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How to be ASSERTIVE? Tips to help you

Every day, whether at office or home or school or college, we communicate. Any verbal or facial or body expressions passes on some message. This is communication in simple terms

image from internet

Now, it is apparent that if we aren't effective in communicating, we are wasting our energy and probably lose on the message we wanted to pass or will have to redo the whole act to try to convince the other party in terms of what we want to communicate. I am sure none of us wants to do it this way.

3 primary categories of how we are perceived while communicating both verbally and using our body language are,

PASSIVE - SUPPRESS your own thoughts, opinions & feelings while keeping others' interest on top (LOSE - WIN situation). They sound, complaining most of the times.

Example - You walk in for an interview with shrugged shoulders, give a soft handshake, sit with a cross arm stance, look at all places while speaking but not at interviewer. You use, tentative statements like I think, too much of may be etc. and at times you use submissive language without voicing opinion clearly, like "yes may be its true, I am not sure. But, as you are saying it must be"

AGGRESSIVE - SUPPRESS others' thought while keeping your opinion & ego paramount (WIN-LOSE situation). They sound like excuse finders & problem creators

Example - You walk in for an interview with confidence, give a hard handshake, keep looking in to interviewer's eyes like you are hypnotising . You use, tentative statements like I know, you compare a lot, like I know better than them, I have been doing it, no one could do it better. You tend to get in to argumentative move and at times you use aggressive language & intimidating voice while sounding overconfident, like "Boss, I have been in to this industry for years now, I have seen ups & downs, its a loss of other company if I leave them etc."

ASSERTIVE - The balancing act. EXPRESS your thoughts,feelings,opinions while not hurting other & rather helping by suggesting how they can get what they want (Assume positive intent). They sound like solution finders

Example - You walk in for an interview with upright shoulders & stance, give a soft handshake, look in to interviewer's eyes, but shift your focus momentarily and come back. You use, statements like I feel, I believe, I am sure, Let's try to find out solution etc. You voice your opinion clearly, like "I am sure, I can implement the business changes effectively, utilising my management skills gained out of experience and other courses"

Here are a few tips to help you,

  • In your mind, ACKNOWLEDGE your individuality & keep your SELF-ESTEEM high

  • Intent paves way for further communication - Assume positive intent & talk about solutions more than problem

  • Confidence speaks - Use firm & clear voice & sentences while acknowledging other's needs

  • When you speak, use "I" statements more, to let other person know that your opinion, feeling or thoughts shouldn't be ignored

  • Stand with on open stance (open silhouette)

  • Keep eye contact & face the person directly whom you are addessing

  • Agree to disagree at times, but gracefully without being abusive or insulting to others' opinion

I am sure, integration of above tips to be assertive are going to help you become an effective communicator and get done what you want to do.

Watch this to see, how to be assertive

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