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Assertiveness 101

Assertiveness is a social communication skill. It means being able to stand up for your rights and that of others in a diplomatic and positive way without being forceful or passive. It means being able to get your point across without upsetting others or getting upset. By being assertive, you are considerate of the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings of others but not letting it affect your own belief or opinion. To be assertive, you must be in check of your emotions especially during the heat of an intense conversation. You must also be conscious of trigger words and be willing to rephrase your statements and let your points be easy to comprehend. You should stay on track during these conversations and not divert to another topic. Assertiveness is the balance point between passive and aggressive behavior. It is speaking your mind but encouraging others to speak their mind too and responding appropriately. Assertiveness does not mean you will always win. Sometimes you need to have a particular conversation more than once.

What assertiveness entails

— Being appreciative of other people’s opinion and willingness to participate in a conversation instead of looking at their opinions as inferior to yours.

— Listening actively to the views of others in a conversation and responding diplomatically, whether in agreement or not.

— Willingness to admit faults instead of being defensive or using a dishonest or seemingly reasonable excuse.

— Being able to control and guide your emotions properly in the heat of an intense conversation.

— Willingness to respect other people’s participation in the conversation, allowing them to finish expressing their opinion even though you are pressed to say something.

— Being confident to speak your mind but not being aggressive.

— Being direct and honest. Not changing your point of view despite lack of support from others.

Benefits of assertiveness

You gain trust: If you learn to communicate assertively, people will tend to trust what you’re saying more.

Less stress: With being assertive, you are able to express your feelings and opinions while maintaining harmony. You don’t experience the stressful effect of an argument. You’re also not seen as a troublemaker each time you want to express your mind.

You gain confidence and earn respect: When you become more assertive, you’re happy about being able to get others to listen to you and so, that makes you feel more confident in yourself. People get to respect the effect you had on them and your ability to remain calm and reasonable throughout the conversation.

How to become more assertive

  • Be sure of what you want to say first: You don’t want to start speaking and then change your mind or give up during the conversation. You also do not want to say things that are not completely true. You have to get your facts straight and also be sure you have a complete knowledge of what you’re about to say.
    You also have to be sure that you have passion for what you want to say so that you will remain sure of yourself throughout the conversation.

  • Keep your emotions in check: During the conversation, people may try to guilt trip you or threaten you. Some may ignore you, try to twist your words, or play dumb. You should not let that make you overreact or say things that you might regret later. Do not be intimidated or try to sugar coat your words. Be direct, firm, and stay calm. Also agree to disagree.
    Don’t speak to attack anyone or divert from the topic of conversation just because you’re triggered by what someone has said. Stay focused and speak to solve a problem. Letting your emotions get the best of you is a huge distraction.

  • Let your points be clear and direct: You do not want people to get confused by your points and start asking questions that will stretch the time of conversation unnecessarily. If your points are unclear, people may misinterpret you unnecessarily and get triggered. To correct these misinterpretations will become stressful for you. Pay attention to you body language and to the tone of our voice. Don’t expect people to read your mind. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements so that you don’t seem aggressive.

  • Respect the opinion of others: Don’t dismiss the views of others or regard their level of thinking as lower than yours. Different factors shape people’s view on a lot of issues. See things from the perspective of others. When you are disrespectful of other people’s opinions, they will get triggered emotionally and refuse to pay attention to whatever you have to say. Be humble enough to accept that you can’t always be right and learn to correct your faults.


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