Have you always wanted to speak up for yourself? Are you looking for the right ways to express your feelings freely without losing temper? Then you need to work upon your assertiveness skills.
In the simplest form, being assertive is nothing but being able to assert yourself effectively to get things done.
So, if you do not want to walk away from any meeting or a negotiation session regretting that you did not get what you deserved, you need to hone your assertiveness skills.
Being assertive is a quality of communicating your opinions, perspectives, thoughts, or emotions confidently without being aggressive or passive.
When it comes to the most crucial life skills, assertiveness is, for sure, placed at the top-most position. While thinking of some of the most successful personalities in the world, whether in politics, business, or science, you cannot think of a single person who is not assertive.
From Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela to Bill Gates to Elon Musk, no one is meek or passive.
To rise to the top, it is crucial to be assertive. It will empower you to stand up for yourself, but in the process, you will not be stepping on to other’s shoes.
You will be able to express yourself directly, clearly, correctly, and in a considerate fashion.
This post will take you deep into the world of assertiveness skills, and help you understand how you can incorporate these skills to be confident, healthy, and well-adjusted individuals.
What are Assertive Skills?
Conversations are an integral part of our lives. There exist interviews in all walks and for various purposes.
There are different ways of communication, and one of them is a direct conversation.
In a candid discussion, people stand in front of each other and talk. There are crucial roles of tone, expressions, and body language in such a conversation. It makes it more exciting and multi-dimensional.
If you want a meaningful discussion in a very healthy and peaceful environment, you need some basic skill set. A crucial part of the skill set is assertiveness.
Assertiveness can be defined as a type of behavior laced with firmness and confidence. The skills of assertiveness are fundamental to strike the right conversation.
To understand assertiveness more lucidly, you should first look upon different types of conversations that human beings deliberately or inadvertently do-
Types of Behavior in Conversations
It is a type of behavior where you do not communicate anything. This type is not considered strong and bold; instead, it is a type of weak personalities. Many people behave passively to be likable.
If you agree with people without causing any fuss, it is considered polite by those who do not like to consider other points of view.
This type has characteristics that are contrasting to the characteristics of passive people. Aggressive people are open about their thoughts and do not mind voicing them out in any situation.
They find peace in putting their opinions out there, and they do not care about what other people think about their aggressive attitude.
It is a hazardous type of behavior, as it is very ambiguous and confusing. The passive-aggressive people do not tend to put their opinions out there but cannot sit idle and be okay with others’ views either.
It is a very tricky space since they use sarcasm and make ambiguous remarks on people or ideas they disapprove of. People around them need a lot of work at guessing what they mean and what they want to convey.
It is the nicest yet the firmest type of communication. Assertive people are those who express themselves in a company as a bold yet confident and honest way.
There is clarity in their speech, and you feel like hearing them out and taking their views and suggestions into consideration. They do not tend to dominate or degrade any other point of view but put their opinions out with the utmost firmness.
Definition of Assertiveness Skills
The skills of communication which involve direct delivery of statements firmly and confidently can be termed as assertiveness skills.
These skills are used to advocate your rights and transparently express your thoughts. You can defend your views calmly and politely but with firmness and resolve.
There is no place for demeaning or degrading any other opinion. Still, there is a convincing attempt to put your ideas out there for people to understand and hopefully agree to.
Building Blocks for Assertiveness
Assertiveness is a great virtue. It comes to use in workplaces as well as in various personal settings. Here are some necessary skills you require for building assertiveness.
This virtue is essential as if you are honest in communication, you will be more relatable. People would believe you more and would want to listen to you. If you put up the pretense and represent someone who you are not, it will not be honest, and that will take a toll on the impact your communication will make.
It is of the utmost importance. Many times, it is not what you say that matters, but it is how you say that makes an impact.
No one likes disrespectful people. If you say things in a rash and harsh manner, people will not want to hear you out. More people will hear you out if you are respectful and have a genuine understanding of the things you are saying.
