prepared and on time for the meeting tomorrow?”

PRACTICE L.F.O.A.[edit | edit source]

Think of a specific event that occurred recently. Describe the exact behavior you would like to see changed.

  • LOOK: Describe what you saw happen.
  • FEEL: What are some of the emotions you felt as a result of this happening?
    • What do you think the other person is feeling, and why?
  • OFFER: Is there something you can offer to do for this person to help get their needs met in a different way?
  • ASK: What specifically would you like them to do differently? Write down the S.M.A.R.T. alternate action that you would like them to take.

Restorative Communication LFOA Bullets.png

Examples[edit | edit source]

Here are some example sentences you can practice using to connect with someone and reach a mutual understanding that helps.

Image 2021-12-29 163133.png

SMART Agreements[edit | edit source]

Restorative omcmunication smart agreements.png

When you offer something and/or ask for something to reaceh a mutual understanding with someone, try to ensure that your offers and asks cover these criteria:

  • Specific: Describe exactly the behavior you want to seee.
  • Measurable: Give discreet amounts or countable things so that meeting the goal is clear.
  • Actionable: Make it something you can physically do.
  • Realistic: Is this a realistic expectation for this person at this time?
  • Timely: Timebox your request. Set a timeframe for it to happen in.

Global Kindness Initiative[edit | edit source]

WWW.KINDUS.ORG is the GKI site with more information and training if you want to learn more and organize a session for your organization.

GKI Restorative Communication Downloads[edit | edit source]

The above text is from the Global Kindness Initiative guides. Download them for yourself here: