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Taking the War Out of Our Words: The Art of Powerful Non-Defensive Communication [Paperback]

Sharon Ellison
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Aug. 17 2006
Provides verbal tools for healing conflict, enhancing self-esteem, becoming more open and strengthening relationships.

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Product Description

About the Author

Sharon Ellison is an internationally recognized consultant and award-winning speaker whose clients include Hewlett-Packard, Nordstrom, Silicon Graphics, Xerox Corporation, State Farm Insurance, the United States Department of Justice, The Smithsonian Institute, the Centre for Dispute Resolution in London, and numerous health care, social service, educational and community organizations. She was a nominee for the "Leadership in a Changing World" Award sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the Advocacy Institute.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book! July 30 2003
By Acumama
Format:Paperback
I love this book and would wholeheartedly recommend it for every househould. Families and coworkers can have the best intentions, but if the language we use is what we all grew up with - a war-like model - then it can be confusing and frustrating when our interactions with people make us feel worse than before. I like how this book dissects the language we typically use (most of it rang all too familiar!), then offers new ways of communicating the same thing with language that helps the other person feel more receptive.
I've started using these techniques at home and at work, and I can't speak highly enough about it. I really learned a lot, and I feel more empowered in my communication skills, even in difficult of situations - not that I don't fall back into old ways. But when I do, it's a reminder of how different the results are when you use language consciously or unconsciously.
The concept of using language creatively to generate harmony is such an obvious but brilliant observation. The way the author breaks everything down into examples makes it seem really possible for anyone to transform and improve how they interact with the world. (The index of examples is really helpful!)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Skill Building with Profound Results! April 28 2000
By Tifanie Hayden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Sharon Ellison's Powerful, Non-Defensive Communication method inspired me and made me eager to incorporate her discovery of a non-defensive form of communication into my own relationships. Sharon's book takes you through several different types of scenarios where her method can prevent those knots and tangles we sometimes find ourselves caught up in. More importantly, without having to provide real examples for every single type of situation requiring communication; she is able to provide clear, in-depth explanations for understanding this concept. For me, this book will serve as a resourceful tool, which I will turn to repeatedly until I have mastered this concept. I have been able to test this method with that most difficult person in my life. To my absolute amazement I was able to diffuse the anger and aggression in an instant. The response was calm, agreable, and seemed to put this person in think-mode over what they were feeling, where I had typically expected irrational conflict and excessive verbal abuse. I am actually able to speak without compromising my integrity or becoming entrapped in that power struggle. In past, other methods were short-lived and effective up until that difficult person caught on to my pattern of communicating. Using Sharon's method, I am able to stay true to myself without a need for masking those feelings in order to remain protected. I am willing to say that I believe this book may be preventing many years of unnecessary, damaging stress to my life. It is my opinion that this method should be mandated as an academic course within our schools today. I believe it is a wonderful and positive way to start out our continued struggle toward peace and understanding for one another!
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book! July 30 2003
By Acumama - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love this book and would wholeheartedly recommend it for every househould. Families and coworkers can have the best intentions, but if the language we use is what we all grew up with - a war-like model - then it can be confusing and frustrating when our interactions with people make us feel worse than before. I like how this book dissects the language we typically use (most of it rang all too familiar!), then offers new ways of communicating the same thing with language that helps the other person feel more receptive.
I've started using these techniques at home and at work, and I can't speak highly enough about it. I really learned a lot, and I feel more empowered in my communication skills, even in difficult of situations - not that I don't fall back into old ways. But when I do, it's a reminder of how different the results are when you use language consciously or unconsciously.
The concept of using language creatively to generate harmony is such an obvious but brilliant observation. The way the author breaks everything down into examples makes it seem really possible for anyone to transform and improve how they interact with the world. (The index of examples is really helpful!)
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has helped me communicate better than ever! May 18 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am amazed how the suggestions in this book have helped me work with clients more effectively. I've been able to set limits better, with excellent results, where in the past I would feel stuck and disadvantaged. This is in addition to making my communication with friends and family smoother. Sharon Ellison's ideas just make good sense when you think about it. But it's unusual in this culture to see very good examples of how to communicate well. It's as if arguing and fighting are the only ways we know, or giving up and shutting up, or maybe just pretending to agree, then zapping the other person the first chance we get. I'm thrilled to find and understand another way, where I can be true to myself and stand in my integrity, without getting into a tug of war, or disappearing. I use to just withdraw, and feel resentful, but not any more! I heartily recommend this book!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant analysis and accessible skills building April 12 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ellison describes with laser-like precision the basic ways in which communication breaks down in human relationships. However, unlike many other books in this field which portray the problem, she also describes how/what we can change so that we learn to speak from a place that is truthful and vulnerable while at the same time feeling protected and powerful. Other communication studies I have looked at, create a script to follow (i.e. "When you say/ do ___; I feel ___"). In Don't Be So Defensive, Ellison creates a formula to use questions, statements, and limit setting, so that they are adaptable to individuals, respecting the reality of our diversity. I believe that if enough people read this book, and work with its principles, we can change the world!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most practical books on communication and conflict resolution March 27 2006
By Patrick D. Goonan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I own a lot of books on listening, communication and conflict resolution. This book is one of the better ones because it presents a lot of useful concepts in an easy to apply manner.

The book begins by covering different communication styles and the thinking that underlies each style. It then goes on to present a non-defensive model and shows how it works, why it makes sense and how to put it into practice.

This book also talks about developing specific attitudes toward honesty and compassion. In other words, it is more than a text of communication techniques.

If you have read a lot in this area or a little, you will find this to be a very useful book. I also recommend "Crucial Conversations."
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