If you want to know how to communicate with assertiveness, you’ll love this article.
Assertiveness is a direct and honest way of communicating with others while still showing respect. It involves being clear about one’s thoughts and desires, and not hesitating to express them. Assertive individuals are able to communicate without becoming angry or letting their emotions take over.
Developing assertiveness takes practice, but by focusing on expressing needs, using facts instead of blame, and showing respect for others, one can become skilled at this effective communication method.
How To Communicate With Assertiveness:
1. Being assertive means being clear and direct about your needs and expectations.
Passive individuals tend to hide or qualify their needs, while assertive individuals are straightforward in stating what they want and asking for it. To practice assertiveness, try to make a direct statement when expressing your thoughts or needs. It’s important to be respectful of others’ needs and schedules, but don’t avoid expressing your own needs to accommodate others.
Boundaries are an important aspect of assertiveness and it’s important to communicate them clearly to others. For example, if someone at work is interfering with your ability to complete tasks, assertively let them know that interruptions are a problem for you and suggest a specific time to meet and discuss the issues.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of your values and priorities in order to effectively communicate them to others. Make sure you know exactly what you want, need, or think before expressing it to others.
2. Use “I” statements to express your own needs and wants, instead of “you” statements, which can come across as blaming or aggressive.
“I” statements focus on your own perspective and needs, rather than placing blame on others.
For example, instead of saying “You always make it difficult for me to do my job,” use an “I” statement like “I need better resources to do my job properly and efficiently.”
When expressing your needs, focus on what you want and need, rather than placing blame on others. Blaming can come across as aggressive rather than assertive.
3. Assertive communication involves being able to say “no” respectfully.
Passive individuals may struggle to say no at all, while aggressive individuals may be disrespectful in their rejections. An assertive person is able to say “no” when they truly cannot do something or accommodate someone, but they do so in a respectful manner. If you can’t take on a task or challenge, try offering alternatives or resources.
For example, if a client asks you to do a project that is beyond your job duties and expertise, you can assertively say “I cannot do that for you right now, but I know a specialist in another department that may be able to help. Let me get their phone number for you.” It’s helpful to provide an explanation for your “no” but it’s not necessary to communicate assertively.
4. Work on speaking in a more professional manner.
Take note of your speech patterns and make adjustments if they aren’t assertive. Avoid using casual or unprofessional language. You may find that you speak too quickly or use a rising tone of voice because you are uncertain if others will listen or if what you’re saying is correct.
These habits undermine assertiveness as they communicate uncertainty and insecurity. By changing them, you can improve your assertive communication skills.
5. Assertive communication also involves using the right body language.
It’s important to make sure your body language is confident and relaxed, this includes maintaining good eye contact and having an upright posture. When speaking, keep your back straight and shoulders back. Avoid crossing your arms or legs, as this can come across as closed off or defensive. Pay attention to your facial expressions and try not to scrunch or furrow your brow.
Additionally, be mindful of muscle tension in your body and take deep breaths or stretch to help relax. Keep in mind, while maintaining eye contact is important, avoid staring as it can be perceived as aggressive or intimidating.
6. Instead of using exaggerations, use factual statements.
This can help you stay focused and avoid conflicts. For instance, when discussing a task you do not wish to undertake, express how long you think it will take, such as “I estimate it will take me one month to prepare for this,” rather than saying something like “This will take forever.” This way you are communicating in a factual manner rather than using hyperboles that can be misinterpreted.
7. Keep your responses short and simple.
When communicating assertively, avoid using too many words to explain yourself (1). Speak confidently and directly, while also being polite. Instead of giving a long-winded explanation, keep your statements brief and relevant.
Avoid using filler words such as “like,” “um,” or “yeah,” take a pause instead. This will make it easier for others to understand your requests and make you appear more confident.
8. Prepare in advance what you want to say.
If you know you will have to talk to someone about a need, concern, or opinion, prepare beforehand. Practice remaining calm, speaking clearly, and making positive statements that express your needs.
