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No More Soap: Make it Assertive

No More Soap: Make it Assertive


Purpose

Many countries around the world regularly broadcast soap operas on TV; social programs which usually contain a lot of angry and emotional discussions between various extreme characters.

This exercise helps delegates to use the scenarios on such programs and turn them around with assertive communication.

Objective

Watch a conversation in a soap opera and convert it to an assertive communication.

What You Need

  • Several carefully selected parts of a soap opera suitable to show in a training class. Make sure you can show this in your class based on your local rules and regulations. There needs to be a main character whose responses would be the focus of this exercise.
  • The part your select should contain a serious and emotionally charged conversation where various characters disagree with each other in a heated conversation.

Setup

  • Show the chosen part of the soap opera.
  • Divide the delegates to as many groups with members equal to the number of characters in the scene. For example, if the scene has 3 characters, divide the delegates to groups of 3. If 1 person was left, let him join another group as an observer. If 2 people were left, ask them to roleplay only two characters (if possible).
  • Ask each group to choose who in their group roleplays each character.
  • The person nominated for the main character in the soap opera should only respond assertively. Other characters can respond as they like; assertively, passively, or aggressively. They can imitate whatever style was used in the soap opera, though as the roleplay goes on they should respond based on what they hear from the other characters.
  • Allocate 10 minutes for this roleplay.
  • Bring everyone back together and ask all groups to share their experience.
  • You can repeat the exercise with other videos and rotate the characters in groups so that everyone gets a chance to be the main character and practice responding assertively.
  • Follow with a discussion.

Timing

Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 5 min showing soap opera + 10 min per roleplay + 5 min feedback = 20 minutes per selected video

Group Feedback: 10 minutes

Discussion

Was your roleplay conversation better that the one in the soap opera? How did it develop over time? How did you feel while you were going through it? What does this suggest about the importance of assertive communication? Did this exercise change the way you look at soap operas?

Variation

You can force the characters to only roleplay using assertive communication. This allows everyone to simultaneously practice assertive communication. The challenge is somewhat reduced due to lack of an aggressive character but the exercise will be shorter.