Learning Objectives At the end of this topic, you will be able to: • Identify the Four Styles of Communication • Identify techniques and strategies to get your point across confidently and effectively • Determine the root causes of weak communication and how to overcome them • Develop and Demonstrate Assertive Communication Skills
Communication Styles ______________________________ Four Basic Styles of Communication • Passive • Aggressive • Passive – Aggressive • Assertive
Communication Styles ______________________________ Passive • A person operating from the Passive style tends to avoid conflict at all costs. This person will internalize discomfort rather than risk upsetting others. • This style tends to result in a lose-win situation, and results in feelings of victimization, resentment, and a loss of a sense of control.
Communication Styles ___________________ Aggressive The Aggressive person creates a win-lose situation. This individual uses intimidation and control to get his/her needs met, and is disrespectful and hurtful to others in communications. This person has the underlying beliefs that power and control are the only way to get their needs met.
Communication Styles ______________________________ Passive – Aggressive • The Passive-Aggressive person incorporates elements of both of the previous styles. They tend to use procrastination, forgetfulness, and intentional inefficiency rather that being direct in his communications with others.
Communication Styles ______________________________ Assertive • The Assertive person is direct with the goal of creating a win-win situation. This style respects one’s own rights and opinions, as well as those of the other person. • They operate from the belief that each of us is responsible for solving our own problems, and neither party in communication has to justify themselves to each other. • This person takes responsibility for his or her own decisions and actions.
What is Assertiveness? Assertiveness is the ability to honestly express your opinions, feelings, attitudes, and rights, without undue anxiety, in a way that doesn't infringe on the rights of others. • It's not aggressiveness, it's a middle ground between being a bully and a doormat. • It's dependent on a feeling of self-efficacy, a sense that if you behave in a certain way, something predictable will occur.
Why is Assertiveness Important? If you don't know how to be assertive, you might experience – • Depression - from anger turned inward, a sense of being helpless, hopeless, with no control over your life; Resentment; Anger at others for manipulating or taking advantage of me. • Frustration. How could I be such a wimp? Why did I let someone victimize me? • Temper/violence. If you can't express anger appropriately, it builds up until it blows. • Anxiety, which leads to avoidance. If you begin to avoid situations or people that you know will make you uncomfortable, you may miss out on fun activities, job opportunities, relationships, and lots of other good stuff. (Cont.)
Why is Assertiveness Important? If you don't know how to be assertive, you might experience -- • Poor relationships of all kinds. Non-assertive people are often unable to express emotions of any kind, negative OR positive. It's murder for a relationship when the partners can't tell each other what they want and need and how the other person affects them. No one is a mind reader. The same is true for friendships and work relationships. • Physical complaints. Headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure. We all know what stress does to our bodies, and assertiveness, when it becomes a habit, is a great stress reliever. • Parenting problems. Kids are born knowing how to test the limits their parents set for them. If parents aren't assertive and firm, their kids will walk all over them!
WHAT DOES ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION LOOK LIKE? • Much of our communication is non-verbal. A person with an assertive communication style has a body language that conveys openness and receptiveness. • Posture is upright, movements are fluid and relaxed, tone of voice is clear and with inflection. • An assertive person makes good eye contact, and is aware of personal space. (Cont.)
WHAT DOES ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION LOOK LIKE? • When giving opinions, an assertive person is willing to express his/her opinion, and also is open to hearing other’s points of view. • They are direct, but not argumentative or threatening. • They do not use sarcasm or gossip as a way to communicate. • They do not silently sit back out of fear of not being liked. • When an assertive person receives feedback from others, they are able to listen and accept what the other person has to say, even if they don’t agree. Many people have a hard time receiving feedback, even if it’s positive. How many times has someone paid you a compliment and you simply dismiss it, or minimize it rather than hearing it and simply saying “thanks”! (cont.)
WHAT DOES ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION LOOK LIKE? • No one likes to hear negative feedback, but an assertive person does not react to criticism by counter-attacking, denying, or feeling anxious or inadequate. • They make a conscious choice about how to respond the criticism. • They ask for clarification to make sure they are really hearing what the other person is saying. • Importantly, they can validate the others’ party’s feelings, without necessarily agreeing with the person’s feedback. • If the negative feedback is valid, they accept responsibility.
