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Activity 3 Topic 3


Principles of connecting communication


90-120 minutes

Expected learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to:


  • Recognise personal feelings and needs when communicating in situations of critical cultural differences

  • Identify the other person’s needs and feelings

  • Define why a conflict, misunderstanding has arisen in an intercultural situation

  • Apply relevant methods to communicate in intercultural contexts


Intercultural communication, active listening

Required resources

  • Flipchart

  • Markers


Annex I. Instructions for teachers

Annex II. Four principles of connecting communication

Annex III. Lists of feelings and needs


Step 1. 

  • Before starting the activity carefully read Annex I. Instructions for teachers 

  • Explain the four principles of connecting communication (Annex II.)

  • Divide participants into pairs 

  • Each participant thinks about a recent conflictual situation he/she has experienced and note down its key points. 

  • If the situation chosen has already been resolved, invite your students to think about the situation as if it was still present. 

  • Annex III. Provide a list of feelings and needs that can help participants define their own and the other’s emotions. 


Step 2.

The activity develops in 3 rounds. It is important that, for each round, the person listening does not interrupt and does not comment. Moreover, the person listening to the other should try to sense the feelings and needs of his/her interlocutor. 


  • Round 1 – sharing your story

In the first round, each pair describes the conflictual situation: e.g. people involved, reasons behind the conflict. One person talks, the other listens. 

After 3 minutes, they change role. 

They discuss how the activity was, if they managed to describe without prejudices and without putting labels on the other and if it was difficult for them to share their story. 


  • Round 2 – sharing your feelings/needs

In the second round, the students change partners: they can decide either to tell the same story or to describe another one. One person talks for 3 minutes and then they change role.

Thus, the pair should describe their feelings and needs at the moment of the conflict.

They reflect on how it was to talk about their feelings and needs and if they managed to describe them without blaming the other. 


  • Round 3 – analysing the other person’s feelings/needs

In the third round, the pairs change again. Students will try to think about the feelings and needs of the other person in the conflict. Again, they may choose to continue with the analysis of the same situation or to move on to another one. Each partner speaks for three minutes and then they change role. 

They finally discuss how the activity was, if they were able to understand the other’s feelings and needs and what their feelings were after the exercise.

Relevant topics for discussion

Following the exercise you may further discuss with your students about: 

  • What they experienced during the activity

  • Needs and feelings

  • Empathy

  • The other’s feelings: remember you can only guess them!

  • The meaning of connecting and disconnecting communication (further explanation about the two concepts in Annex II.)

Original source

The activity is retrieved from Welcomm training Handbook:

Share stories, photos and videos from your class while using this Activity!

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