Assessments, Assertions, Declarations

May 3, 2015

There are 6 speech acts that all conversations fall under. I like to break those 6 speech acts into two sections of 3 speech acts. The first group consists of: Requests, Offers and Promises. The second group consists of: Assessments, Assertions and Declarations.

These speech acts intertwine and interact with each other. In this video, we quickly summarize how each of the second group of speech acts work together.


Hi and welcome. In this video I want to take a few moments to wrap up this section on Assertions, Assessments and Declarations.

In the examples in previous lectures we saw that Assertions are either true or false. Assertions are used to provide evidence and serve to ground our assessments. Assessments are “opinions” or “judgements” on daily occurrences. Assessments are said to be either grounded or ungrounded and serve to setup a framework for future possibilities and actions. Declarations are either valid or invalid depending on the authority we have to make them. Declarations can be very powerful because they tend to create a new range of possibilities simply by voicing them. Examples of declarations are expressions like:

  • “I forgive…”
  • “I’m sorry…” / “I apologize…”
  • “Thank you…”
  • “You’re welcome…”

What is interesting to note are that we can have assessments on even the speech acts! We can have assessments about assessments which tend to create confusion and breakdowns in our conversations.

As an interesting exercise, I invite you to make note of your assessments about the following domains in your life.

  • Friendships
  • Relationships
  • Being an employee or business owner
  • Health
  • Finances
  • Loyalty
  • Spirituality

Take a few minutes for each of the above topics and make a note for yourself about your beliefs.

  • Which of these beliefs are assessments?
  • Which of them are assertions?
  • How are they grounded?
  • What authority do you have to make them?

I want to reiterate that learning how to improve your communication skills means to practise these six speech acts in your conversations. One declaration that can serve you in your learning is to declare yourself a learner or beginner in the art and skill of communication. If you can do this, you are well on your way to a level of competency and mastery that will definitely impress you!

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Please send me an email or share your thoughts and ideas with the community. Take care and I’ll see you soon!

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