Last week, we talked about reflective listening skills as one of the building blocks for resolving conflict. Here’s the next one – assertion messages. And it’s the exact opposite of reflective listening. With listening, your focus is on the other person, their thoughts, their feelings and NOT your reaction or opinion on what they said. With assertion, you’re expressing your thoughts and feelings. Here’s the definition from Neil Katz of Syracuse University (same guy I used to define reflective listening) for assertion skills:Expressing your thoughts and feelings without infringing on another or damaging your relationship with him or her.Most of us have a sender orientation to communication. That is, we focus on what we, as the sender of a message, mean to say. Here’s a tip: instead, take a receiver orientation. Focus on how your message will be understood by the listener.When we are misunderstood (which often is the triggering event of a conflict) we often think the other person is at fault for not listening to us closely enough. Instead, take responsibility for the communication by ensuring that you state your message in a way that this particular person will understand your meaning. For example, when I tell my wife, “I’ll meet you at the movies around 7” she understands that to mean absolutely no later than 7. If I truly mean around seven, then I need to use a receiver orientation and find a new way to say it.Chapter 6 contains a number of tips on how to express yourself skillfully when in a conflict situation. The most direct and easiest to practice and learn is the I-Message (the authors call it the X-Y-Z statement). Listen to how an I-Message differs from a You-Message.You-Message I-MessageYou’re incredibly rude cutting in front of me in line I believe I was next in lineYou-Messages I-MessagesPut the focus on the other person Put the focus on youSeldom mention your needs or feelings Describe your needs and feelingsAre blameful Are non-judgmentalSo, here’s the I-Message formula:I feel ……………… (your emotion)When you ………..(the other’s behavior)Because…………..(effect on you)It’s a simple formula. We have gone into 3rd grade classes and taught the exact same formula. Yes, it sounds stilted. Yes, it sounds canned. And yes, it sounds like you just learned it at some class. But it works. Not 100% of the time. But it works a heck of a lot more often than a you-message. It is a necessary skill to learn in conflict resolution – which means you need to practice it … a lot.Here are some rules about how to use each step – I-Message formula.pdfCommon mistakes in using formula:Many of us don’t identify our emotions well. For me, it always come out, I feel upset.Here’s a set of emotion words that might help those of us who don’t do the emotion thing all that well – Emotion words.pdfThe Because statement needs to state the effect on your life. Many people say something like “because everyone else thinks so” or “because it’s a good idea.” If the other person does something that bothers you, then state how it bothers you. Now you need to practice the skill by answering the following:Running head: ASSERTION 1 Assertion MessagesStudent NameInstitution Affiliation ASSERTION 2Assertion messages During the week, I had a chance to come across a situation which called for an…
Reflective listening skills
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