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Monday, August 31, 2009

Techniques to be assertive

" The most powerful assertiveness technique is to repeat your command with the confidence that the child will soon yield." - John Gray.

Let us consider situations where you along with your friend or a family member decide to go out together.

It may so happen that often, the other person might be putting pressure on you to get ready much before time, while you would prefer continuing with what you are doing and get ready only when it's actually time to do so. So, how do you be assertive in such situations?

The following is an example of what you might possible say: "Hey, Geetha, I find that whenever we are preparing to go somewhere, you start pressurizing me to finish dressing as soon as you're ready, even if it's not yet time for us to leave. I know that you get anxious when you're all ready to go and i'm not,but when you do that, i get all stressed up and take even more time. By the time we get out of home, we are angry at each othr and not much in the mood to have a good time, we are angry at each other and not much in the mood to have a good time. From now on, let's be sure we know what time we want to leave, and if you're ready before i am, will you please just go to another room and read the paper or watch TV? From now on, if you pressurize me bfore it's time to leave and start asking me to hurry up, I'm just going to remind you of the time, ask you to go to another room, and close the until i'm ready. I know this is going to be difficult at first, But i am sure we will enjoy our time out a lot more in the long run."

So, now, let's look at the techniques involved in being assertive:

1.There are three steps in every assertive behavior/communication:

a.Empathy/validation:You have to say something that indicates to the other person that you understand his or her feelings. This shows them that you're not trying to start a fight, and it helps to avoid them from getting angry.In the previous example we considered, the words that convey this empathy are:
" I know that you get anxious when you're all ready to go and I'm not ."

b.State the problem in very clear terms: You need to describe and explain your difficulty/dissatisfaction and tell why you need something to change. The sentence from the previous example that does this is:"but when you do that, I get all stressed up and take even more time. By the time we get out of home, we are angry at each other and not much in the mood to have a good time."

c.State what you want:This is a specific request for a specific change in the other person's behavior. For example, "From now on, let's be sure we know what time we want to leave, and if you are ready before I am, will you please just go to another room and read the paper or watch TV?"

In order to be effectively assertive, you need to

a.Use assertive body language

b.Face the other person, stand or sit straight.

c.Avoid using dismissive gestures.

d.Be sure you have a pleasant, but serious facial expression.

e.keep your voice calm and soft.

f.Use "I" statement that is keep the focus on the problem you have, not on accusing or blaming the other person.

g. Use facts, not judgements.

h. Express ownership of your thoughts,feeling and opinions.

i.Make clear,direct,requests.

Example: "Will You Please .....?"

instead of "would you mind....?"or "Why don't you....?"

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