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Assert Yourself!

This course teaches three types of technique: conversation management; skills for presentation and stating your case clearly; and self-protective techniques for handling unwelcome pressure from others. You will also learn techniques for rapid analysis of interactions so that you can more easily work out where people are “coming from”. The course provides powerful techniques of CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) to enable you to look at awkward or challenging situations with other people from a new standpoint and react to them more effectively while remaining calm and in control.

Conversations between two individuals or larger groups such as committees, families or working teams are extremely “elastic” – and can take an almost infinite number of turns and directions. The “assertive” individual in any conversation is the one who steers it in the direction that (s)he wants it to go, either by presenting points of view more strongly, clearly or persuasively; or by asking questions that direct the minds and thoughts of others the way that (s)he wants them to be thinking. It is obviously important, therefore, that in order to assert your ideas and wishes in conversations, you have a way of analysing how the conversation is developing and how you can direct it. This is where this assertion training programme will help and show you how you can put a structure of your choice over any conversation.

Presenting your case clearly in such situations as interviews, arguments, misunderstandings, persuading others and generally “getting your way” is of basic importance. This assertion training course helps you to be able to speak out clearly and stick to your point and your argument while others are trying to throw you off course. Showing yourself in a good light and indicating that you know what you are aiming to achieve is part of getting the results and outcomes that you are working towards. Developing assertive styles and ways of speaking are what this assertion training programme is about.

In everyday life, others are likely to be putting pressure on you to do things their way or to alter your course of action to fit in with theirs. Of course, a certain degree of flexibility is essential to maintaining harmonious relationships and complete uncooperativeness will simply lead to others dropping relationships with you. But it is all too easy to allow very skilled persuaders to get you to do things that they want despite real misgivings and even anxiety on your part. Dealing with such unwelcome pressure and keeping your own objectives clearly in view in such encounters is a major part of being assertive and is one of the focal skills taught in this course.

Most people have experienced the feeling of being “lost” in a conversation, encounter or argument because it is difficult to follow what it is that people are saying or trying to achieve. Analysing what people are saying makes following complex discussion relatively simple and can keep you focused on your aims, even though others are complicating or confusing the issues. These rapid analysis techniques are part of developing an assertive profile and making your points firmly in a considered and acceptable way. Taken together, the CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) methods you will learn from this programme form a solid basis for staying calm and handling challenging encounters more effectively.

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