Assertiveness Techniques


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  • Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative ideas and feelings in an open, honest and direct way. It recognizes our rights whilst still respecting the rights of others. It allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions without judging or blaming other people. And it allows us to constructively confront and find a mutually satisfying solution where conflict exists.
  • Right to decide how to lead his lifeRight to pursue goals and dreamsRight to a valid opinionRight to say how he/she wants to be treatedRight to say “no”Right to change ones mindRight to privacyRight to ask for help
  • Assertive people learn to: This is who I am, this is what I feel and these are my needs.Express their feelings,Ask for favors,Give and receive complements,Request behavior changes, andRefuse unreasonable requests.
  • Passive people deny their own wishes to satisfy someone else’s. They sacrifice their own needs to meet someone else’s needs.
  • Aggressive people tend to humiliate others and consequently they elicit pity or scorn from people.
  • It’s simply a strategy of repeating your demands over and over again without getting angry, irritated, or loud. So all you gotta do is just stick to your point and stay focused on the issue. Besides, you should repeat what the other person has said using the word “and” not “but” because the latter will contradict you if you say it.
  • Don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked by responding to any issues the other raises.
  • I-messages or I-statements are a way of communicating about a problem to another person without accusing them of being the cause of the problem. Often, when someone has a problem with another person, they tell them so by using a "you-statement," for example, "you didn't finish the financial report on time!" While that statement may be true, by phrasing it that way, the listener is likely to get defensive, and begin to argue. For instance, they might reply, "I couldn't because the deadline was unreasonable!" or "You are always pestering me. I'd get more done if you'd just leave me alone!"
  • Another approach to the same problem is using an "I-message." For example, the worker could say, "I really am getting backed up on my work since I don't have the financial report yet." The co-worker's response to this statement is likely to be more conciliatory. For example, she might respond, "I know. I'm sorry. I'll finish it up today and try harder to meet my deadlines. I had a lot of things piling up at once this week, but I'll get it to you as quickly as I can." While this doesn't completely solve the problem, it retains the good working relationship between the two people, and is more likely to generate more cooperative interactions in the future than the accusatory, "you message" approach. Strong "I" statements have three specific elements:BehaviourFeeling Tangible effect (consequence to you) Example:
  • I feel frustrated when you’re late for meetings. I don’t like to repeat information.
  • An assertive person makes eye contact about 50% of the time with the person with whom he/she is communicating. Aggressive people gain power by staring down the other person.FACIAL EXPRESSIONS – Your face should match your emotion and what you are saying. Don’t laugh when you are upset and don’t have a frown when you are happy. A relaxed, pleasant face is best when you are happy. A relaxed, serious face is best when you are upset.
  • If you smell or feel the other person’s breath, you are probably too close. Keep a comfortable conversational distance from the other person. If you get too close, people feel you're in their face, or too pushy. Too far away, and you could be seen as standoffish.
  • Use a factual, not emotional tone of voice.Sound determined and full of conviction, but not overbearing.
  • Our appearance says a lot about how we feel about our bodies as well as the mood we may be in. The colours we wear, the clothes we wear for a particular occasion all say something about us.Feeling good about your appearance can sometimes help to encourage assertive feelings. It is nothing to do with being 'pretty' or dressing up to please others.Small things can add up to make and overall impression.
  • “ No ” is just a tiny little word that most people don’t have the courage to say to their friends, family members, bosses and even strangers. People find it difficult to say “No” because they fear to be rejected by others because they think they’re supposed to say “Yes” all the time. However, we can say “No” graciously without feeling guilty. Therefore, people should respect those who say “No” and take into consideration that they might be busy doing other things like priorities. Basic principles to follow in answers: brevity, clarity, firmness, and honesty.· Begin your answer with the word "NO" so it is not ambiguous.· Make your answer short and to the point.· Don't give a long explanation.· Be honest, direct and firm.
  • I appreciate your invitation but I can’t come.
  • The best way to get exactly what you want is to ask for it directly.You have a right to make your wants known to others.