Some people find it helpful to write out a script or practice with a friend or colleague. If you have someone role-play the conversation with you, ask them for feedback on how you can improve. If you are uncomfortable making decisions on the spot, have some pre-scripted answers that you can use in different situations.
9. Evaluate your interactions with others daily.
Take some time at the end of the day to reflect on how you communicated with others. Recognize the instances where you were assertive and congratulate yourself. Also, consider areas where you could have been more assertive and think about how you could improve for future situations.
Reflect on questions such as, where did you exhibit assertive communication? Were there opportunities for you to be more assertive that you missed? Were there moments where you attempted to be assertive but came across as aggressive?
10. Acknowledge others’ emotions.
When communicating assertively, it’s important to also actively listen and show that you understand the perspectives and emotions of the people you are speaking with. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but it’s important to validate their feelings and show that you are willing to work together.
For example, you could say, “I understand that you are worried about the expense of this item, but I believe the time it will save us in creating reports will make up for the initial cost.”
11. Manage your emotions effectively.
Strong emotions such as anger or crying can detract from the assertive and composed nature of your speech. Make an effort to keep your emotions in check while communicating with others. Avoid using offensive language or curses.
If you start to feel upset, take deep breaths and count to three between each inhale and exhale to help calm yourself down. Repeat this until you feel composed enough to continue. If you find it difficult to regain your composure, kindly ask to take a break and step away from the situation to regain control of your emotions.
12. Communicate the consequences of not respecting your boundaries.
If someone continues to disregard your needs or requests, it’s important to assertively set boundaries and communicate the consequences of not respecting them. This can include ending the relationship or limiting interactions until they show respect for your wants and needs. Speak in a calm and clear manner, without letting emotions cloud your reasoning.
For example, you might say something like, “I understand that you need to be home by 8:00 p.m. to take care of your kids, but I need my mornings to be alone with my wife. If you can’t respect my wishes, we will not be able to spend time together anymore.”
13. Show appreciation for others when they meet your needs.
When someone does something for you, make sure to express your gratitude. Express your thanks in a sincere and authentic way, whether it’s through a written note or in person.
Additionally, make sure to return the favor by being open and willing to listen when they share their needs or concerns with you. For example, you could say, “I really appreciate the time and energy you put into finishing that project. It wouldn’t have been possible without your help. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you in the future.”
14. When someone’s behavior is causing you discomfort, use assertive communication to address the issue and suggest an alternative.
Instead of passively wishing for a change or being frustrated, speak directly to the person and express your feelings. Give them a specific solution or suggestion that would make you more comfortable.
For example, “I understand that you need pens, but it makes me uncomfortable when you take mine without asking. Can you please ask me before taking any or grab your own from the supply room.” This way, you are not only expressing your discomfort but also giving the person a specific action to take that will solve the problem.
15. When dealing with aggressive solicitors, like telemarketers or campaigners, assertively state your needs and follow through with actions.
Clearly communicate your wishes and take action if the behavior continues. For example, if a telemarketer won’t stop calling (2), let them know that you are not interested in their product and ask to be removed from their list. If they continue to call, take steps such as writing down their information and reporting them to the appropriate authorities or blocking their number.
16. Use assertive communication to clearly and confidently express your desires.
In certain scenarios, such as asking for a raise, you can take the initiative to communicate assertively. Clearly state what you want and the reasons for it, while remaining open to dialogue.
For example, when asking for a raise, tell your boss, “I would like to discuss the possibility of a salary increase. I have consistently exceeded expectations in my department by 30% and I believe my hard work should be reflected in my pay. My goal is to achieve a 7% increase, can we work on making that happen?”
Allow the other person to respond and engage in a productive conversation. Being demanding instead of requesting can negatively impact your chances of getting what you want.
Thank you for reading this article about how to communicate with assertiveness and I really hope that you take action my advice.
I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.