Assertiveness is a direct and honest form of communication, but at the same time respectful. An assertive person knows what he thinks or what he wants and is not afraid to ask for it directly. She doesn't get angry or let her emotions take over. Although it takes time to learn to communicate assertively, if you practice expressing your needs and expectations, relying on facts instead of blaming yourself, and respecting others as you speak, you will master this powerful communication strategy.
Method 1 of 4: Develop Assertive Communication Skills
Step 1. Define and clearly express your needs or expectations
Passive communicators hide or qualify their needs. In contrast, assertive communicators decide what they want and then ask for it or express it directly. The next time the opportunity presents itself, try to communicate your thoughts or express your needs with at least one direct affirmation.
- While you should respect the needs and schedules of others, you should not avoid making your needs or concerns known just to please someone else. For example, instead of saying, “I'd like to talk to you for a few minutes if it's not too much of a hassle,” say, “We need to discuss a plan for the assignment we've been given. What time is more convenient for you?
- Setting limits goes hand in hand with expressing your needs. Try to communicate your limits to others clearly. For example, if a colleague at work continually annoys you and interferes with your tasks, say, “It is difficult for me to focus on the tasks that I have to finish when I am interrupted. Maybe we can meet before lunch to talk about anything you want to say to me. "
- If your value system and your priorities are not in order in your mind, it will be difficult to express them well to others. Find out what it is you want, need or think exactly before communicating it to others.
Step 2. Use first person affirmations instead of second person
Being assertive involves assessing your own needs, without being aggressive. Express your wants or needs in a situation using first-person affirmations. Avoid second-person statements, as they tend to blame and show anger.
- For example, instead of saying, "You always make my job difficult for me," try saying, "I need better resources to do my job correctly and effectively."
- Think about what you want and need and focus on that. Don't waste your time blaming others. Guilt looks more aggressive than assertive.
Step 3. Practice saying no with respect
Passive communicators have a hard time saying "no" and aggressive communicators are disrespectful in expressing their rejection. On the other hand, the assertive communicator says no when he can't really do something or please someone, but he does it with respect. Offer alternatives or resources when you can't accept a task or challenge.
- For example, if a client asks you about a project that exceeds your duties and work experience, say, “Right now I can't do it for you, but I know a specialist in another department who can help you. Now I can get you your number. "
- Although it is good to explain the reason for your refusal, this is not required to communicate effectively in an assertive way.
Step 4. Practice speaking more professionally
Pay attention to the habits and patterns in your speech and adjust them if they are not assertive. Avoid colloquial and unprofessional words like "maybe", "great" or "hey." You may notice that you speak very fast or with an increasing tone of voice because you do not know if others are listening to you or if what you say is correct. These habits are incompatible with assertiveness, since they express indecision and insecurity. Work on changing them to become a more assertive person.
Step 5. Use proper body language
Assertive communication involves not only verbal language, but also body language. This should show strength, security and relaxation. This includes making eye contact with others while talking and maintaining an upright posture.
- Eye contact is important, but don't stare. It is normal to blink and glance elsewhere. Instead, staring at someone can be seen as aggressive or intimidating.
- As for posture, keep your back straight and your shoulders slightly back. You should not be tense, but you should be aware of your body and its composure.
- Try not to close yourself off. Keep your arms and legs uncrossed and avoid frowning or wrinkling your face as much as possible.
- Take into account the muscular tension of the body. Stretch a bit or take several deep breaths to relax your muscles.
Method 2 of 4: Practice Assertive Conversation
Step 1. Change exaggerations to factual statements
Practice using facts in everyday conversation to help you stay on track and avoid confrontation by being assertive. Use factual statements instead of hyperbole that can throw unnecessary blame.
For example, if you talk to someone about a task you don't want to do, say, "I think I'm going to need to prepare a whole month for this," instead of saying, "This is going to take forever."
Step 2. Keep your answers simple
In general, people with a lack of confidence feel the need to explain themselves. In order not to speak like an insecure person, use fewer words to communicate. Simplified speech and assertive speech are often the same.
- For example, when invited for drinks after work, avoid saying something like, “I can't go out tonight. I have to go to the supermarket, stop by my mother's house to take her dog out, then take my dog for a walk and when I get home I have to do some cleaning before my favorite show starts. " Instead, politely and briefly decline the invitation saying, “No, thank you. Tonight doesn't suit me, but maybe another time”.
- This can also make it easier for others to accept your requests. Keep your sentences short, direct, and relevant.
- If you tend to use filler words (or fillers) like "good," "this," or "hey," try taking small pauses in your speech. In general, a pause is less noticeable to the listener than to you and does not clutter your speech as much as the catch phrases.
