Assertive Statements

Objective: Participants will learn how to use assertive statements with coworkers.

Assertive Statements

Objective: Participants will learn how to use assertive statements with coworkers.


Ask staff to think about the last interaction they had with a coworker. Ask, "Were you able to communicate clearly what you needed, or did you hold back because you didn’t know how to ask for what you need? We are going to look at how to communicate with Assertive Statements so that you can get what you need without alienating others." 

What is an assertive statement? Turn and Talk with an elbow partner.  

Assertiveness:the ability to speak up for ourselves in a way that is honest and respectful. An assertive statement is the sentence you use to speak up for yourself. 

Hand out copies of the Four Basic Styles of Communication article communication style article . Have participants use Logographic Cues to mark up the article as they read. After everyone has read, have participants take their marked up article and use the protocol Move, Stop, Group to have them connect with others to share what they learned.

To bring up the energy in the room, use music to have participants move around the room. When the music stops they should group up with those that are near them (three to four people per group).

After they have had time to share, play the music again and have them repeat the process. You can do two or three rounds of this to allow for people to hear multiple perspectives. After the last round, choose someone to share what they discussed in their groups.

Once they share, have them Pass it On to someone else to share. The risk level for this activity is low as you are asking them to share what they heard and that allows them to share someone else’s thinking if they choose.

Have participants return to their seats. Review the four different communication styles using the Communication Style Powerpoint.  After you have introduced all four communication styles, give each participant one index card. On one side have them write a statement in one of the various communication styles: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive , or assertive. On the other side, write the type of communication style they are modeling.

Use the protocol Quiz, Quiz, Trade to allow practice on identifying the various styles of communication. Participants should quiz and trade with at least four other people before sitting down.

To wrap it up use Somebody Who to have people share out the statement on the card they ended up with and what type of communication it is. 

Activity #2:

Why is important to know how to speak up for yourself? Ask: Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know how to handle it? You didn’t know what to say? When you are faced with someone who is a bully, or who is aggressive we often we don’t know what to say. 

Hand out the Assertiveness Worksheet.  You will be learning a speaking frame that can  help you craft assertive statements to use in a variety of situations. 

Go through the example as a group. Introduce the Speaking Frame that is provided. When groups are done, use Roll ‘Em to have the groups share out some of their statements. Next the participants will practice on their own.

Have them use a Moment of Silence to think about some situations they have been in where they needed a way to be assertive. On the bottom of the worksheet there are some blank spaces.  Have them write out the scenario in the first blank.

Next have them fill in the I Statement.  Allow participants to to choose a partner to share with using Silent Appointment.

Have them do a Walkabout and discuss the following questions:

What is the communication style you most frequently use?
Do you think that using assertive statements in the workplace will allow you to get what you need?
What is one takeaway from this training that you found most valuable?

When they return from their walkabout, have participants stand in a circle. Have them share one takeaway from this training that they found most valuable.   

An additional article that can be used in this training or as a takeaway:  Ways to Improve your Assertive Communication Skills.