Assertiveness enables people to communicate more effectively while respecting others and earning their respect as well. While some seem to be born with this trait, other people who are naturally passive or aggressive struggle to find balance. Providing training to build assertiveness skills to employees can improve their performance and enrich their lives. Defining Assertiveness In order to become more assertive, participants need a clear understanding of what this means. Divide your group into teams and ask them to brainstorm definitions and examples of passive, assertive and aggressive. Review as a group and provide distinct definitions. Next, provide a script displaying examples of different communication styles and ask volunteers to act them out. Divide the group into two and give each team a word to shout when they wish to answer passive, assertive or aggressive. The team with most point wins. Identifying and Overcoming Barriers In order to become assertive communicators, participants must determine what has prevented them from doing so in the past, such as beliefs, cultural customs or disabilities. Divide the group into small teams and direct them to list obstacles people face that prevent assertiveness. Share as a group and request personal anecdotes. Write some of the most common issues on a whiteboard or easel pad. As a group, come up with a list of possible solutions to each of the challenges. Body Language Exercises Communication begins before you speak one word. Your body provides nonverbal signals, so perform exercises that teach assertive body language. Divide the group into pairs. Set a timer and challenge all pairs to keep eye contact for 60 seconds. Next, ask volunteer pairs to come to the front. Provide scripts, asking one partner to slouch, look down and cross arms or wring hands (passive), another to scowl, point and pace impatiently (aggressive) and a third maintain an open stance, eye contact and appropriate facial expressions. Ask for definitions of the communication styles and then ask volunteers to display assertive body language. Decision Making Employees require assertiveness so they can make critical decisions confidently and solve problems effectively. Hand out a list of the assertive decision-making process, which is to describe the situation, explain their feelings about it, express what it is they need and define potential outcomes. Ask volunteer pairs to demonstrate assertive decision making by providing them with example scenarios. One team member should make a decision while the other discounts or argues with them. The decider should then use the process to defend his decision. Review the various skills and examples at the end of your group training. Let your team know that they can approach you should they require further assistance or support to become more assertive. In the end, everyone benefits.