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  1. To learn to recognise and identify nonverbal assertive, nonassertive, and aggressive behaviours.
  2. To practice giving specific feedback on nonverbal behaviour.
  3. To develop congruence between verbal assertive message and accompanying nonverbal behaviour.

Group Size
From twelve to twenty-eight participants.

Time Required :
One and one-half to two hours.

Blank paper and a pencil for each group.


  1. The facilitator announces the goals of the experience, gives a short lecturette on nonverbal and verbal congruence, and asks participants to form three to four groups of four groups of four to seven members each. Paper and a pencil are give to each group.
  2. Each group is told to choose an assertive situation (Samples may be given) and to develop a verbal assertive response to that situation. When the groups are ready, the facilitator gives the following instructions:
    "You have twenty minutes to develop three role plays based on the situation your group has chosen. You must use the same or similar verbal response in each of the three role plays, but portray different nonverbal behaviour in each. One role play is to show, non-verbally, an assertive response to the situation, a nonassertive response, and an aggressive response. The same person may play the central role three times, or roles can be rotated, giving more participants a chance to receive feedback on their nonverbal behaviours. Although all members of a group do not have to act in the role play, each member should be actively involved in the development of the role play and the coaching of those playing the roles".
  3. The facilitator asks participants to form one large group. Each group’s role plays are presented in random order, with no announcement of which is intended to demonstrate assertive, nonassertive, or aggressive behaviour. After each of the three role plays, the facilitator leads a discussion of the types of nonverbal response (nonassertive, assertive, aggressive) identified by the observing participants, and the specific nonverbal behaviours that prompted that identification The group then reveals which type of response the role play was intended to portray. The facilitator leads a brief discussion of any other observed behaviours that portrayed a particular response and of other behaviours that might have been included to make the portrayal more clear. (Thirty to forty minutes).
  4. The facilitator announces that techniques for accurately identifying and expressing nonverbal behaviours will be practiced on a more personal and individual level now and asks each participant to choose an assertive situation that he or she would like to work on and to develop an assertive verbal response to that situation.
  5. The facilitator asks participant to form groups of three and gives these instructions :
    "Each participant is to repeat his or her verbal assertive response three times, each time using a different accompanying nonverbal response (nonassertive, assertive,aggressive). The response are to be presented n random order, without announcing which nonverbal behaviour is being portrayed. After each response, the other two members of each group are to identify the response they thought was being portrayed and describe the specific behaviours that led them to their conclusions. The person practicing the behaviours then revels which of the three behaviours he or she was attempting to portray. Group members may discuss which behaviours seemed congruent with that response and what might have been added to make the response even more congruent. If a specific response was not correctly identified, the participant may wish to practice his or her response again". (Ten to fifteen minutes).
  6. The facilitator asks the groups to report on their experiences and leads a general discussion of ways that participants can practice the skills of nonverbal assertion and congruence.


  1. The role plays and practice can be done without words, as "silent movies." if participants wish to concentrate more heavily on body postures and facial expression.
  2. Instead of practicing responses to actual situations, participants can practice Step V using a sample list of assertive statements, for example :
    No, I don’t want to go a movie tonight, but thank you for inviting me.
    It’s my turn to be waited on next.
    I like your direct way of talking to me.