It’s so easy for us to say that we should step up and speak up for ourselves. However, at the back of our minds, we know that choosing to speak up or to stay silent will hurt us both ways—it’s either we get rejected for speaking up or ignored for staying quiet. This, as explained by Adam Galinsky, an American social psychologist, is called a double bind.

Galinsky further explains in his TEDTalk, that humans have a range of acceptable behavior. Often times, we tend to get rewarded for staying inside that range. Going beyond that range will cause a double bind.

Eventually, Galinsky shared five effective tools to help individuals speak up for themselves. Here are the five tools summarized:


Advocating for others

Galinsky explained that people naturally feel more confident to speak up if they’re fighting for someone else. Galinsky defined this phenomenon as the “Mama Bear Effect”.


Perspective Taking

Galinsky shared that one way to be assertive but still likable is to see things using the eyes of others. He further explained that when you take the time to analyze what you and the party really wants, it will be easier to put your ideas forward without turning down the other; thus, reaching a win-win decision.


Signalling Flexibility

As Galinsky explained, people tend to lower their defenses when they are offered options. When people are offered a choice, they naturally feel compelled to choose between the options that you put on the table, often forgetting that they can also choose not to choose.


Gaining Allies

One of the most effective ways to gain confidence to assert yourself is to get people to support you. Galinsky shared two ways on how to gain allies, namely: 1) be a Mama Bear, meaning to support others; and 2) ask for advice because asking for one’s opinion flatters people.


Tapping your Passion

This is not a secret. People feel a lot more confident when they talk about theis passions. If one wants to practice assertive behaviors, one can start by asserting things that he/she is passionate about.

In the end, Galinsky reminded that a person’s range of acceptable behevior changes from time to time. He also added that we should use the above given tools whenever the situation calls for it for us to live happy lives.

You can watch his full discussion in the TEDTalk video below:

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