Assertiveness Scripting for Tough Conversations
Need to have a tough convo and don’t know where to start? When working with patients to figure out the best approach, I often sit with them to make an “assertiveness script.” Yes, it feels a little bit like a classroom worksheet but taking the time to fill it out/ visualize your answers will lower your anxiety and increase the chances of an optimal outcome!
Start by Summarizing-
1. Situation- (What is the situation you are walking into? What are your expectations for how this person will respond based on past experience?)
2. My goal- (What do you want to get out of this conversation? Is it a concrete request for action or are you hoping to improve communication or understanding? )
A. Start with an Empathy Statement- ( i.e. "I know you are exhausted when you come in from a long day of work." )
B. Basic Assertiveness- Use these statements below to frame your request.
a. I feel _______ b. When you _______ c. Because_______
C. State what you would like to change-
a. I would like you to ________
D. Another empathy statement (i.e. “I know this may not be what you may want to hear.”)
** Following this script will help remove emotion, avoid ad hominem (which is when you direct anger against the person, instead of what they are fighting for.)
** Use soft language, substitute "I’m angry, frustrated... " with "I’m hurt, I’m disappointed, I’m confused" or "I feel _____ when you _____.”
Tough convos are tough for a reason but with a little planning and strategy, you can hopeful avoid unnecessary conflict and get a resolution you feel good about!