What does it mean to be assertive, non-assertive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive? How does your body language communicate your intent and response to others? How aware have you been of your personal space during conversations? And finally – how do sarcasm, gossip, or individual triggers impact your day at work?
In an effort to respond to these questions and to promote respectful interactions across our staff, New Vitae Wellness and Recovery hosted Penn Foundation trainer Yvonne Caputo, MS, MA, to offer supportive training. After defining assertive communication as a way to respect both one’s self and others, Ms. Caputo reviewed the basics of nonverbal communication, reminding those in attendance that 85% to 95% of a person’s message is nonverbal. Elements of nonverbal communication, including eye contact, personal space, body language, gestures, tone of voice, and facial expressions were reviewed and used as examples when delivering varied messages. Written messages, including the pitfalls associated with email, were also reviewed.
Ms. Caputo also discussed the use of sarcasm in the workplace. While sarcasm was acknowledged to be a piece of the speaker’s truth, the audience agreed that sarcasm could be defined as passive-aggressive communication and should generally be avoided in a work environment. The same could be said of gossip, or idle talk that focuses on the personal or private affairs of others. Ms. Caputo highlighted that both the gossiper and the listener were responsible for continuing this type of communication and discussed ways to end the cycle of gossip.
The conversation ended with an acknowledgement that people who are triggered may act in a disrespectful manner. The audience was challenged to consider ways to increase individual accountability and create a climate of “profound respect.” Special thanks to Ms. Caputo for an excellent training!