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Appreciative communication

About the importance of psychological safety at the workplace

Mutual respect, being able to speak freely, not being afraid of hurtful comments - that's what all employees want in their job. Open and appreciative interaction is the basis for successful productive cooperation. Above all, communication contributes significantly to how “safe” people feel in their social relationships. In today's blog post we take a look at what appreciative communication is, explain how it is used in business and private life and how it can be promoted in everyday working life.

What is appreciative communication?

Appreciative communication, often referred to as non-violent communication according to Rosenberg, is a language that is characterized by eye level and mutual respect. The connection between sender and receiver is elementary, so that the relationship benefits from the communication. The basis of appreciative communication is the method of non-violent communication developed by the psychologist Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. But why is appreciative communication so important for effective interpersonal relationships? Only human relationships based on mutual respect are conducive to the long-term goals of both individuals. Appreciative communication exactly promotes this goal by paving the way for respectful interaction at eye level and by creating satisfaction and meaning.

The basic assumptions of appreciative communication by expert Beate Brüggemeier:

  1. Every person strives to fulfill his or her needs. It determines the overall behavior.
  2. One’s own needs are just as important as those of others.
  3. People like to contribute to the benefit and well-being of others if they do it voluntarily.
  4. Any form of reproach, attack or judgment is an expression of unfulfilled needs.
  5. Each person has the choice to complicate or enrich his own life and the lives of others.
  6. People do not act AGAINST others but FOR their needs.

Which language and behavior are part of appreciative communication?

In practice, appreciative communication is divided into four phases. The main focus here is on I-messages (“It is important to me that...”) in contrast to accusations (“You did... wrong.”). The factual observation is followed by the feeling that something is triggering in you. You then formulate your (unfulfilled) need and conclude with a friendly request (≠ claim or demand).

Appreciative communication examples

The first step is to describe to the other person one's own perception of a situation without evaluating it. Interpretations, judgments or evaluations have no place here, as they easily lead to misunderstandings.

Example: "I was not copied into this email."

The second step is to explain to the other person what feelings the situation has triggered in you. It is important not to blame the other person, but to separate the trigger (other person) from the reason for your feelings (fulfilled/unfulfilled needs).

Example: "This made me feel uncomfortable because I'm afraid of missing something important."

Based on the feelings expressed, you will also more easily identify your needs. This part is the heart of appreciative communication. Recognizing one's own needs is essential for resolving conflicts. In this way, you will find new options for action instead of insisting on old demands.

Example: "I would like to be copied into important e-mails in the future so that I feel safe and informed."

The final step is to make a clear request based on your own needs. It is important that your own wish is expressed as specifically as possible and in a way that can be fulfilled. The fulfillment of the request is now in the hands of the communication partner and is explicitly not a demand.

Example: "Please copy me into future emails of this type."

These four steps can be easily applied in different situations - both professionally and privately.

How can appreciative communication be used?

The method of appreciative communication is excellent for conflict resolution and for building trust in professional and personal relationships. After all, the area of application is always where fulfilled or unfulfilled needs are part of the communication. It ranges from “emptying the dishwasher” and “taking out the garbage” at home to employee discussions in the company or disagreements in other organizations. Appreciative communication also contributes to further personal development. Discussing your own needs creates clarity, communicating those needs creates openness and understanding. Ultimately, appreciative communication is a path away from attacks, defenses and justifications towards respect, creation of value and efficiency in communication. In doing so, not only communication benefits but also private or business relationships.


Trust plays a major role in any interpersonal relationship.

How can appreciative communication be promoted in the work environment?

Appreciative communication is an important success factor, especially in the work environment. Employees who are dissatisfied and do not feel heard are less productive and cost the company money in the long and short term. A fear-free and appreciative environment is essential so that the team gets involved, presents its own ideas and collaborates creatively. Because appreciation is value creation. Through targeted training units and education, employees and managers learn how to use appreciative communication in order to shape relationships, in conversations, in (potential) conflicts, in customer contact, etc. Both verbal expression and active listening are trained. In order to anchor the new method in the corporate culture also in the long term, it is important that habitual or automatic reactions are consciously prevented and an honest exchange is encouraged. This is how respectful interaction succeeds even in situations full of “heat”.


How can appreciative communication be implemented in the digital world?

Appreciative communication in the digital world is based on the same principles as in the analog world. Nevertheless, speakers and senders face specific challenges in the digital world. For example, due to a bad internet connection (or because the participant does not want it) image transmission may not be available. As a result, both communication partners no longer have access to an important sensory organ, namely vision. However, this is essential in order to read the reactions of the other person, such as changes in facial expressions or gestures. In addition, there is usually greater time pressure, which can lead to tension in the conversation. It is essential to be aware of the special challenges in the digital world and to communicate in a correspondingly lenient and considerate manner. Sensitive topics with conflict potential could also be clarified in a personal conversation in the spirit of mutual respect and appreciation.

Gurgl Carat Congress Center in Obergurgl.

Seminars and workshops at Gurgl Carat

The best way to learn appreciative communication is in training courses and seminars held by trained coaches. The perfect setting for your event is very important in order to be able to present the content ideally. Various seminar and conference rooms for 5 to 500 people are available at Gurgl Carat. The modern technical equipment, the huge range of catering options and the awesome mountain world right on the doorstep are further plus points in the Europe’s highest congress center. Would you like to hold a training course on appreciative communication at Gurgl Carat? Then simply get in touch with us!