Self-control is that quality that sets you apart from the aggressive and passive people. Aggressive people have the least self-control, while inactive people exercise unnecessary restraint and sabotage their individuality.
Assertive people strike the right balance of where to keep quiet and where to speak up with firmness. This self-control gives them an edge over others.
Being responsible in their speech and their demeanor is the quality of assertive people. Assertiveness lies in speaking up for what is right and standing by the rights of yourself and your colleagues or the people around you.
It also includes owning up to your mistakes and apologizing for the same. This quality makes assertive people stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Characteristics of Assertive People
Some skills are essential and indicative of assertiveness. Given below are some of its characteristics.
1. Body posture
The body posture is crucial as it indicates your mood and the resolve with which you are speaking.
Aggressive people have a louder and thunderous tone, while passive people tend to have a shaky voice. Both of these create a negative impression. Hence, if you want to be assertive, then you need steadiness in your voice and tone.
3. Eye contact
Eye contact is an essential part of communication. People tend to judge their concentration and determination through this factor. If you maintain eye contact while speaking, you are known to be confident and fearless.
A huge part of body posture comprises gestures. Gestures form the languages and words you do not convey verbally. That is why it is necessary to use appropriate gestures while communicating assertively.
In assertive communication, everything depends on what you have to say. Content is the king in any conversation. Even if you follow all the guidelines, but have no fixed point to make, all of these factors are futile.
That is why you need to have explicit content to put across.
Assertiveness skills are of the utmost importance in any conversation to establish excellent communication between two parties.
1. Enhances problem-solving
Problem-solving is a great skill. It requires people to understand your points very well and work on the solutions you have proposed. Here, assertive communication is of great use.
2. Makes better managers
Managers are those who can use all the resources optimally to get the maximum results and outputs. Assertive people are obeyed and trusted more, and that is why they make better managers.
3. Helps in negotiating a win-win situation
A win-win situation is the one in which both the parties are in profit, and there are no significant losses or disheartenments to any one of the parties involved in a situation.
People who are good at assertive communication can find common ground and negotiate in such circumstances.
4. Boosts confidence
If you are of aggressive or passive nature, you seem to get under-confident while speaking up in front of a large crowd. Assertiveness helps in building confidence.
It gets you confident in your skin and put forth your views firmly. Confidence boosting is a great advantage of assertiveness skills.
5. Enables liberty in making decisions
If there are passive or aggressive people around, there might be narrow-mindedness in the team.
Assertive people are liberal, and they can embrace distinctions in opinions and views as well as include people falling in a broad spectrum. It enables making rational decisions.
6. Reduces stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety are considered to be the by-products of communication. However, this can be proved untrue by adopting a particular way of communication. It involves confidence, honesty, and respectfulness.
That is why it supports your conscience and helps you conduct yourself better. You are not scared of putting your views out there, and that helps in better communication.
How to be Assertive?
Developing assertiveness skills is simple and easy if you do it with dedication and concentration. There are many ways of developing these skills, like some of them are given below-
1. Share your thoughts clearly
If you keep on shying away from speaking clearly, you will not be able to train yourself in assertiveness skills. That is why you need to speak up with confidence and without any hesitance.
2. Practice your speech:
It might seem wrong to script speeches, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea to speak impromptu. If you want to say something important, you can script the points out and practice how you are going to put it across.
3. Develop emotional intelligence:
Emotional intelligence is the key to healthy assertive communication. Passive and aggressive people do face emotional turmoil, and that is the reason they behave in a specific manner.
Hence, you need to strengthen your emotionality to develop assertiveness.
Eliminating Unassertive Behaviors
For being an assertive individual, you need to eliminate some of the unassertive characteristics. Let us have a look upon those as well-
- Avoid passive behaviors like speaking too softly, avoiding eye contact, minimizing your own needs, being indecisive, slouching, etc.
- