Photo: Matthias Francke. CareerSteps 2018 – Joint Event of the Max Planck Society and the LMU.


These trainings can be booked as online, on-site, or mixed formats, and will be tailored to your needs. 

The most tricky and challenging communication situations are also the ones that can bring the biggest improvements for our collaboration and team spirit. For many people, feedback situations fall into the category of ‘tricky’ and ‘challenging’. Aspects that factor into this equation include different positions in the organisational hierarchy, cultural differences, gender, personality, and, more often than not, the lack of clarity over which kind of feedback is genuinely helpful in any given situation.



  • researchers in leadership positions, PIs, group leaders, directors
  • research teams and groups
  • PhD candidates and postdocs looking to leverage their communication potential to improve their work experience



An openness to explore concrete individual experiences of feedback with the training group.



Concrete goals vary widely from training to training. In the past, these have included:


  • effective communication with technical and administrative staff for international researchers
  • increasing PhD students’ commitment and personal initiative through coaching-style feedback by supervisors
  • learning to differentiate between three kinds of feedback: appreciation, coaching, and evaluation
  • applying models that help giving feedback that is both caring and honest
  • understanding and overcoming the obstacles to receiving feedback well: the level of truth, the level of the relationship, and the intrapersonal level


I consider Nonviolent Communication (Marshall Rosenberg) one of the cornerstones of my work, and not even primarily as a method, but as a mindset. It means that I believe that everyone’s needs matter (including my own) and that authentic, honest self-expression that is caring for these needs is the key to a more fulfilled and more effective working (and private) life. Other schools I have learned from and models I use include:

  • Humanist communication psychology (Schulz von Thun, Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen)
  • Radical Candor
  • SBI-I Feedback Model
  • Convergent Facilitation (as developed by Miki Kashtan in The Highest Common Demoninator)

It’s absolutely a strength when you can formulate things so clearly. Sometimes you overthink and don’t find the right words. And if you can peel it off like the layers of an onion… okay, what am I actually thinking, what am I feeling, and how is that connected to this need? This really helps. And once you have penetrated to this core it becomes much easier to formulate it clearly.

Strategic Science Manager | Leibniz Institute

If I was having an argument with someone it would just come to me to address it in this way [using the 4 steps]. The steps would really help me to deescalate the conflict. It became a practiced part of my everyday life.

PhD Candidate | University of Helsinky

I remember I paid a lot of attention while I was talking to other people that I don’t jump on them. I really tried to practice this also with friends. I have this tendency to complete their sentences if they take longer to express themselves. We practiced listening at the beginning of each session. Most of us realised that usually we are not properly listening.

Postdoctoral Researcher | Max Planck Institute

What impressed me the most was that we created a bit of a bubble where everyone was very eager to listen and to share. We were all strangers with different research backgrounds and from different institutes, and we met every week online. It was such an immediate safe space that was completely unexpected from me.

PhD candidate | Max Planck Institute

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