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Trainer’s Tip: Assertiveness Warm-up/Energiser

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Eddie Newall shares an idea.


Ask them to identify a situation, from their own personal experience, in which they found it hard/easy to be assertive either outside or at work. Use the hard-to-be-assertive situations as problem-solving group work and feedback.

Give them examples of situations, which involve some form of threat, together with one or more possible responses, and ask them to identify whether the response is assertive, passive or aggressive. For example:

Situation: The barmaid serves you the wrong drink in the pub.

Response: "What do you call this? I asked for a shandy, not lager - get your act together, love.”

Situation: A new colleague, with whom you share an office, smokes continuously. You dislike the smell of smoke.

Response: “Gosh, I’ve really got a headache, but then smoky atmospheres always bring on my migraine.”

Situation: You are feeling put upon at work and decide to ask for a higher grade.

Response: “I’d like to talk about my grade with you. Please could we meet next week to discuss it further?”

Give them examples of typical situations, which represent some form of threat, either outside or at work, and ask them to identify an assertive, passive and aggressive response to each situation. For example:

A non-work situation: You are waiting to pay for some shopping but the two sales assistants at the till are deep in conversation and appear to be ignoring you.

A couple of work situations: Your employer expects you to take on extra work but your existing work load is already very heavy. You make a mistake at work and your supervisor tells you off in a very abrupt and angry manner.
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Assertiveness Warm-Up/Energiser

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