Professional Communications ZAA 105

Week 2 - How to speak

Week Two Introduction | 1:56 mins

How to speak so that people want to listen | 9:58 mins

This talk by Julian Treasure is a great link between behaviours that undermine assertiveness (this week’s topic) and a good recap on effective public speaking technique. Hence the title of his TED talk is “How to speak so that people want to listen”, which represents a blending of the two. Take a note of the most important points for you, including the seven (7) deadly sins of speaking.

Assertive behaviour is a very valuable interpersonal skill, because of its positive impact on workplace relationships and an individual’s self-esteem. Assertiveness promotes more satisfying relationships, self-control, self-confidence and increases the likelihood that you will achieve your personal and career goals. Assertiveness will also help you in group situations and when working in a team. An assertive team member feels comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions in a team environment, but in a manner that doesn’t involve them dominating discussion and impinging on the rights and ideas of others.

Despite the clear advantages of being assertive, many people aren’t fully developed in this area. Perhaps you are a passive communicator and therefore shy away from getting what you want in fear of upsetting another, or doing the wrong thing. Or – perhaps you are more aggressive and raise your voice in conflict and get upset?

Assertiveness is the ideal response, in the middle between passive and aggressive behaviour. The good news is that it is a skill that can be easily developed with some honest self-reflection, good information and commitment to making a change!

Now, I’d like you to watch this assertiveness course, presented by Chris Croft. It does take about an hour as he moves through all the stages of his presentation. I would like you to take notes throughout, so that you have a record of the techniques that he presents. Taking notes will help to clarify your own understanding as we move through what may be a very different perspective or process than you have experienced before. We will also be using some of the techniques to practice responses and I would like you to have your notes as a ready reference.

As you begin to view the tutorial, please move on from the welcome segment and watch all the mini-tutorials that make up the whole presentation. Please note: there is no need to do the quiz at the end of this presentation. This week’s content contains an alternative quiz that is more relevant to what we are learning.

Next, I would like you all to print off and closely read this information that outlines clearly what assertiveness is:


How did you go with the quiz? || Why do you think you received the score you did?

If you are finding yourself interested by this topic, I have included some optional links at the end of this week’s content for further reading on this important communication skill.

Unsurprisingly, assertiveness also has a relationship to body language. The following clip describes the importance of congruence (or matching) between our body language and our spoken word. This is a very important part of effective public speaking.

Assertive body language | 4:31 mins

Thinking about the information we covered last week on body language, what do you think your body language does when you need to be assertive? Why? How could you change it to make it better?

Complete the checklist to undertake a short personal review on your own communication skills and how many ‘assertive’ skills that you currently use.

Now… It’s over to you – time to explore some of these new skills and practice!

Assertiveness Introduction | 4:25 mins

We are going to start with an exercise, designed to help you practice ‘I’ statements. Here are two clips that demonstrate methods to do this. The second clip involves a fourth step, similar to the assertiveness tutorial by Chris Croft. As I mentioned earlier, the idea is to find a format that feels comfortable for you, but it must follow these steps.

I Statements | 1.20

How to speak assertively with I statements | Elanor Skakiba | 5.52 mins

Next, please print out and complete the first of two ‘I statements’ worksheets. This worksheet only has the three stages included – I invite you to include the fourth stage which is presented in some of the clips we have watched. The fourth stage is inviting participation: e.g. “How does that sound..?”, “Is that ok..?”

The second exercise is to again practice drafting I statements, but for this next exercise, I would like you to consider the response from the other person. What sort of 'problems could the original message create? Please print this sheet and complete the questions.

To conclude this week’s skill development on assertiveness, I’d like you to complete a short reflection. The skills that we have been practising are not easy skills, and for many of us, they can reflect a lifetime of doing things a different way.

I'd like you to take a few minutes and write down:

  1. How easy did you find these exercises? Why were they easy or not? Take a minute to think about this and really explore your response. (As mentioned earlier in the assertiveness tutorial - it's a 'bit like peeling an onion!')
  2. In the coming week, can you identify three situations where you could apply 't' statements and improve your assertiveness?
  3. What overall strategies could you use to improve your assertiveness?

As I mentioned, if you are interested in exploring assertiveness a little more, please find some optional viewing materials here:

Note: we viewed Module 1 and following (in order) are modules 2, 3 & 4.

How to recognise assertive behaviour

How to think more assertively

How to behave more assertively

The last section of information for this week is on giving constructive feedback. Assertiveness is a key part of constructive feedback, that is why we have covered it in detail before moving into exploring this next important skill.

How to give great feedback

View this clip and write down the main points of interest for you. ** Please note: we will not be using the four step process at the end of this clip to draft feedback. I would like you to write down your understanding of the points the makes around:

Listening || Collaboration (Suggestions/Brainstorming)

Secondly, please read this article to the end of the four step process. I would like you to record the four step process here and use this as a guide to draft your responses in the following exercise.

Lastly, please watch this clip for some great general tips for giving feedback and also covers how to give feedback to different generational groups.

To conclude this week’s module, I would like you to complete the following exercise:

Please re-write the following negative statements into constructive feedback statements, following the four step process contained in the Eleanor Shakiba clip – Giving feedback like a pro.

“You always seem to be 15 minutes late starting work. Why can’t you get here on time like the rest of us..?”

“Your recent report was rubbish”.

“I thought you were very rude to that client – I doubt they’ll be coming back after you spoke to them like that..!”

“Why is it taking you so long to finish such a simple task..?”

Please bring your answers to these questions to your tutorial and be prepared to discuss your responses at the next workshop.


Created with images by Cea. - "Museum of Communication" • typographyimages - "human rights human rights" • christels - "phone old device"

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