How To Influence The Perceived Assertiveness Behaviour

How To Influence The Perceived Assertiveness Behaviour

This article deals with the 'Perceived Assertive Behaviour', exploring ways to influence the way others perceive your message.

This is done through speaking to the unconscious mind and evoking wanted associations.

The literature on assertiveness distinguishes many models, with varying validity and practical usefulness.

In developing the 'Assertiveness Coffee Cards' we have been led to look at the issue from a different angle, namely that of how the brain functions.

As a result, we propose the following classification of assertive behaviour:

1. Reptilian Emotional Assertiveness;
2. The Learnt Assertiveness Behaviour;
3. The Frontal Lobes Driven Assertiveness; and
4. The Perceived Assertive Behaviour.

The reptilian emotional assertiveness derives its name from the strong influence of the amygdala that is located in the limbic system, or reptilian brain. The learnt assertiveness behaviour is largely linked to the caudate nucleus, where we store our automatic thoughts, prejudices and cognitive reflexes.

The third type of assertiveness is produced by the frontal lobes, the place where humans hold, manipulate and construct their most sophisticated ideas. This article deals specifically with the fourth type of assertive behaviour, namely the perceived assertive behaviour. This has definitely to do with our own traits, thoughts and actions, but attention is given here to how people interpret them.

Let us remember that, to some extent, 'reality is a construction of the mind'. This framework explains why the same behaviour may be seen as gentle assertiveness in one culture and unacceptable lack of politeness in another.

When you communicate, you send a variety of signals that are in effect just sensory perceptions for others. But these incoming sensory perceptions get their meaning only when they are recognised by their brain.

Because each brain is unique, it is likely that your messages will receive different interpretations according to the receivers' genetic and neural makeup. Here, your own words, gesture and intonation get a subjective meaning, reflecting the other person's own experience, beliefs, values and prejudices.

There are two types of recognition: one is the automatic type of recognition that happens when the unconscious brain recognises something is known to it; the other type of recognition happens when the incoming stimulus starts to take on identity along the pathway that runs from the appropriate cortical sensory area to the association area that abuts it.

Information is brought in from memory to flesh out stimulus with the associations that five it meaning.

A good punchline, getting a joke and recognising familiar sounds and facial expressions, understanding metaphors produce what Rita Carter calls a 'cerebral snap of the fingers', delivering a sudden jolt of recognition.

It happens so fast, even before the conscious brain has even decided what the incoming stimuli really are. Don't we have here a golden opportunity to speak to the unconscious mind of the other?

Moreover, we know that recognition is based on associations. You will also gain from inducing the right associations. If you walk like Charlie Chaplin you would most probably evoke certain feelings.

If you want to be perceived as gentle but firm in defending your rights, you might want to recourse to a subtle imitation of well known and appreciated leaders. The good news is that your behaviour be it an imitation is likely to ultimately change the way you think and behave.

The following article was contributed by M'Hamed CHERIF, a holder of a Ph.D in economics and consultant in the field of international development.

M'Hamed CHERIF, a holder of a Ph.D in economics, is a consultant in the field of international development.

With his daughter, Sarah, and her team, he has been since about two years developing online courses on personal development and business management.

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