Communication Strategies________________________ • Know and understand your audience. • Be prepared. • Speak clearly. • Practice using “I” statements. • Ask for feedback from trusted colleagues about the way you are coming across.
Communication Strategies________________________ Know and understand your audience. Is assertiveness always the best way to go? Before you decide to act assertively in a given situation, you have to decide if you can live with the consequences. Although assertive behavior usually will result in a positive response, some people might react negatively to it. For example, if your boss is completely unreasonable and is known to go ballistic if anyone dares question his orders, even non-aggressive, respectful, assertive behavior might set him off and you could lose your job. If that's your situation, then you may decide you can't afford to be assertive, and will need to learn other stress management techniques. (Cont.)
Communication Strategies -- Know and Understand Your Audience • You must be able to relate to people with diverse backgrounds, education levels, and experiences. • Being able to understand and relate to a specific individual will go a long way in working with others.
Communication Strategies - - Be Prepared and Speak Clearly • Be prepared. • Speak Clearly. • Know what you want to say. • Preparation leads to confidence.
Practice using “I” statements • Avoid using “you” statements that distance you from your feelings. Instead, use statements that begin with “I feel ______”. • Avoid using “you” statements that accuse. Many people interpret statements that begin with “you” as blaming and will often become defensive in their response. (cont.)
Practice using “I” statements • "I lovemy job, but I am not defined by it. • "I am a strong and worthwhile person." • I'm here to help you and support you in any way I can. If you trust me, then together we can turn this around. • I'll pay extra for you accommodating me. • I'm sorry, I value our past relationship but I simply cannot take on any more projects right now.
Ask for feedback from trusted colleagues about the way you are coming across. • Listeners “read” our voices in addition to listening to our words. • Speech sounds provide subtle but powerful clues into what we really mean. • Tone of voice can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, good humor, or confidence. • Tempo/rhythm indicate level of interest
Exercise – Don’t Use That Tone of Voice With Me “Don’t use that tone of voice with me.”
Root causes of weak communication and how to overcome them • Blurting things out before thinking what the impact of our words may be. Think before you speak and make sure that you are truly saying what you want to. If necessary, jot things down on a piece of paper before a difficult situation 2. Allowing ourselves to be overrun by others and saying yes to every desire. Remind yourself that it’s ok to say No! The tone that you use and the way you say it makes all the difference. Be genuine and considerate of the other persons feelings, but stay firm in your answer or you will regret it later. (cont.)
Root causes of weak communication and how to overcome them • Thinking only about what we are going to say next in the argument. Actually listen when people are talking to you! One way to practice this is to ask for clarification on things if you are unsure what the person said. Summarize their words and then reflect them back to them. They will be impressed with your new listening skills, and most likely less defensive. (cont.)
Root causes of weak communication and how to overcome them 4. Our Ego gets in the way. It would help us to be less egotistical. Not everything in life is about us. Sometimes people are rude or curt with us simply because they are having a bad day and we are the nearest target. 5. Believing that everyone must see the world the same way you do. Stop trying to convince people that your opinion is the “right one” It is a losing battle! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (including you). Choose not to get upset with others when they don’t share your views. Remind yourself that everyone is unique and there is no one right way.
Developing Assertive Communication Skills - Value yourself and your rights: • Understand that your rights, thoughts, feelings, needs and desires are just as important as everyone else's. • But remember they are not more important than anyone else's, either. • Recognize your rights and protect them. • Believe you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity at all times. • Stop apologizing for everything. (Cont.)
Developing Assertive Communication Skills Identify your needs and wants, and ask for them to be satisfied: • Don't wait for someone to recognize what you need (you might wait forever!) • Understand that to perform to your full potential, your needs must be met. • Find ways to get your needs met without sacrificing others' needs in the process. (cont.)
Developing Assertive Communication Skills Acknowledge that people are responsible for their own behavior: • Don't make the mistake of accepting responsibility for the how people react to your assertive statements (e.g. anger, resentment). You can only control yourself. • As long as you are not violating someone else's needs, then you have the right to say or do what you want. (cont.)