Step 3. Rehearse what you want to say ahead of time
If you know in advance that you will need to speak to someone about a need, concern, or opinion, rehearse what you are going to say. Practice staying calm, speaking clearly, and making positive affirmations that express your needs. Some people even find it helpful to write down what they are going to say or practice a conversation with a colleague or friend.
- If you can get someone to act out the conversation with you, ask for their opinions. Let me tell you what you do well and where you can improve.
- If making decisions on the spot makes you uncomfortable, have some ready-made answers in writing that will work in various situations. For example, "I need to consult with my partner, I'll let you know" or "I'm not available at that time, I already have an appointment."
Step 4. Reflect on your everyday interactions
Take a moment at the end of the day to analyze your interactions with others. Congratulate yourself on the situations where you have done well and think of 1 or 2 ways to improve in the situations where you have not been as assertive as you would have liked.
Ask yourself questions like: where have I shown assertive communication? Have I had opportunities to be assertive and pass them up? Have there been times when I tried to be assertive but turned out to be aggressive?
Method 3 of 4: Keep Your Assertiveness Respectful
Step 1. Respect the feelings of others
When speaking assertively, you also need to listen carefully. This involves showing the person you are speaking to that you understand their feelings and opinions. You don't have to agree with her, but show her that you are listening and that you are willing to work with her.
For example, you can say, “I understand that you are concerned about the cost of this product. But, the time it saves us in preparing the reports will greatly offset the initial cost. "
Step 2. Control your emotions
Outbursts of anger or crying can be exasperating to others and contradict the confident and relaxed qualities of assertive speech. Make an effort to control your emotions when working with other people. Avoid using bad words or inappropriate language. If you feel like you are about to burst into anger or tears, take a deep breath from your stomach, counting to 3 between each inhale and exhale. Keep doing this until you feel calm enough to continue.
If you have trouble calming down, take a break. Politely ask for an excuse so that you can remove yourself from the situation and regain self-control
Step 3. Clearly state the consequences when someone doesn't respect your limits
If your negative emotions arise in response to a person who all the time violates your limits or does not respect your requests, end the relationship with respect or refuse to deal with them until they respect your limits, wants and needs. Try to express yourself without issuing emotionally charged opinions.
For example, you can say something like, “I have respected the fact that you should be home at 8:00 PM. to take care of your children, but many times you have not respected my need to spend the mornings with my wife when I get home earlier. If you don't respect my wishes, I think we won't be able to spend time together anymore. "
Step 4. Express gratitude when someone is accommodating to you
If a person has done or is doing something for you, let them know that you are grateful. Give a sincere thank you, either in writing or in person. Afterward, be sure to return the favor by listening openly and honestly when she expresses her needs or concerns.
You can say, “I know it hasn't been easy for you to give up your weekend to finish the project. I really appreciate all the effort you have put into it. We couldn't have finished it without you. Let me know the next time you are in charge of a project and I will do my best to help you”
Method 4 of 4: Communicate Assertively in Common Situations
Step 1. Come up with an alternative to the problem behavior
Whether you are in the office or in a gathering of friends, sometimes someone does something that makes you uncomfortable. Use assertive communication not only to tell him that you are uncomfortable, but also to suggest an alternative.
- For example, if a colleague is constantly picking up materials from your desk without asking your permission, don't just say, "I wish I had more pens, but someone's still taking mine," when they're around you. This is a passive attitude.
- Instead, confront him and say, "I feel frustrated when you take my materials because it prevents me from doing my job correctly. I would rather you order your own pens from now on. I can show you where the supplies room is if not. you know where to get them yourself. "
Step 2. Express your needs and take action with persistent communicators
A telemarketer or a street activist can be difficult to evade. Use assertive communication to tell them what you need from a situation and then proceed with direct action.
- For example, if a telemarketer won't stop calling you, stop him before he gets to his sales pitch and say, "I know you're just doing your job, but I'm not interested in your product. I'd like you to remove me from your list immediately. more drastic measures if you call me again. "
- Then, take direct action by writing the name and number of the person and company that called you. If he calls you back, ask to speak to the manager or report the company to a supervisory body.
- Another way to act directly is to block the phone number or ignore the call.
Step 3. Use assertive communication skills to request what you want
In certain situations, like asking your boss for a raise, you can use assertive communication proactively. Let that person know what you want and why. Be firm, but be open to dialogue.
- For example, if you want to ask for a raise, tell your boss, "I would like to talk to you about a raise. My performance rates consistently outperform other workers in the department by 30% and I want my hard work to be See it on my check. My goal is a 7% increase. Is this feasible? "
- Give the person a chance to respond and enter into a respectful negotiation. Demanding instead of asking is an easy way to lose what you want.
- If the conversation gets too tense, ask for a pause. Explain to the interlocutor that it has nothing to do with him, that you only need a moment of rest and that you will return to the conversation later.
- Learning to communicate assertively takes time. Don't give up, keep practicing in your day-to-day situations.