In dialogue with Stefan Bannach on conflict management and communication

10 May 2017, 9:00 am Written by  Civil Society Academy

After our recent Leadership and Management Series in New Delhi, the Civil Society Academy sat down with Stefan Bannach to talk about his personal impressions of the focus trainings, the role of communication in regard to conflict management, and the future of the CSA. His thoughts are shared in the dialogue below:

CSA: Hi Stefan! How do you feel after four days of training?

Stefan: Well, it was definitely a great, but intense time.  Everything went well and people could connect with each other as well as the new ideas shared with them during the training. Moreover, they said they were very happy with my way of facilitating. This is very encouraging, I feel happy, calm and connected.

CSA: So, you have been facilitated two focus trainings this time – one on Conflict Management and the other one on Communication Skills for Leaders. What differentiates the two workshops from each other?

Stefan: The training on conflict management goes deeper into perceiving feelings and needs. First and foremost, participants learn how to perceive conflicting parties as human beings. Various concepts are introduced to help identify conflict situations. The training on communication skills helps our participants to look at communication from the psychological perspective. You can look at communication in a sort of technical way, while conflict management is more complex and goes deeper. Here the impact of one’s judgments, observations and needs play an important role in understanding, preventing and managing conflicts.

CSA: In this context, how important is communication in regard to conflict management?

Stefan: It is definitely an integral part of it. You need to be a good communicator in order to be able to manage conflicts. A good communicator can not only speak well but can also connect with people at a human level and inspire them. A good communicator connects with people by using active listening as a tool to create a common understanding and making people know that their views are heard and recognized. The structure of our modules allows us to use different approaches and techniques to get good outcomes for all participants. The communication module focusses on general communication skills such as how to speak in a way that gets your message across; what is important to discuss and how to structure what you think and intend to say. You need to be able to use empowering questions to encourage people, to increase their ownership and give feedback to improve communications. When it comes to conflict resolution, you also need to consider the specific context because when there are conflict and tension, situations become more difficult to approach. During our training, the participants understand that you are not solving conflicts but you are managing them. You use communication as a tool to raise your own awareness and of those around you.

CSA: One of the most common questions that you asked during the training was “What surprised you the most?” Now it is your turn, what surprised you the most in the past four days?

Stefan: When you meet someone for the first time, a certain impression is shaped. But once you start working together, you get to know each other better and eventually, the impression changes. This happens several times during the workshops. Sometimes there are people who speak very confidently and loudly, but in the course of the training they open up and you discover a sensitive side. On the other hand, some other people who might be quite and invisible suddenly have moments where they are able to speak up confidently. So the perception towards people changes. Even though this happens over and over again throughout the trainings, it always keeps me curious.

CSA: My last question is: You are the only facilitator who has seen the Civil Society Academy grow from scratch - from the first feasibility study to its current state. So how do you see the future of the CSA?

Stefan: I think that the CSA has been very successful in establishing itself. It offers comprehensive course modules with an interesting variety of thematic focuses. In this context, the CSA has created a very diverse and targeted colloquium. Also, there are great people on board which includes the staff, the facilitators, and the alumni. So the next steps are to sustain this community of people, to reach out to more organizations and individuals to get them involved, and to come out of the pioneering state and stay closely at the pulse of the sector. One of the key strengths of the CSA is the ownership of the academy’s team, as well as the closeness to Welthungerhilfe. It will be exciting to see the academy’s links grow. So when I see the Civil Society Academy in five years, I’d like to see that its impact is visible to all.

CSA: Thank you very much!

Interested in attending our Leadership and Management Series? Our next series is going to take place in Kathmandu. 

Registration to be submitted by 29 May 2017. These are the dates:

6 – 7 June 2017: Leadership Skills | 8 – 9 June 2017: Team Management and Leadership 12 – 13 June 2017: Conflict Management 14 – 15 June 2017: Communication Skills for Leaders

For more details, check out our flyer HERE.


Stefan Bannach facilitates the Focus Trainings on Communication Skills for Leaders and Conflict Management. He is a Bangkok-based consultant, trainer, and coach with more than 10 years’ experience in Germany, South Asia and South East Asia. He is experienced in moderating and facilitating multi-stakeholder processes in a participative way, as well as setting up training modules in the fields of communication, team development, conflict management, participative planning, and moderation.