Self-Help Tools: Personal Concerns
Helpful Hints for Assertive Behavior
Elaborated Opinion Statements
- Begin with a personal pronoun: "I think that..."; "My opinion is..."
- Use a compound sentence containing several phrases connected by such words as because, therefore, and but: "I disagree with what you've said because..." or "I agree with your first point, but..."
- You do not need to have an original argument in order to express your opinion. You may rephrase, repeat, or comment on what another person has said.
- You may agree or disagree with what others say. Or you may change the direction of the conversation: "I think we're ignoring an important point which is..."
Breaking into an Ongoing Conversation
- Listen actively -- nod, look directly at others, say "uh-huh."
- Wait for a natural pause in the conversation.
- Raise your voice slightly to signal others you wish to speak.
- Use your body -- lean forward into the conversational arena; use hand gestures; touch the person to whom you wish to speak.
- State an opinion, "I think that..." or ask a question, "What about..."
- Use the person's name to gain attention, "Bill, I also think..."
- "Excuse me, may I join you?"
- "I don't know exactly what you're talking about, but it sounds fascinating."
- Raise your voice slightly to signal that you would like to finish your comment.
- Repeat your opening phrase so that you don't lose your train of thought, "I think...but I do think that..."
- Continue talking without hesitation; engage in parallel talking for a short while.
- Don't look at the interrupter; look at those who are attentive.
- Ask the interrupter to wait until you have finished your statement, "I think the best thing to do would... please wait a minute... would be to start a new program."
- Hold up your hand or touch the person to signal that you would like the interrupter to stop.
- Pause briefly, then quickly resume your comment, "I think that... the new program idea is a good one."
- If interruption is a question, briefly reply and resume comment.
- "I'll be back to that in a minute."