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Listening Past The Judgments: Learning How To Communicate Compassionately

Posted on Sep 29 2017 under Blog Posts


Quick Tips:

  1. Don’t react or respond to an angry person with
  2. Be empathetic with others in conversation and be empathetic with yourself.
  3. Go into conflict with a compassionate mind and heart and a goal to connect with the other person.




How do you have compassionate, non-violent communication?

  1. Observe the situation from a third party perspective. Imagine you are video recording the conflict, take note of what is said and what is done. It is important when doing this that you leave out your interpretation of what occurred and any judgments you might have. Reverend Phil Schulman explained that as a society we tend to listen with judgment naturally, but we must “learn to listen through those judgments” to communicate compassionately.


  1. Be mindful of the emotions you are feeling. Emotions are always present in conflict; it is necessary to acknowledge them and name them to begin addressing them. Phil Schulman suggests you avoid saying, “I feel that…,” “I feel as if…” or using “I feel” as a pronoun because you will be expressing a thought or interpretation and not an emotion.


  1. Ask yourself what do I need? What does the other person need? Identifying what both you and the other party needs is how you will form a connection and be able to move forward. When you can reach a place where you can link with the other person a shift will occur where solutions can then be generated productively.


  1. Request for something to fulfill a need but don’t demand. Once you recognize the needs for yourself and the other party, you can then request something that will contribute to fulfilling that value.

Your Assignment:

In our interview with Reverend Phil Schulman on The Texas Conflict Coach® podcast, Reverend Phil suggested an assignment that can assist you in having a compassionate conversation:

  • Make a list of all the qualities (values and needs) you would like in a relationship.
  • Think of something that someone said or did that made your life wonderful. Notice the values or needs from your list that were satisfied or roused during that moment.
  • Once you have done this write out this formula and fill in the blanks with what is in parenthesis:

When I remember the way you did (Fill in what they said or did), I feel (The emotion that was roused) because I so value (Fill in what you value or need). Would you be willing to (Make a request that will help you achieve fulfillment of that value or need)?

To learn more about this topic, listen to the entire episode Compassionate Conversations.

Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Guest Blogger

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