Presentation on theme: "Confident Communication: Being Direct, Honest and Self-Assured in Graduate School Noah M. Collins, Ph.D. Staff Psychologist University of Maryland Counseling."— Presentation transcript:
Confident Communication: Being Direct, Honest and Self-Assured in Graduate School Noah M. Collins, Ph.D. Staff Psychologist University of Maryland Counseling Center
What is Assertiveness? A communication style Ability to express your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions openly in a way that respects those of others So it involves being direct, honest, and respecting both self and others Its goals include effective communication and negotiation, mutually satisfactory compromise, win-win outcomes, maintaining the relationship where possible Not just getting what you want A tool you can develop and use when you choose
Passive vs. Assertive vs. Aggressive Assertive v. Passive v. Aggressive
Communication Styles are Learned We are born assertive Early experiences and models shape how we tend to communicate How was conflict dealt with in your family and early relationships? Yelling, closed doors, silent treatment, blaming, avoid conflict and negative emotions, give in, etc. Family roles: mediator, buffer, emotion expresser, etc. Families do the best they can and we need to fit in with them, but as an adult you can adjust your communication patterns
Cultural Factors Culture also plays a big role in communication styles Each culture has its own mores, values, and norms about how conflict is handled And we are socialized into our culture What are the rules you have learned in your culture? How do they impact assertiveness and what it looks like? Experience with more than one culture? What are the differences you have noticed regarding conflict management and assertiveness?
Assertiveness Techniques/Strategies When you…I feel…I would like I-statements Broken record Acknowledgement, validation, gratitude Be proactive Strike when the iron is cold Prioritize and Consult
When you…I feel…I would like When you (describe the person’s behavior) I feel (state your emotion) I would like (state alternative behavior) Be specific when talking about behaviors Avoids argument about right and wrong Sharing the emotional impact of a behavior on you is more effective than trying to prove the behavior is wrong
I-Statements An example is, “I feel…” or “I would like…” Prevents using “You…” which may lead to attacking the other person. You make me angry, You are the reason I’m not making more progress Owns your experience. Takes responsibility for your reactions, your emotions, and your needs Its not all on them
Broken Record Take a phrase that clearly encompasses what you want to communicate. For example: Given the amount on my plate, I don’t think I can meet this deadline I am very concerned about my stress level and want to work on changing something to reduce it Repeat it; allow yourself to go back to this phrase whenever you feel unheard or if the conversation seems to leave it behind Can be helpful if you find that you get flustered and your brain stops working Just have to remember one thing
Acknowledgement, Validation, Gratitude Think of something you appreciate something they have done to make things better Some relevant positive feedback A instance where they were nice instead of a jerk Use some sugar, but only if genuine Validate their experience I realize it must be frustrating that… I know what you really want is… Listen to and paraphrase the things they are trying to communicate to you Listening is a powerful assertiveness tool
Be Proactive & Strike When the Iron is Cold These both involve timing It is easy to avoid addressing your needs when it is not yet a crisis But don’t wait until you/they are upset Try to be aware of signs that something is bothering you Avoid intervening when you are particularly angry or upset Validate your own expereince and use self- care when upset, and then speak to the person later
Prioritize and Consult Rank your needs by how important they are Is this need essential, important, desirable? This can give you a sense of how hard you should push and how much to negotiate When unsure, talk to someone else you trust; get another pair of eyeballs on it Ideal if they know about the context/situation Can practice, even role play with them
Practice, but start easy… You can practice first with safe friends, colleagues, partners, and family. What are some doable opinions/wants/feelings that you would like to try to communicate? Maybe even let them know you are practicing Look for opportunities in low-stakes situations Stores, restaurants, etc. Try to make success probable when you’re first starting out
Managing Your Advisor/Faculty Think about who they are How do they like to work Personality, quirks Communication style What makes them happy, impressed Not who you think they should be How can you work best with a person like that Think about what is doable by you to make this relationship go well Don’t do what isn’t doable or unjust, but do what is doable
Vignettes and Role Plays In a lab meeting with your advisor a peer doesn’t mention your contributions to a project you did together Your advisor asks you to take on a large task that will mostly benefit your advisor and you don’t feel you have enough time to participate You are waiting for your advisor to get back to you with information and/or feedback you need to make progress on your thesis and you are getting concerned that the delay will affect the time table you both set up previously. Situations from your life?