How to Be More Assertive

communication personal growth success Aug 01, 2022

Do you feel like people often ignore your ideas in meetings? Do you feel like you're not being taken seriously at work? If so, it might be time to learn to be more assertive. Assertiveness is the ability to get your point across without undermining other people's opinions. It's an essential skill in any workplace setting but can also be helpful in your personal life. This blog post will discuss tips for becoming more assertive and getting your voice heard.

Assertive communication is essential.

Assertiveness is essential in effective communication. It means being able to express yourself in front of other people and getting your point across without sounding too offensive to others. It's a delicate balancing act of not being too passive or aggressive to people.

People with a passive communication style will most likely say "yes" to what others say without expressing their opinions. The goal can be to avoid conflict, so someone with a passive communication style may end up doing what others want, even if they don't like it. A passive style can end up harming your relationships with people. It can breed resentment and other negative emotions toward others because you inhibit yourself from your desires and needs and obey what others say.

On the other hand, having aggressive behavior toward others when communicating can create a problematic situation and make you look antagonistic to others. An aggressive communication style prioritizes your wants and interests at the cost of others. It doesn't matter if you offend somebody as long as you get what you want. Language choice for this style doesn't consider whether someone might get triggered by what you say. People might have negative feedback toward aggressive people and cause avoidance and opposition.

Assertive communication lies between the passive and aggressive styles of communication. It involves simultaneously saying what you want, expressing it appropriately, and respecting other people's views. Of course, you may not get an immediate "yes" to what you want, but the point is to be able to say your side and be open-minded about the results. Becoming an assertive person takes practice and effort, especially for someone who is not used to being one. However, various assertive communication techniques can help you effectively express what you want.

1. Build your self-confidence levels

It's challenging to become naturally assertive when you aren't confident to say what you want. When you feel that you can't say what you want, it's vital to gain self-confidence to overcome what's holding you back. There are various things one can do to become more self-confident. When you feel confident, it's easier to become assertive so that others won't take advantage of you quickly and push for what you want.

2. Learn to say "no."

Developing assertive behavior can be challenging if you don't know how to say "no." It's just a single word, yet it carries significant weight when telling it to others. Some people find it hard to say this word to others since it can look like you are rejecting the person and might create a difficult situation later. However, it's a vital skill to master as it can help you be more assertive and prevent others from taking advantage of you. There's an art to saying "no" without looking rude; learning it can polish your assertiveness skills.

3. Say things from your perspective

Your statement will become more assertive if you say them from your perspective. Using pronouns that denote yourself, such as "I," to begin your opinions, will deliver a clear message that what you say is coming from your point of view. You can avoid looking like an aggressive person this way by not saying things like "Your opinion is wrong" directly to another person. People may rub it wrong if you say something from their perspective, so make it clear that a statement is coming from you.

4. Calm yourself before saying something

Communication between people can become heated arguments, especially if aggressive people are involved. You can become entangled in the moment, which might make you utter an aggressive response. It's essential to stay calm in conversations so you won't say something irrational and be able to think before you speak. If possible, try to diffuse the situation and tell others to calm down before things escalate.

On the other hand, if you are the only one feeling nervous during a conversation, you can politely tell others to give you time before you speak so you can adequately craft what to say. It's better to talk when you are calm rather than when you are agitated and can't properly think of what to say.

5. Practice what to say

When you lack assertiveness, practicing what to say before conversations with other people occur is a good idea. Imagine what other people might say and create several responses that fit the situation. For example, suppose the conversation involves people that you know. In that case, you can understand their communication styles and craft responses according to who you think will most likely speak to you once the conversations happen.

It's a different situation for spontaneous communication. For example, you may suddenly meet with a friend or colleague and talk about something that requires both of you to present your opinions. Having experience in assertive communication can help you get through such situations. However, if you are not that assertive yet, always consider the other person you are talking to and think about how they may react to what you say. From there, you can set some boundaries on what you can say and be assertive within limits. You can even try practicing with someone to do some assertiveness training.

6. Be more optimistic

Being more positive can help you speak your mind with confidence. Unfortunately, some people behave passively during communication because they have low self-esteem. They think they may not be worth it in the eyes of others, so they prefer to agree to whatever others say and hold their opinions by not speaking about them. Also, they may think what they say may negatively affect others, so they keep quiet. But, on the other hand, thinking negatively about people may cause someone to say something that doesn't consider others' welfare. So it's vital to have your mind in proper shape during communication so you can assertively say something without breaking somebody else. Having more positivity in your life can help you craft adequate responses to say.

7. Use your body when speaking

Being assertive doesn't only come out in your speech but also with your body language. Maintaining a good posture while speaking, keeping eye contact with who you are talking to, and making your facial expressions neutral are some ways you can add more punch to your statements. Make your presence known and be direct and concise with what you say to be more assertive.

Be assertive to get what you want.

People have varying desires and interests. During conversations, when people must present their views to arrive at a consensus on whose opinion will take precedence or when differing opinions clash, those who know how to be assertive are the ones that can have their views heard and implemented. Without assertiveness, it will be challenging to get what we want in life and can make others only assume what interests us. Being assertive can help us push forward with what we want, but we must also respect others' views and the possibility that what we want may not come through. Having an open mind and knowing how to respect others go together with assertiveness. Asserting something can be the first step toward realizing what we want in life.

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