ROLE PLAYING ASSERTIVENESS Update for Phone or Online Meetings

Members of the blind and low vision group who met regularly to work on assertive speech and other topics.

This article was first published back in February which was a different world. Now group meetings are online or on the phone, but role-playing is still a great way to practice speaking without visual cues. Here’s an update:

Why does speech without visual cues have to be different? Without good sight non-verbal communication, which begins almost all interactions, is partly or completely lost. So as a person living with vision loss or blindness you have to speak up in a firm, positive and specific way to be noticed and attended to! This means taking charge of the interaction; often starting the conversation.

Politicians, sales associates and regular people practice what to say and how to say it before special occasions and for their job.

When your job is –adjusting to life with vision loss then learning what to say and how to say it is essential!

How can you practice this in the new world of phone and online meetings? Discussion and role-playing won’t have the ease of a few people in a room together, but many of the important interactions can be practiced as part of a phone or zoom group. Role-playing may be restricted but it’s still a terrific way to build your self-confidence, especially now you are wearing a mask at the store.

You could start one-on-one with audio or video links like Facetime, Facebook messenger and others, or have a 3-way “conference” conversation, or join or host an audio or video online meeting using a platform such as Zoom.

Popular Topics:

Asking for help in a store,

Joining the line at a store or to buy tickets

Requesting information in the street

Joining a group already talking

Role-playing for college and job interviews or informational visits

Here are six reasons why role-playing works:

  1. When you play a part you practice saying hard things like “Tell me who you are!” “I need some assistance,” and “No thanks, I am doing it myself!”
  2. Taking turns in acting as the blind person, the anxious host with a million things on her mind, and the cousin who is scared of disability, helps group members get some perspective
  3. The group can try out different words and actions without embarrassment because everyone has shared the same painful experiences
  4. Once the group gets comfortable together they often come up with great solutions very fast
  5. Group members all contribute, building on each other’s ideas as they act out the situation with lots of laughter and fun
  6. Standing up and acting the various parts makes us all feel much more energized and lively and shows how important it is not to be passive

This post is referred to in my new book When You Can’t Believe Your Eyes, Chapter 6 “Practicing Assertiveness with Sight Loss.”

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