  • This technique involves not only accepting the criticism but also openly agreeing with theCriticism as well as coping with you errors. The skill involves calmlyagreeing with the criticism of your negative qualities, and not apologizing or lettingyourself feel demolished.
  • If someone aggressive is making the criticism they may expect youto become defensive or aggressive back. By agreeing with them the tension in thesituation is diffused.
  • Negative inquiry consists of requesting further, more specific criticism. If someonecriticizes you but you are not sure if the criticism is valid or constructive you ask formore details.
  • If the criticism is constructive, that information can be used constructively and thegeneral channel of communication will be improved. If the criticism is manipulative ordestructive then the critic will be put on the spot.
  • The Fog Technique is only used when you are being repeatedly nagged. Do not deny any criticismand do not counter-attack with criticism of your own.Accept manipulative criticism by calmly acknowledging to your critic the probability that there may be some truth in what he/she says yet allows you to remain your own judge of what you do. Once learned you can receive criticism comfortably without becoming anxious or defensive, while giving no reward to those using manipulative criticism.
  • In this technique you find just one accurate part of what the critic is saying and agreewith that.
  • With this technique you can still say something may be possible even though youreally think the chances are likely to be a million to one. So you agree inprobability.
  • In this technique you acknowledge the person’s logic without agreeing with whatthey say. We all make mistakes from time to time. No one is perfect.
  • Assertiveness Techniques

    1. 1. Difficult Situations Many times we have to deal with difficult situations in our workplace or even in family. Conflictions in mind always occur between people. Views on same situation differ from person to person. We are humans and we have emotions and ego. When something like this occurs, it bothers everyone.
    2. 2. Assertiveness AssessmentA Questionnaire on Assertive Behaviour
    3. 3. Have you ever been through
    4. 4. Have you ever been punished by your supervisor for something bad you have done?
    5. 5. Have you ever been driven crazy by patients?
    6. 6. Have you ever been scolded byyour boss for sleeping at work?
    7. 7. Have you ever been disappointed by someone who you really trust?
    8. 8. Have people ever plotted against you?
    9. 9. Have your colleagues ever gossiped and talked bad about you?
    10. 10. Have you ever wanted to say to something you’ve beenasked to do?
    11. 11. Have you ever…… Have you ever….. Have you ever……
    12. 12. It’s time to think positively and look for a solution.
    13. 13. Seek a feasible option and take a courseaction which will lead to >>>>assertiveness
    14. 14. ASSERTIVE BEHAVIOR - DEFINITION“Assertive behavior is a behavior which enables a person to actin their own best interest without undue anxiety, to expresstheir honest feelings comfortably and to stand up for theirown rights without denying the rights of others.”
    15. 15. Why to be assertive?Assertiveness:o Reduces stress in workplace and life.o Improves decision making skills.o Helps people have happier lives.o Helps people handle difficult co-workers and friends more easily.o Assertiveness prevents “gunny sacking”, i.e. it saves up a lot of bad feelings. Assertiveness is not what you do, its who you are! Cal Le Mon
    16. 16. NON – ASSERTIVE BEHAVIOR Passive Passive individuals are not committed to their own rights. More likely to allow others to encroach on their rights than to stand up and speak out.
    17. 17. NON – ASSERTIVE BEHAVIOR Aggressive Are likely to disregard the rights of others. Feel powerful when dominating others, later guilty or remorseful as people draw away. Tend to dismiss or ignore the feelings, needs and opinions. Tend to blame others for problems instead of offering solutions.
    18. 18. COMPARISONDirect Aggression Indirect Aggression Submissive AssertiveAngry Sarcastic Shy DirectBossing Scared Honest Deceiving Helpless AcceptingFrowning Ambiguous Embarrassed ResponsibleHitting Manipulative Indecisive SpontaneousOffending others Guilt-inducing Passive Saying noIntolerant Insinuating SmilingUnbearable Calm
    19. 19. Assertive Tips and Techniques The broken record. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Use assertive body language. The delicate art of saying “No”. Use the DESO technique when making requests. Negative assertion. Negative inquiry. Fogging.20
    20. 20. The Broken Record
    21. 21. Six guidelines:1. Select a short one-sentence refusal statement and use it no matter what the other person says or does.2. After each statement by the other person, say your broken record sentence.3. Say it in a soft, calm, unemotional voice.
