Wednesday, October 4, 2017

assert(Assertive == True)

We've just run a two-part assertiveness training course for my Test and Doc teams at Linguamatics. What exactly is assertiveness? you ask. From our trainer's web site:
Assertiveness is a highly effective communications model ...  Assertive behaviour is professional behaviour. It is about being able to express yourself calmly and clearly and on equal terms with others; to stand your ground when necessary without becoming aggressive, or manipulative, or backing down unnecessarily.
I found it interesting and engaging, and with some immediate practical value: to create a drill to be practised and used in situations where I think I'm at risk of becoming non-assertive, and to remind myself that even if the outcome of some interaction isn't ideal I can still try to give myself credit for how I behaved during it. I also enjoyed trying to fit ABCDE (always be calm, direct, and equal) into the behaviour space I've come to by other means, such as congruent communication and Satir's interaction model.

As an aside, during the workshops I practiced the sketchnoting techniques I picked up at DDD! the other week. One sketch is at the top, the other here:


  1. So pleased you found value in the training James. I love the two sketch-notes - such great summaries of the ideas! My only query would be in sketch 1 to note that my ABCDE is to remember it's About Being Calm, Direct & Equal - not ALWAYS being. Important distinction because if I set myself the aim of Always being CDE I set myself up to fail. No-one is perfect, we can't always stay calm, direct and equal. Absolute demands can lead to self-punishing red thoughts rather than the more positive, realistic green thoughts. It was a real pleasure to work with your bright, committed team, thanks for inviting me.

  2. Thank you, Laura.

    You're quite right about ABCDE. I took a different interpretation to yours that's to do with intention rather than requirement. (I generally have a degree of caution around "always" too: Toujours Testing)