Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

Skills Training: Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal Effectiveness skills can help with taking care of your relationships, balancing priorities (your needs) with other’s demands (other’s needs), balancing wants (things you want to do) with shoulds (things you ought to do), building mastery and self-respect. The skills in this module are broken down into three goals.

  • Objective Effectiveness Skills (using skills to get what you want)
    • DEAR MAN (Acronym)
    • Describe – the situation, stick to the facts
    • Express – feelings/opinions about the situation clearly. Don’t expect others to read your mind. Express how you feel or what you believe about the situation
    • Assert- your wishes. Ask for what you want! Or say no clearly to unwanted request.
    • Reinforce – reward people, who respond positively to you when you ask for something, say no or express an opinion. Sometimes it helps to reinforce people before they respond to your question by telling them the positive effects of getting what you want or need.
    • (Stay) Mindful – keep your focus on your objective. Don’t be distracted onto another topic. (two helpful techniques for staying mindful are: 1. Broken Record. 2. Ignore.
    • Appear confident – Eye contact, confident tone of voice and physical manner.
    • Negotiate - Be willing to give to get. Offer and ask for alternate solutions.  Maintain your no, but offer to do something else or solve the problem another way 
A helpful skill here is "turning the tables." Turn the problem over to the other person, ask for alternative solutions example "What do you think we can do?"
  • Relationship Effectiveness Skills (using skills to maintain/improve a relationships)
    • GIVE (Acronym)
    • Be Gentle - People tend to respond to gentleness more than they do to harshness. Avoid attacks, threats, and judgmental statements.
    • Act Interested - People tend to feel better if you are interested in them, and if you give them time and space to respond to you. Listen to what they have to say (i.e. share the air time).
    • Validate - Be nonjudgmental, out loud. Validate the other person's feelings, wants, difficulties and opinions about the situation. Find the "grain of truth" in what the other person is saying.
    • Use an Easy manner  - Try to be lighthearted. Use a little humor. Smile. Ease the other person along. This is the difference between soft sell and hard sell. People don't like to be bullied, pushed around or made to feel guilty.
  • Self Respect Effectiveness Skills (using skills to maintain your self-respect)
    • FAIR (Acronym)
    • (be) Fair – This means being fair to yourself and the other person in your attempts to meet your objectives. The idea here is that it is hard to like yourself in the long haul if you consistently take advantage of the other person.
    • (No) Apologies - Apologize when apologies are warranted. No overly apologetic behavior. No apologizing for being alive. No apologizing for making the request. No apologizing for having an opinion. Apologizing implies that you are in the wrong. Apologizing when you do not believe you are in the wrong will reduce your sense of effectiveness over time.
    • Stick to values – Don't sell out your values or integrity, just to get what you want or keep the other person liking you. Be clear on what, in your opinion, is the moral or valued way of thinking and acting.
    • (Be) Truthful - Don't lie or act helpless when you are not. Don't exaggerate. A pattern of dishonesty over time erodes your self-respect.