S2.09 - Assertiveness Training, Page 2

Step 2: Practice the differences in communication styles

Illustrate the differences between the three styles of communication by using role-play and modeling of employment situations. For example, respond to the following situations assertively, aggressively, and nonassertively:

Step 3: Practice and use the following rules for being assertive

Here are some general suggestions for assertive communication taken from Bolding & Wehmeyer (1999):

Step 4: Evaluate the risks of assertive behavior

Constantly evaluate the risks and benefits of acting in an assertive manner. It is important for people to understand that being assertive is not always the best course of action and that, sometimes, due to the reaction of others around you, it is better to choose a nonassertive style of communicating. Some things to consider before deciding on being aggressive are:

Sometimes it is important to pick you battles and decide when you will be assertive.


Page updated 10/31/06

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Web Resources

Barnette, V. (n.d.). Assertive communication. Retrieved October 1, 2004 from
University of Iowa, University Counseling Service Website:

BUPA Foundation. (April 2004). Assertiveness skills. Retrieved October 1, 2004 from http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/html/improving_assertiveness.html

Counseling services, University of Victoria. (1/2/2002). Assertiveness – analysis
and development. In Personal counseling & resources. Retrieved July
16, 2004 from http://www.coun.uvic.ca/personal/assert.html

Cybercil: Independent Living Center on the World wide Web. (n.d.). A comparison of nonassertive, assertive and aggressive behavior. Retrieved July 16, 2004 from http://www.cybercil.com/skills/behavior.html

Cybercil: Independent Living Center on the World wide Web. (n.d.). Assertive behavior. Retrieved July 16, 2004 from http://www.cybercil.com/skills/assert.html

Kennedy, P. J. (n.d.). Assertive communication: An introduction. Retrieved
October 1, 2004 from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Counseling
Services Website:

Older Adult and Family Life Center. (n.d.).Assertiveness skills. (n.d.). Retrieved October 1, 2004 from Stanford School of Medicine, Older Adult and Family Center Website: http://www.med.stanford.edu/oac/manuals/CBT%20therapist/Chapter%207_therapist.pdf

Workshops, Inc. (1998). Life skills for vocational success: Social skills: Communication skills: Assertiveness Retrieved July 16, 2004 from http://www.workshopsinc.com/manual/ Ch1L1.3.html


Bolding, N. L., & Wehmeyer, M. L. (1999). Communicating effectively. In It's my future! Planning for what I want in my life: A self-directed planning process (pp. 203-238). Silver Spring, MD: The Arc of the United States.

Brown, D. S. (2000). Learning a living: A guide to planning your career and finding a job for people with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and dyslexia. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House.

Field, S., Hoffman, A., & Spezia, S. (1998). Act. In Self-determination strategies for adolescents in transition (Vol. 4) (pp. 27-31). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Wehmeyer, M. L., Agran, M., Hughes, C. (1998). Teaching assertiveness and effective communication skills. In Teaching self-determination to students with disabilities: Basic skills for successful transition (pp. 213-234). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

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