This exercise helps delegates to practice communicating assertively. Assertive communication as opposed to passive or aggressive communication is usually the best way to handle aggressive communication. The focus of this exercise is on learning how to constantly use assertive communication and not necessarily only at the beginning of a conversation.
Respond assertively to another group no matter how they respond to you.
What You Need
- Divide the delegates to an even number of groups.
- Pair each two groups together and explain that groups will be role playing a conversation between two people. It is their choice to choose a subject for the conversation so long as it is something the groups disagree on.
- The conversation is fully recorded on paper. So each group should write one statement on the paper and pass it to the other group. The other group, after thinking about their reply can write it and pass it back.
- One group should only respond assertively and the other group has a choice to respond anyway they like; aggressively, passively or assertively.
- Allow the conversation to carry on for at least 8 statements on each side.
- Ask groups to provide feedback to each other about their conversation. In particular the assertive group’s responses should be examined to see if they are assertive enough.
- Mix all groups in a way so that those groups who have not been assertive can now be assertive.
- When conversations are completed, encourage a feedback session.
- Bring everyone back and follow with a discussion.
Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes
Activity: 10 min round 1 + 10 min round 2 = 20 minutes
Group Feedback: 5 minutes
Was it easy to be assertive? Was it easy to become aggressive as soon as the other group showed aggression? What happened when the other group was passive? How did you feel about the lack of body language? Did you feel it was more difficult to show assertiveness or did it not matter?