Communicating Assertively Presenter: Adam Sandelson Teaching & Learning Centre
Why be assertive • Because - its more than subject knowledge that makes you successful at studying & fulfilling your career aspirations • Because - assertiveness is a communication style that can be useful in job or academic interviews, presentations, public speaking etc • Because – assertiveness “energizers” your communication with academics, colleagues, friends, partners, family etc.
Aims of this session To discuss assertiveness in terms of; • What is & isn’t assertiveness, • What it will & will not do • How can someone be more assertive • What do you get from being an assertive communicator
What isn’tassertiveness Being Selfish • Here you are concerned only with your rights & needs, with little regard for the rights & needs of others • Being Aggressive • Here you are demanding, abrasive & hostile with others. You are insensitive to other people’s feelings & their individual rights. • You succeed with sheer force, creating enemies & conflict along the way
What isn’tassertiveness Being Passive-aggressive • You express anger & aggression in a covert way • You fail to do your share of the work & make unreasonable criticisms of authority Common Traits are • procrastination, sulking or arguing when you are asked to do something, complaining without justification, “forgetting” your obligations, believing you are better than others, you can’t stand useful suggestions or constructive criticism
What isn’tassertiveness Being Manipulative • You get others to feel sorry or guilty to you get what you want • You play the role of victim or martyr • It only works work when others do not realise what you are doing • Eventually its makes people feel confused, “crazy,” angry & resentful towards you
To summarise ! Assertiveness is not • Being selfish, aggressive, passive-aggressive or manipulative Even though we do use these “communicative tactics” at some point in our lives to get what we want - BUT – Spending your life or time being a non- assertive communicator will bring you much stress, dissatisfaction & disappointment
Assertiveness Questionnaire Take a look at the “assertiveness questionnaire” handout. Read each situation and define each of your responses as either aggressive, passive or assertive. Share your answers!
What is assertiveness • Direct, open & honest communication with others • Asking for what you want & saying “no” to what you don’t want • Not negating, attacking or manipulating others • Respecting the dignity of other people • Standing up for yourself & your rights without apologising or feeling guilty • Taking responsibility for your own needs • “Energy”
To summarise ! Assertiveness is about • Being clear about your needs & rights, asking for what you want, saying no to what you don’t want • Using direct, open & honest communication, taking responsibility, respecting others & not violating their rights When you are assertive • Others will feel comfortable, know where you stand & respect you for your honesty • Your needs get met, you experience less stress & more satisfaction with life in general
What Assertiveness will not do • Guarantee you happiness or fair treatment by others • Guarantee that you will automatically get what you want in life • Guarantee that others will be assertive & not aggressive towards you • Solve all your personal problems • BUT – a lack of assertiveness will be one reason that your feelings or needs are not acknowledged or met by others
How can I be more Assertive • First recognise that it is culture specific • Recognise that you & everyone else has a right to your “personal bill of rights” – see handout • Truly believing that you have a right to your needs & have a right to ask for what you want • Taking responsibility to protect your rights in situations where they are infringed upon
Personal Bill of Rights • Is drawn from the idea that we all have basic human rights • Sometimes we do not realize these rights, because we were not taught them as children • Being more conscious & learning to exercise your rights is the gateway to being more assertive What do you think? Are any striking to you?
How can I be more Assertive • First be aware of your feelings, needs & wants • Then say directly how you feel inside & what changes you would like to see happen • Use “ I statements” to express yourself “.. I feel unhappy with your suggestion & I would like you to listen to mine..” • Do not back off or move away from someone you are addressing (stand your ground)
How can I be more Assertive • Note that 30% of our communication is verbal, while 70% is non-verbal • Develop non-verbal assertive behaviours. These are about your voice tone, gestures, eye contact, facial expression & posture (“social signalling”) • Non-verbal behaviours definitely influence your impact on others • For example; look directly at another person when addressing them
How can I be more Assertive • Maintain an open posture – if sitting down don’t cross your legs/arms - if standing up do so erectly & on both feet • Stay calm - avoid getting overly emotional or excited • Practice being assertive through writing, role-play & real life situations • Don’t assume others just know how you feel, what you need or want. Make these known • Other people are not mind readers
How can I be more Assertive • Learn to also say “ no ” • Saying “no” sets limits on other people’s demands for your time, especially when it conflicts with your own needs • You can acknowledgethe other person’s request by repeating it back, explainyour reason for declining & then say “no” • If appropriate suggest an alternative proposal where both your needs will be met
How can I be more Assertive An example of how to say “ no ” “..I understand that you would like to get together tonight [acknowledgement]. It turns out that I had a really long day & feel exhausted [explanation], so I will pass on tonight [saying no]. Perhaps there is another night later this week when we can get together – what do you think?..” [alternative option].
What do I get from being more assertive • It enables you to obtain more of what you need & want in life • It helps minimisestress, frustration & resentment in your relationships & interactions with others • It helps you take more risks & ask more of life in general • It adds to your sense of autonomy, freedom & self confidence • You definitely gain respect from others for being direct, open & honest
Coming to the end…. Assertiveness is really about • Knowingwhat isn’t & what is assertive communication, and what it will & will not do • Ceasing opportunitiesto be more assertive • Recognising the valuein being assertive • Increasing the prospect of your rights, feelings, needs & wants being met In all …. • Assertiveness contributes to your academic success, and it helps fulfil your career & life ambitions