top of page

Communication workshop with CUG

Last July, Katrin Häuser and Felix Endrejat from @TheGreenSpring gave a workshop for Control Union Certification (CUG) at the charming Shlosscafè Kopenick.

The workshop focused on #communication - in particular, on how to avoid #miscommunication.

The workshop kicked off shooting straight to the core of the issue, challenging the audience with the question:

How do I communicate?

The conversation that followed elaborated on the psychological theory of the “Riemann-Thomann Modell” by Fritz Riemann and Christoph Thomann, that aims at schematizing different emotion states by drawing them on cartesian axes. After joining the various poles, the intersection reveals different personal attitudes and general traits.

The outcome can be significantly helpful both to understand one’s own interpersonal approach to others, as well as how to interpret other people's intentions and communication needs.

How a person reacts, communicates or feels can therefore be partly derived from this model and sometimes better understood. For example, if a person with a strong need for distance meets a person with a need for closeness, there could be tension and interpersonal conflict.

In an ideal world, there would be a perfect balance between these basic tendencies - however, in real life interpersonal communication usually only one or two expressions are activated at a time.

A concrete example was shown with an exercise where attendants were asked to give different interpretations of a same short sentence, following the 4 ears model by Friedemann Schulz von Thun.

The theory defines how within the same message there are four different ways of understanding:

  • Factual content: Plain factual information delivered by the emitter to the receiver.

  • Self disclosure: In addition to the information, the emitter also reveals something about themselves with every statement. The receiver on the other side starts getting information on the background status or emotional state of the emitter through this layer.

  • Relationship hint: The emitter expresses his relationship with the receiver through features such as wording, facial expressions , gestures or tone of voice.

  • Appeal: The emitter usually wants to get something across to the receiver with his words . They convey requests, appeals or instructions for action, for example. On the appeal side, the emitter can influence their counterpart.

The group was asked to look for different meanings, intentions and possible explanations to the short situation:

A woman and a man are sitting in the car. The man is the driver. When the light turns green, the woman says, "It's green". What does that mean on a factual content, self-disclosure, relationship and appeal level?

After a short discussion it was clear how each of the four different ways of understanding proposed by the Friedemann Schulz von Thun model led to different interpretations and most importantly that the intentions of the emitter might not always be the same as the ones perceived by the receiver.

Given today’s working environment, where a lot of communication happens digitally and in written form, it is particularly relevant to understand how intentions are often hard to catch and understand. For this reason the second half of the workshop placed an emphasis on written communication. The collective discussion around written communication led to multiple insights on how important it is to include tools that facilitate emotional or intentional meaning to an online message. An example of such could be the use of emojis or the avoidance of strong punctuation and letter capitalisation.

Building on the latter outcome, the workshop concluded asking participants to individually answer the following question:

What can I pay attention to in my communication according to my dimensional expressions so that I communicate effectively and understandably and avoid misunderstandings?

After sharing some individual answers with the rest of the team, in a co-creative process led by us, the CUG team established a communication etiquette as a collective agreement considering the needs of the whole group and trying to limit future misunderstandings.

From kicking off the workshop with an individual reflection on each own personal way of communicating to defining a collective corporate common language, CUG members now are well prepared to deal with internal communication issues and aware of the benefits that emerge from clear communication dynamics.

“Ich bin nur für das verantwortlich,

was ich sage,

nicht für das,

was du verstehst.”

Want to know more about how you can improve your personal and your team's communication? Get in touch with


bottom of page