When we deliver an assertiveness skills course, we want to ensure that delegates have a toolkit of assertiveness techniques that they can use in everyday conversations or situations. We want these techniques to be easy to use, remember, and have a positive impact.
There are lots of different assertiveness techniques out there, some tried and tested and others that people have developed themselves that work for them.
Here are some assertiveness techniques that we recommend that you can use every day.
Here are some of the common assertiveness techniques that we recommend and use in our assertiveness skills training courses:
- The Bill of Assertive Rights
- The Fogging Technique
- The Positive and Negative Enquiry Technique
- The Broken Record Technique
The Bill of Assertive Rights
The first of our assertiveness techniques is the Bill of Assertive Rights. The bill of assertive rights is 10 things that highlight the freedoms we have to be ourselves without disrespecting others. They help us to understand how and when we can all be more assertive and how we can respond to others who are not being assertive with us.
In his book ‘When I say no, I feel guilty’, Manuel J Smith first proposed the ten-point ‘Bill of Assertive Rights’, all based around one key principle: ‘The right to be the final judge of yourself is the prime assertive right which allows no one to manipulate you’.
The ‘Bill of Assertive Rights’ reads as follows:
- You have the right to judge your own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
- You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behaviour.
- You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
- You have the right to change your mind.
- You have the right to make mistakes – and be responsible for them.
- You have the right to say, ‘I don’t know’.
- You have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.
- You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
- You have the right to say, ‘I don’t understand’.
- You have the right to say, ‘I don’t care’.
You can learn more about the bill of assertive rights and more details about each of the 10 rights by reading the article The Bill of Assertive Rights.
The Fogging Technique
The second of our assertiveness techniques is the fogging technique. This is an approach often used in assertiveness skills that helps us to provide a calm response to someone who is being aggressive towards us. When used correctly, the fogging technique aims to reduce further confrontation by quashing it and not providing more fuel to escalate it.
When using the fogging technique, we show that we agree with anything that is true in what the other person is saying to us. When someone is aggressive, the other person is likely expecting an aggressive or passive response back. This then gives them the fuel (or reason) to continue to be aggressive.
By using the fogging technique, we deliver a different response to what was expected. With no fuel, the other person begins to change their approach towards us and likely becomes calmer and more assertive themselves.
You can learn more about the fogging technique, how to apply it and some examples of how to use it by reading the article The Fogging Technique.
The Positive and Negative Enquiry Technique
The third of our assertiveness techniques is the positive and negative enquiry technique. The positive and negative enquiry technique is a skill used when someone provides us with a compliment or praise, or when someone provides us with negative feedback or criticism.
The positive and negative enquiry technique has 2 different responses – positive and negative which are more commonly known as positive enquiry and negative enquiry.
- Positive Enquiry – used for handling positive comments, praise and compliments
- Negative Enquiry – used for handling negative comments, feedback or criticism
The positive side of the technique, known as positive enquiry, is used for handling positive comments, praise and compliments.
Many of us don’t know how to respond to positive feedback or compliments. It’s important that when someone gives us a compliment or praise we test why they are doing this.
This is because this can be a tactic that leads to committing to doing something because we now feel obliged to do so.
When someone compliments us or gives us praise, we should ask for specifics so we can continue to do what led to the positive comments. We do this by enquiring or asking for more details.
Negative enquiry follows the same process but we ask for more details of the negative feedback or criticism. Just like positive enquiry, we ask questions to have the person elaborate further on the feedback.
See more about the positive and negative enquiry technique by reading the article The Positive and Negative Enquiry Technique.
The Broken Record Technique
The last of our assertiveness techniques is the broken record technique. Much like the name suggests, when using this technique, we act like a broken record – where the record gets stuck and keeps repeating the same thing over and over. You simply need to keep repeating yourself until the other person gives in or concedes to your position.
We pick a phrase that describes our current position and, no matter what the other person comes back to us with, we answer with the same phrase. This shows that we are unwavering from our position and that no matter how their responses are delivered or what they say, we will not move.
This technique should be sued with caution and at the right time. You can find out more about the broken record technique and how to use the technique by reading the article The Broken Record Technique.
Assertiveness Skills Training Course
To learn more about the above assertiveness techniques and how to apply them, see our assertiveness skills training course where we cover all of these in much more depth.