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12. Feedback: making it work

This last section is to develop your giant-killer skills, for all those times when you wish you could make a complaint, or tell someone how you feel or what you think. Here are two techniques to make this easier.

The “feedback sandwich”

Nobody likes to be told they’re doing something wrong, but sometimes it needs to be done, and it’s you that has to do it!

The “Feedback Sandwich” is one simple way to get your message across without an aggressive response. Think of two positive things to say and “sandwich” your feedback between them, like two slices of bread. For example, “I really appreciate your efforts, but what you’re doing isn’t helping. I’m sure we can find something more suitable to do.”

Think of a recent time when you found it difficult to communicate assertively. In your worksheet, write how you could have used the feeback sandwich method.

Add B.E.A.N.s to your sandwich!

Serve up a BEAN sandwich when times are tough!

The “BEAN” method to help you use assertive communication in any situation. “BEAN” stands for:

  • Be specific: Explain clearly what you want to say.
  • Examples: Give examples that demonstrate the truth of what you’re saying.
  • Agree: Agree on the effect of the actions.
  • Next: Talk about what to do next.

BEAN example: Imagine your child is doing some artwork and they’ve dripped paint on your favourite rug. Do you shout at them for being so careless? Do you ignore it but feel sad every time you see the stained rug? Do you ignore it, but decide never to get anything nice for them ever again because they can’t appreciate it?

No! By now you should be able to spot those aggressive, passive and manipulative responses. Using BEAN and the feedback sandwich you could say:

  • Positive comment: “I like to see you enjoying your painting but…"
  • Be specific: ”…I’d like you to be more careful with where your paint is going.”
  • Examples: “There’s a splotch on this rug.”
  • Agree: “Do you understand that the rug’s special to me and I won’t be able to wash that paint out?”
  • Next: “We can’t do anything about that splotch, but please move your paints away from it. When you paint in future please make sure there’s plenty of newspaper covering the floor.
  • Positive: I’ll look forward to seeing your next picture.

Bringing assertiveness into your life

For the final exercise on this course, type some situations you want to use your assertiveness on, and how you will use all you’ve learnt in this course to communicate and act assertively.

  1. My situation
  2. How I will be assertive

Next: 13. Let’s go!Back: 11. The bad translator

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