    22. 22. 4. Don’t ‘attend’ to the other person very well - it will only encourage him/her to keep talking.5. Allow plenty of silence.6. Persist. You must say your broken record one more time than the other person makes his request.
    23. 23. “ Example: Sarah: "Can I borrow 10 SR from you?" Paul: "I cannot lend you any money. Ive run out." Sarah: "Ill pay you back as soon as I can. I need it desperately. You are my friend arent you?" Paul: "I cannot lend you any money." Sarah: "I would do the same for you. You wont miss 10 SR." Paul: "I am your friend AND I cannot lend you any money. Im afraid Ive run out."
    24. 24. The Importance of “I” Statements
    25. 25. When confronted with an intolerable situation Being assertive involves 5 stages. Stage Example1. Describe the behavior. “When you do this…..”2. Express your feelings. “I feel……………………….”3. Empathize. “I understand why you….”4. Negotiate a change. “I want you to……………….”5. Indicate Consequences. “If you do(don’t), I will….” Not all steps may be necessary for all situations.
    26. 26. I feel frustratedwhen you are late for meetings.
    27. 27. Eye Contact and Facial Expressions• Maintain eye contact (but don’t stare).• Appear interested and alert, but not angry.• Avoid looking away for long periods.
    28. 28. Assertive Body Postures• Walk steadily, holding your back straight and your head up.• Relax your shoulders and spread your weight evenly on both legs.
    29. 29. The Significance of Distance for Assertiveness• Allow yourself enough room to feel at ease and move when/if necessary.• Sit or stand directly in front of them.• Be sure to be near enough to be heard clearly without shouting.
    30. 30. Voice Tone and Pitch• Strike a balance between whispers and very loud voices.• Speak slowly, audibly, clearly and calmly.• Breathe normally to avoid nervousness.
    31. 31. Listening• Listen intently and attentively to other people.• Be respective to what they say.• Nod your head or use interjections to show that your paying attention.
    32. 32. External AppearancesAssertiveness can be expressed via yourexternal appearance.
    33. 33. The The Delicate Artof Saying “No” Delicate Art of Saying “No”• When saying no, it is important to be direct, concise, and to the point.• You may offer reasons for your refusal, but dont get carried away with numerous excuses.
    34. 34. Begin your answer with the word “No” so it’s not ambiguous.
    35. 35. Make your answer short and to the point.
    36. 36. Be honest, direct and firm.
    37. 37. Negative Assertion
    38. 38. For example, someone may say:Criticism: “Your desk is verymessy. You are very disorganized”.Response: “Yes, it’s true, I’m notvery tidy”.
    39. 39. Negative Inquiry
    40. 40. For example:Criticism: “You’ll find that difficultwon’t you, because you are shy?”Reply: “In what ways do you think I’mshy?”
    41. 41. FoggingThere are 3 types of fogging: you cana) agree in part,b) agree in probability orc) agree in principle.
    42. 42. a) Agreeing in part:
    43. 43. For example:Criticism:“You haven’t got a job, you’recompletely unproductive.”Response: “Yes, it’s true, I don’t have a job”.
    44. 44. b) Agreeing in probability:
    45. 45. For example:Criticism: “If you don’t floss your teeth, you’llget gum disease and be sorry for the restof your life.”Response: “You’re right I may get gum disease.”
    46. 46. c) Agreeing in principle:
    47. 47. For example:Criticism: “That’s the wrong tool for that job. Achisel like that will slip and mess upthe wood. You ought to have a gouge instead.”Response: “You’re right; if the chisel slips it willreally mess up the wood”.
    48. 48. The basic difference between being assertive and beingaggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rightsand well being of others.Bower, Sharon Anthony