We like to compare Loricism to martial arts and fitness. Just like a martial arts class entails an instructor teaching some technique and then having students practice the drills, helping students learn mental assertiveness and communication techniques is helpful when there are drills and exercises. Below is a list of exercises we have compiled to be used in Loric Philosophy classes. Keep checking back, as we add more exercises all the time.
This drill involves giving students some prompt which they are to become increasingly aware of. To do this, supply the prompt at the beginning of class, and track the number of times people commit the prompt on a sheet of paper or the whiteboard. An example might be telling them a physical action like touching of the face. Whenever anyone touches their face, put a tick mark on the tracker. Track the times they do this common thing according to when it happens during the class duration; in other words, for a one hour class one might break the class into 15 minute segments. The reason for this is to show that the actions lessen as the class goes on and people become more aware of it. Finish the lesson by explaining how simple awareness of an action or habit helps curtail its frequency.
The purpose of this exercise is to help people recognize when they are one-upping other people. Another part of this exercise is giving other participants practice in dealing with a one-upper. One person plays the one-upper while the other attempts to deal with the annoying behavior without losing their calm.
The object of this exercise is for one participant to practice listening without interrupting their partner. The partner's objective is to attempt to draw the other person into interrupting them.
This exercise allows participants to practice dealing with agitated and upset individuals without judgement, such as when someone is responding to stress that's unrelated to the current interaction. Being able to recognize when someone's seemingly disproportionate energy (when they're close to a breaking point) is related to other events is helpful for deescalation. One way to initiate this drill is to act as the agitated individual without giving participants any warning to see how they react. The goal for participants is to avoid further agitation.
This exercise involves one participant practicing interception of negative behavior to establish the terms of the interaction. An example of this might be, "Let me stop you right there. We can continue this conversation when you lose the rudeness." This exercise practices establishing and enforcing boundaries for what behavior is acceptable and not acceptable.
This exercise entails one participant responding to unreasonable statements by affirming their own reasonable statements. An example of this is, "What about my statement is unreasonable?"
This exercise entails one participant practicing engaging with a partner who makes statements that typically cause others to make assumptions about that person's beliefs or politics. The first participant is directed to practice refraining from making assumptions that aren't directly based on the actual statements made by their partner.
This exercise utilizes storytelling as a rhetorical device. The participant is directed to use storytelling as a vehicle for delivering their message. This can be either to draw out a particular emotional response from the audience or to illustrate a concept using a fable, historical event, or some other story.
This exercise entails one participant making a statement which is inaccurate. The partner will respond with facts that demonstrate the inaccuracy of the statement and the first partner practices responding by admitting the mistake. One can take this further by offering a retraction of the original statement, or thanking the other participant for bringing the inaccuracy to light.
The aim of this exercise is for one participant to practice the assertiveness technique known as negative assertion. This technique comes from When I Say No I Feel Guilty, by Manuel J. Smith. Negative assertion involves looking more comfortably at negatives in your own behavior or personality without feeling defensive or anxious, i.e. accepting your errors or faults, without apologizing merely to appease a critic.
Example: "I don't like the language you're using." Many times our first reaction is to be defensive, and while you have a right to express yourself, perhaps by swearing, a possible negative assertion response might be, "I do sometimes use language that's inappropriate, and I could stand to work on being more tactful."
The aim of this exercise is for one participant to practice the assertiveness technique known as negative inquiry. This technique comes from When I Say No I Feel Guilty, by Manuel J. Smith. Negative inquiry involves listening to criticism, clarifying your understanding of those criticisms, and either using helpful information or ignoring it if it's manipulative.
Example: "Will you knock it off?" A response to this might be, "I'm not sure I understand. What is it about what I'm doing that creates a problem?"
The aim of this exercise is for one participant to practice the assertiveness technique known as broken record. This technique comes from When I Say No I Feel Guilty, by Manuel J. Smith. Broken record involves repeating the same assertive statement over and over, or in varying iterations, in response to attempts to sidestep the original statement. See the link above for examples.
This exercise entails attaching expertise qualifiers to statements of opinion to be clear about your level of knowledge on a subject. Where appropriate, admit the limits of your knowledge, and when an opinion is stated, advertise that it is your opinion rather than fact. Other qualifiers include stating when you are speculating or theorizing, saying you don't know the answer or the exact figures or details, or admitting that you don't have the source to back up a claim.
This exercise is to practice disarming another's attempt at degrading humor. It is essentially taking the other's joke and using it to make an even bigger, self-deprecating punchline to show that you are unaffected. This is a great way to make someone's jab backfire in your favor.
Example: Abraham Lincoln, after being called two-faced, said, "I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?"
The aim of this exercise is for one participant to practice the assertiveness technique known as fogging. This technique comes from When I Say No I Feel Guilty, by Manuel J. Smith. (Note that this is different from the I Agree exercise.) This technique involves handling criticism without responding in an expected manner or by replying with criticism or aggression of your own. The idea is to acknowledge any parts of the criticism which are true without responding to other aspects of the criticism or to exaggerations in the criticism. See the link above for examples.
This exercise is similar to I Agree, but any technique may be used to convert the conversation into a discussion as opposed to an argument or debate.
In this drill, the practitioner is given a set of instructions, information, details, etc., which they must relay back to another individual or group in as concise a manner as possible. The coach should include superfluous information with the material so participants can practice relaying only the information that is important.
This exercise entails presenting metaphors, analogies, and similar rhetorical devices to enhance how you deliver your ideas. Using metaphors is a great way to help ensure your ideas are easily understood; you should practice putting your ideas into terms others can relate to. Being able to communicate effectively requires being able to deliver information so that others grasp the concepts easily, which also helps avoid misunderstandings.
This exercise consists of listening to your partner's arguments or concerns and mining for portions you agree with. State your agreement and use it to disarm or defuse a potentially argumentative discussion partner. The goal is to practice focusing on mutual concepts you can use as a basis for progressing the interaction toward common ground and finding solutions. The idea here is to avoid argument and debate. There is a time for that, but that time is less common than we sometimes think.
This drill involves engaging with a partner with probing questions in order to get to a topic of common interest. Your objective is to establish rapport as quickly as possible. Focusing on commonalities plays an important role when it comes to collaborating for solutions and improvement of ideas. Feel free to use a timer during this drill.
This drill involves practicing deescalation. Your objective is to engage with an agitated partner with a calm demeanor in a way that facilitates easing tension and creating a more comfortable environment for your partner. Strive to be understanding, listen to their concerns, and attempt to defuse a volatile situation.
This drill involves responding to the topic at hand by explaining which of the 12 Virtues applies and how it can be applied to find a reasonable solution or guidance. This is a good thing to practice because having a set of concepts as a base to draw from makes it easier to find answers to issues that arise. By using the virtues as a foundation, you can further explore other reasonable solutions, including coming up with your own ideas.
This drill involves responding to your partner or group with quotes that are relevant to the topic at hand. Quotes can be an excellent rhetorical device. Sometimes using quotes helps lend credibility to your arguments or provides a better response than we can come up with ourselves on the fly. The goal is to practice being able to apply wisdom or citations when applicable. Here are some reasons why using quotes can be advantageous.