Explanation of the skill

A typical connection request, and the one, we most often coach to, is to ask person B to reflect back to person A the needs that A has just finished expressing. More broadly put this skill involves the challenge of requesting people in a conflict conversation to demonstrate their hearing/understanding of the other's experience and needs. The other connection request is to ask person A and B how they feel once they have heard the other's needs and possibly how they feel after they have reflected the other's needs.

Examples of using the skill

  • "A, I heard B say that he has a need for x. Can you reflect that back to him?"
  • "A, how was that for you to hear?" (Once B has reflected back to A)
  • "Do you feel like B heard you about your need for understanding?"
  • Use the word 'Repeat'
  • Ask for repetition as a means of ensuring understanding.
  • If repetition sounds disingenuous/incomplete etc. try "What do you need to hear to feel confident he understands what you said...."
  • "Are you able to repeat back what his needs are?"


Triad practice with skill of connection requests


1. Set up role-play
2. Mediator asks disputants to reflect:
     •  What they heard the other person's needs to be and
     •  How they feel about what they heard