TED : Ideas worth spreading

Review: How to speak up for yourself

Speaker: Adam Galinsky
Date: September 2016
Location: New York, NY

Description from TED website:
Speaking up is hard to do, even when you know you should. Learn how to assert yourself, navigate tricky social situations, and expand your personal power with sage guidance from social psychologist Adam Galinsky.

Select this image to jump to the actual video on the TED website.
Select the image to go to the actual video.

My Review / Notes / Thoughts

The dilemma of Speaking Up … Galinsky is talking about the ideas of “pushing one’s interests,” “expressing an opinion,” and “making an ambitious ask.” For example:

Can I correct my boss when they make a mistake? Can I confront my coworker who keeps stepping on my toes? Can I challenge my friend's insensitive joke? Can I tell the person I love the most my deepest insecurities?

Range of acceptable behavior:

Range of Acceptable Behavior

Corresponding results that occur depending on where we fall on the range of acceptable behavior.

Range of punishment & reward based on the range of acceptable behavior.
Corresponding Punishment/Reward

So what is our range? It is apparently dynamic and can depend on the situation. However, according to Galinsky, what affects your range the most is power. Someone who is new to a job, may not have a lot of power, but a boss may have a lot of power.

Range differences for those with lots of power versus those without.
Lots of Power versus Not Much Power

The “Low-Power” Double Bind:

Chart showing the Low-Power Double Bind
The Low-Power Double Bind

This means that we have a narrow range of power – or we lack power. Therefore our double bind is very large. He points out that this is similar to the Double Bind that focuses on gender:

Chart showing the Gender Double Bind
The Gender Double Bind

But what his research has discovered is that what we label as the gender double bind is not always that. Sometimes it just a low-power double bind.

Gender Differences are really just power differences in disguise.
Gender Differences are really just power differences in disguise.

So how does a person expand their power range or their range of acceptable behavior? According to Galinsky and his colleagues, they have found that two things really matter in your ability to expand your range.

  1. Seem powerful in your own eyes (e.g. feel confident not fearful and expand your own range)
  2. Seem powerful in the eyes of others (e.g. when people see you as powerful, they grant you a wider range)

Ok, that’s great, but how do we actually accomplish that?

Galinsky goes on to provide the audience (listeners/viewers) a set of tools to aid in the expansion of our range of acceptable behavior.

Expand Your Range
Expanding Your Range

Now, I don’t want to go into too much detail, because I really think you should watch the video. However, I guess I should at least give you the highpoints.

  1. Be an advocate for others
  2. Perspective-taking
  3. Signal flexibility
  4. Ask others for advice
  5. Display expertise
  6. Show passion

In regards to #5, he brings up another Double Bind issue … that of “Self-Promotion.”

This is another reason we want to expand our range … because we want to be able to self-promote without being punished.

Life is a precarious juggling act, isn’t it? From his talk, we know that there are at least 3 types of double binds.

  1. Low-Power
  2. Gender
  3. Self-Promotion

I think that we could base some student discussions or assignments on these. Here are some of my ideas.

  • What are the differences between the types of Double Binds?
  • Describe a different scenario for each of the Double Binds.
  • Can you think of a scenario that fits more than one of the Double Binds? If so, describe it and explain how it fits the different Double Binds.
  • Do you think there are other types of Double Binds. If so, describe it and explain why it is different from the others. If not, provide your reasoning.
    (Follow up could be for students to debate other’s answers.)
  • Provide students with different Double Bind scenarios, and have them come up with ways for the characters in the scenario to come through with more power using the techniques listed above. I think role play might make this assignment interesting.

What do you think of these ideas? Could you see using them in your classes? If so, let me know! Also, what other ideas could you come up with for implementing this info and talk into a course?

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Galinsky’s Book:

Until next time … live long life-learner!

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