The ‘Assertiveness Coffee Cards’ (ACCs) present thirty two techniques for boosting assertiveness, with scores in a four-dimension space where the axes are ‘You’, ‘The Other’, ‘Thinking’ and ‘Results’. This presentation has been adopted by Cutesolutions for all its techniques for personal development and business management. It has been adopted following research on the effectiveness of communication between people and has proven to be a very appropriate approach to learning personal skills. The results-related techniques are of paramount importance, though their use should be done with utmost care. Indeed, these techniques usually tend to ignore the impact on the other person, running the risk of creating animosities, resistance and feelings of discontent. Yet, resorting to the result-related techniques may be necessary in some circumstances and keeps the focus on the main and overriding reason behind the communication with the other person.
Being centred and self-confident puts you in a state of mind where speaking out your thoughts and looking after your interests are not inhibited by personal feelings such as fear or low-esteem. The impact of your thoughts is greater the more you express yourself in an appropriate manner that touches the heart and mind of the other person. This requires the ability to read what is in someone’s mind. Because communication is a dynamic and interactive process, there are also techniques for organising your thoughts and choosing the right responses. However, the bottom line is that the use of all these techniques would be like ‘nice chatter without meaning’ if you loose sight of the results you want to achieve. Therefore, the ACCs include a class of techniques with high scores on the ‘results’ axis.
Nevertheless, a word of cautious is in order. Most of what we do, in private or professional lives, amount in fact to the implementation of small or larger projects. For example, ordering a bottle of good wine for a nice and cosy meal can be viewed and small project. Of course, we do not necessarily apply the project management methodologies to such small projects. But, the fact of the matter remains that such methodologies do apply even to such small projects. In essence, these methodologies are based on the logical framework where various elements (i.e. objective, results, activities and assumptions) are looked at in a consistent, logical and critical manner. We do undertake certain activities to realise desired results. These are in turn desired for their ability to lead to a given objective. But, the chain of causality between activities, results and objectives is only valid as long as certain assumptions turn out to be true. The point is that our instance on getting desired results should be subjected to a critical analysis and it should be put to the test of questioning on whether one is undertaking the right activities, whether the results themselves are conducive to achieving the set objectives and whether the underlying assumptions are still valid.
This is being said, there are however instances where you may conclude that achieving the desired results is of paramount importance, no matter what. In such cases, the use of techniques from the ‘results’ class is warranted. These techniques include such well known ones such as fogging, broken record, negative assertion and purpose above pleasing. In any case, this class of techniques help in focussing attention on the results. Hence, there is a need from the start for subjecting these results to a critical analysis. During the communication itself, the techniques ensure that you keep focus on the desired results and show you how to make some concessions if required to achieve the results.
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