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3 Practice Tips When Asserting Yourself in Any Situation

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Most of us would prefer not to be described as “mean” or “rude” by others. Sometimes, so much so, that it affects our ability to assert ourselves in an array of situations, whether it be in the workplace or social situations. It’s important to consider that an assertive interpersonal style of communication actually involves clearly expressing your opinions, feelings and preferences without violating the rights of others; sort of the opposite of being “mean” or “rude”. In fact, communicating assertively more often than not inspires positive outcomes rather than inciting conflict and misunderstandings. Below are three tips for being assertive in any situation.

  1. Be specific and stay focused. This is an opportunity to share your opinion and beliefs without attacking the other person. You may want to stick with the “I”; “I feel” or “I notice” as you describe your feelings or needs. This will allow the listener to gain a better understanding of how important the issue is to you and creates an opportunity for the listener to relate to your concerns. We shouldn’t expect others to read our minds or to naturally be aware of our needs if we do not express them clearly and in an easy to understand manner.
  2. Inspire and motivate the listener by describing positive outcomes and the benefits of considering your perspective on the issue; for example, ” We will increase productivity” or “We will get to spend more time together”.
  3. Non verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication when asserting yourself:
    1. Maintain eye contact
    2. Maintain good posture (stand up straight)
    3. Speak calmly and clearly
    4. Be careful not to use an apologetic or hostile tone of voice
    5. Smiling is likely to confuse your listener and your message may be lost

Practice being assertive in different situations using a tip here and there. Responses and feedback are indicators of whether or not your message is reaching the listener. Be mindful and respectful of how the listener may be receiving your message by watching their facial expressions, gestures, or how they verbally respond to what you are saying. Remember, that it is okay to have different opinions and it’s also okay to express ourselves assertively.

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"It is never too late to be what you might have been." ~ George Eliot