Developing Assertive Communication Skills Express negative thoughts and feelings in a healthy and positive manner: • Allow yourself to be angry, but always be respectful. • Do say what's on your mind, but do it in a way that protects the other person's feelings. • Control your emotions. • Stand up for yourself and confront people who challenge you and/or your rights. (cont.)
Developing Assertive Communication Skills Receive criticism and compliments positively: • Accept compliments graciously. • Allow yourself to make mistakes and ask for help. • Accept feedback positively – be prepared to say you don't agree but do not get defensive or angry.
Assertive Communication Skills Learn to say "No" when you need to. This is the granddaddy of assertiveness! • Know your limits and what will cause you to feel taken advantage of. • Know that you can't do everything or please everyone and learn to be OK with that. • Go with what is right for you. • Suggest an alternative for a win-win solution.
Exercise – Assertive Communication • Review the following scenarios. • Write down negative factors that you see while you listen to the scenario. • Be prepared to give your recommendations on being more assertive.
Scenario #1 You are approaching someone about behavior you’d like to see changed: “Your friend, who habitually arrives late for your plans, has shown up 30 minutes late”
Scenario #2- The assertive boss places a pile of work on the employee's desk the afternoon before that employee goes on vacation.. - The assertive employee tells the boss that the work will be done upon their return. (cont.)
Scenario #2 – • Assertiveness is based on balance - it requires being forthright about your wants and needs while still considering the rights, needs, and wants of others. When you are assertive, you ask for what you want but you don't necessarily get it. • Aggressive behavior is based on winning - it requires that you do what is in your own best interest without regard for the rights, needs, feelings or desires of others. When you are aggressive, you take what you want regardless, and you don't usually ask. (cont.)
Scenario # 2 • The boss was being - aggressive Yes, he had work that needed to be done. However, by dumping it on his employee at such an inappropriate time, he showed a total lack of regard for the needs and feeling of his employee. • The employee on the other hand, demonstrated assertive behavior when he/she informed the boss that the work would be done, but it would be done upon return from vacation.
Scenario #3 At least a third of work colleagues are viewed as being competitive, with most workers viewing this as a negative thing. A number of senior executives believe that employees are more competitive today than they were a decade ago. The majority of people want a workplace that is conducive to getting along with others to ensure that work is productive and enjoyable. However, sometimes workers who have an overly competitive attitude to work can make this difficult to achieve and can create rifts in the workplace. “You suspect you're on the receiving end of regular negative treatment dished out by an over-competitive co-worker.” How would you handle this?
Summary • Assertive behavior is often confused with aggressive behavior, however, assertion does not involve hurting the other person physically or emotionally. • Assertive behavior aims to equalize the balance of power, not to “Win the Battle” by putting down the other person or rendering them helpless. • Assertive behavior includes expressing your legitimate rights as an individual. You have a right to express your own wants, needs, and ideas. • Remember: Other individuals have a right to respond to your assertiveness with their own wants, needs, and ideas. • An assertive encounter with another individual may involve negotiating an agreeable compromise. • By behaving assertively, you open the way for honest relationships with others.
Summary • Assertive behavior is not only determined by “what you say”. A major component of the effect of your communication depends on “how you say” it. • Assertive words accompanied by appropriate assertive “body language” make your message more clear and have more impact. • Assertive body language includes: - Maintaining direct eye contact. - Maintaining an erect posture. • Speak clearly and audibly. - Do Not use a soft, whiny, or muffled voice.
Summary • Use facial expressions and gestures to add emphasis to your words. • Your communication style is a set of learned behaviors. • Assertive behavior is a skill that can be learned and maintained with practice.
Learning Objectives You are now able to: • Identify the Four Styles of Communication • Identify techniques and strategies to get your point across confidently and effectively • Determine the root causes of weak communication and how to overcome them • Demonstrate Assertive Communication Skills
Assertive Communication Presenters Gwenda S. Tiger, International Examiner LB&I Tulsa, Oklahoma (918) 384-3740 Pauletta Churchwell, Special Enforcement, SBSE, Tulsa, Oklahoma (918) 384-4755 Steve Lambourne, Chief, Java Application Architecture Group (JAAG) (972) 308-1507