Sharon Strand Ellison

Sharon Ellison, M.S., is an international communication consultant, an award-winning speaker, and the author of Taking the War Out of Our Words. She and her daughter, Ami Atkinson, produced the audio-book, Taking Power Struggle Out of Parenting winner of a Benjamin Franklin Award. Sharon has developed a communication process that gives people the ability to eliminate defensiveness in both professional and personal interactions. Sharon was an invited participant at the International Symposium on Human Dignity and humiliation at Columbia University, focused on the role of language in international conflict resolution. The guest speaker at the 11th annual Kaplan Lecture, in honor of Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, she received an honorary award as a pioneer in the field of communication. Sharon has extensive experience in training professionals in more than a dozen fields.

The creator of the Powerful Non-Defensive Communication process, Sharon is dedicated to the belief that learning to communicate with non-defensive power is a crucial key to our capacity for solving the majority of problems we face at every level — at home, at work, and in our local and global communities. She brings her cutting-edge theory together with a remarkable ability for demonstrating practical, realistic, life-changing skills. A gifted storyteller, Sharon offers keynotes as well as workshops and other training programs. Her ability to role-play further enhances her clarity and enlivens her presentations. Sharon inspires audiences by modeling what she teaches with honesty, humor, and integrity.

In her keynotes and workshops, Sharon shows how for centuries, across lines of race, class, and culture, we've used the "rules of war" as the infrastructure for verbal interactions. Utilizing the work of scientists like Dr. Joseph Le Deux, she demonstrates how this traditional model of communication prompts us — at a physiological level — to have instant defensive responses to the slightest provocation. Once flight or fight is triggered in the Amegdala, the complex problem solving function in the brain shuts down. Thus, we are interacting in ways that systemically create and accelerate conflict, even with those we love most.

This traditional model of communication not only has a profound effect on our personal relationships, it also fosters countless power struggles in professional realms. Beyond that, it creates seemingly insurmountable levels of alienation among diverse groups of people and blocks our ability to resolve the most imperative issues we face in our local and global communities.

Building on this foundation, Sharon suggests that if we think of this traditional model for communication as a computer program, then instead of continuing to use an outdated model, we can just get rid of it and get a new model. Unfortunately, newer approaches to communication are often still "rooted" in the old model and can inadvertently prompt defensiveness. The model Sharon offers is built entirely on non-defensive methods of communication, where each person can speak with clarity, power and compassion without being dependent on others for cooperation. Because the process does not require trying to control or manipulate others into responding in certain ways, it frees us from power struggle. As a result, others often instantly drop their own defenses, often instantly, even in high conflict situations. Using these skills, we can see a different side of human nature and create a different reality.

In addition to speaking at conferences, Sharon provides conference keynotes and training programs for organizations in more than a dozen professional fields, as well as community organizations and public workshops. She applies the non-defensive skills she teaches to any issue or topic, such as team building, management skills, cultural competence, community building and parenting.

Sharon's particular gift for analysis also makes her adept at recognizing systemic patterns of communication in both professional and personal settings. In professional environments, she can identify patterns that damage working relationships and inhibit productivity within a team, and/or an organization as a whole. She can pinpoint crucial issues and provide clear, direct feedback essential for changing the culture of the organization. Likewise, Sharon can identify key systems functioning within families, couple relationships, and individuals, giving people the skills needed to create healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

Because Sharon is committed to sharing the theory and practical skill sets she has developed for non-defensive communication, this website presents a great deal of information offering people an opportunity to gain insight into the process and see examples of how it works. She also has a free newsletter with PNDC Stories and Tips, as well as event notices. Sharon is dedicated to enhancing performance, creating leadership with integrity, and building community in every environment.

Partial Client List:

Sharon provides public workshops as well as training for organizations in more than a dozen professional fields. Her clients include: Hewlett Packard — Nordstrom — Stanford University— Lockheed Martin— Kaiser Permanente— the United States Department of Justice — The Smithsonean — Wells Fargo — the Internal Revenue Service — Shell Oil — UCSF Medical School — UC Berkeley — American Bar Association, International Dispute Resolution Conferences — Department of the Navy, International Dispute Resolution Conference — Law Societies of Canada — the International Association of Conflict Resolution — the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals — the Association of Human Resource Managers — The Texas Bar Association — The California Student Services Adminisrators — the Commonwealth Club — the Centre for Dispute Resolution, London, England — “The Women’s Global Health Imperative” — “Conference on the Human Capacity for Peace.” The Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group for the Federal Government, Washington D.C. — the Center for Dispute Resolution in London, England.

For a more complete list of Sharon's clients, go to: Client List

Words Participants Have Used to Describe Sharon's Presentations and the Impact of the Powerful Non-Defensive Communication SKills on Their Lives:

Unique — Untapped  — Power — Emerging — Innovative — Relevant — Practical — Challenging — Elegant — Focused — Masterful — Spontaneous — Tour de Force — Impact — Profound — Magnitude — Transformed — Amazed — Incredible — Dynamic — Open — Effortless — Centered  — Disarming — Accessible — Effective — Enlightening — Remarkable — Accountable — Enriching — Tremendous — Thrilled — Options — Systematic — Productive — Gratifying — Integrating — Awareness — Energy — Clarity — Passion — Commitment — Authenticity — Integrity — Courage — Compassion — Peace — Success — Balance — Empowering — Outstanding — Involved  — Genuine — Safe — Tender – Absorbing — Fascinating — Congruent — Brilliant — Magical — Invaluable —Enormous — Excitement — Unlimited Potential — Incredulous — Evolution — Breathtaking — Extraordinary — Vision — Hope  — Simplicity — Heart

For comments about Sharon as a speaker and the quality of her training programs, go to:

Professional Client CommentsPersonal Client Comments

Conference Planner CommentsConference Attendee Comments

For information on Sharon's Keynotes, Pre-Conference Workshops & Breakout Sessions, go to:


For more information about the relevance of the skills Sharon teaches to different populations of people, you can go to links below.

Personal: Individuals CouplesFamilies

Professional: Small Business & Corporate Consulting Firms Education: K-12 Education: Community CollegeEducation: University Finance Government Healthcare Law Collaborative Family Law Mediation Nonprofit Mental Health Women's Organizations

Community Organizations: Community Service Organizations Social Change Organizations Spiritual Communities

For more background information about Sharon and how she developed the Powerul Non-Defensive Communication Process, go to: Taking the War Out of Our Words: Book Introduction

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Powerful Non-Defensive Communication is a trademarked name. © 1994-2017 Sharon Strand Ellison

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