Communicating to Connect & Collaborate

Communicating to Connect & Collaborate


All people share the same universal needs according to Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D, author of the seminal book, Nonviolent Communication … A Language of Life.

I believe that our behaviour is a direct result of our feelings and needs. This truth is so self-evident but many people believe that they are the only ones whose needs matter, and others do not.

When people have needs that are unmet, they behave
in a certain way. When people have their needs met, they behave in a different way. Simple. We can all agree with this.

However, when in a state of argument or having differences in opinion, people tend to overlook this and will argue, often heatedly, to get their own needs met without having regard or respect to the other.

This month’s article looks at how we can communicate well to connect and collaborate, despite our differences.

PS: This edition is being sent from Jakarta!

Ricky Lien


Communicating Well for Connection & Collaboration

Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D, developed Nonviolent Communication™. He also had another name for it, which was Compassionate Communication.

This is a language of life, he wrote, in which it replaces our old patterns of defending , withdrawing or attacking in the face of judgement and criticism. By perceiving ourselves and others in a new light, the emphasis is on deep listening – to ourselves and others.

Dr Rosenberg designed Compassionate Communicationso that we use it properly, it fosters respect, attentiveness, empathy, and engenders a genuinr desire to really listen from the heart and to understand each other.

In the office and at home, this style of communication creates breakthroughs in removing barriers to understanding each other.

It is founded on well-known principles. It reminds us to stop and think before speaking so that we can relate to each other far better and with respect and appreciation rather than playing the game of “who’s right?”.

If we play the game of “who’s right?”, then there will always be a winner and loser. It is no fun at all to play this game, because the one who ends up as loser … loses. And the winner really doesn’t win, because there will be one sore loser.

Rosenberg guides us to refrain from becoming a bore or attacker to the other person. Anytime others perceive us as being frightening, angry, anxiety, demanding and shaming to them, they turn defensive into either fight, flight, or freeze.

Most make the mistake of ‘shoulding’ others for example, saying, “You should lose weight”, “you should do it this way”, “you should not be so lazy”, then we are directing others.

When we direct others, they often retaliate by dragging their feet, or procrastinating, stonewalling, or even sabotaging your efforts.

However, when we make a respectful request of others to take action, then the other party often will do so.

Rosenberg says that if we stop being judgmental, critical, attacking, pressing others to do what we want, we will have much better relationships.

There are four steps to his method of Compassionate Communication. They are:

1. Observation. Simply observe what is happening in the behaviour of the other person. Do not judge, evaluate, or presume you know what is happening. Just describe the behaviour as you see it, without judgement.

2. Feelings. Describe or guess the feelings of the other person. Offer your thoughts to them. This creates empathy.

3. Needs. Have a go at guessing or describing what you think the other person needs. For example, you might venture to say, “I feel you are frustrated, and that you wish to have more respect from me, is that right?”.

4. Request. Make the request not a direction. Request for action, for example you can say, “Would you be willing to share with me what you would like the next action step to be to resolve this situation?”.

Learning any new language or syntax is not easy. The structure is simple, but when applied expertly, this language of communication can resolve conflicts, office battles, make you into a better negotiator at work, at home, and resolve a whole range of situations.

I am convinced that studying and applying Nonviolent Communication or Compassionate Communication will take you into the realm of mastery of relationships.

In Nov and Dec, 2015, I will be conducting the last public programs for the year. We will have a half-day program to be run on Saturday afternoons between 2pm-6pm on

“Communicating for Connection & Collaboration” 

based on the work of Rosenberg and other luminaries on conflict management.

If you are already on my mailing list, do look out for upcoming notices on this program.

Additionally, for Sales Professionals, look out for details on our last public program for the year in November 2015:

“Sales Booster – Presentation Skills for Sales Professionals“.

Ricky Lien

Dramatically Improving Communication in Business

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