One Idea Group Session from Assertiveness: How To Be Strong in Every Situation by Conrad & Suzanne Potts


Photo by kyle smith on Unsplash


This resource will help you facilitate a short group session to learn from the One Idea Summary on 3 Ways To Listen Assertively.


  • Be able to list and describe the five three ways to listen assertively.
  • Demonstrate a minimum of three techniques to listen assertively.


Send a copy of the One Idea Summary on 3 Ways To Listen Assertively to the participants one week before the session. They are to read it before the session and bring it with them.


Introduce the session

Introduce the session by sharing the learning objectives with them.

Review the three ways

Split them into small groups and give each group flipchart paper and pens.

Tell the each group to review what they read about the three ways to listen assertively and write down a summary of their understanding.

Give them 10-minutes.

After 10-minutes stop them. Allow each group to feedback their summary. Make sure they capture all three ways. If necessary (if they don’t remember all of them) use the One Idea Summary to remind them of the three ways.

Next move on to demonstrate how the three ways can be used in real life.

Demonstrating the three ways

Next tell them that you are going to demonstrate how to use some of the techniques involved in the three ways. Tell them you will demonstrate:

  • Good eye contact
  • Relaxed and upright body language
  • Allowance of personal space
  • Not interrupting
  • Summarising
  • Testing understanding

As you are demonstrating it, they are to take note of what you are doing because you will ask them for feedback.

To do the demonstration:

  • Ask for a volunteer.
  • Tell the volunteer to come to the middle of the room in front of the participants.
  • Stand in front of the volunteer facing them, allowing good personal space of about 23 inches.
  • Ask the volunteer to tell you about something that will take at least a minute. It could be a holiday, food they like, a movie they watched. Anything they can talk about for at least 1-minute.
  • As the volunteer speaks, keep eye contact with them but not constant.
  • If the subject is serious, adopt a serious facial expression. If it is a lighter subject, have a gentle smile.
  • Keep your hands by your side but not too straight, still or stiff and stand with legs slightly apart.
  • As the volunteer is speaking, nod and make ‘um’ sounds where appropriate.
  • Don’t interrupt or jump in. Allow the volunteer to finish speaking.
  • When the volunteer finishes, summarise what he/she said back to him/her. Depending on the subject you may say something like, ‘that’s really interesting, so you…’
  • Wait for him/her to respond to your summary and then say that, ‘on a different note I just wanted to check your opinion on this, what’s your view about global warming. It’s in the news a lot. I like to hear your opinion.
  • The volunteer does not need to answer, it’s just to demonstrate testing understanding.
  • Thank the volunteer and allow him/her to sit down.
  • Now ask the participants for feedback.
  • They should be able to identify some of the things you did to demonstrate assertive listening such as giving personal space, good eye contact, open body language, summarising and testing for understanding.
  • After their feedback move on to the next part which is for them to practice assertive listening.

Now it’s your turn

Tell them that, now that you’ve seen me demonstrate some of the assertive listening skills, it’s your turn to practice.

To get them to practice:

  • Split them into pairs.
  • Tell each pair to do exactly what they saw you do with the volunteer.
  • But in their case, one person will speak about something for 1-minute, while the other person demonstrates assertive listening.
  • After speaking, that person will give feedback to the listener about how they demonstrated assertive listening. Then they will switch over with the other person now doing the speaking for 1-minute and the person that previously spoke now demonstrating assertive listening.
  • Allow the activity to go on for a maximum of 10-minutes.

After 10-minutes, stop them and bring the group back together.

Ask for feedback from each pair. You want to hear from them how each person in the pair demonstrated assertive listening. Also ask that when they spoke, did they feel listened to? What was it the person listening did that made them feel or not feel listened to?

Also ask how each of them would listen differently if they were to do the activity again.

Listen to what they say without commenting or giving any advice.

After they finish speaking, appreciate them for doing the activity and move on to review and close the session


To review the session, tell them that:

  • During this session we explored three things we can do to listen assertively.
  • You saw me demonstrate some of those actions and also had the opportunity to practice using them yourself.
  • Now what remains is to use some of these behaviours yourself to listen assertively in the real world.
  • Remember that no amount of training or reading can be valuable to us unless we do something with the information we get.
  • So please go out there and practice using some of what you explored today.

Thank you for coming and your participation.

End the session

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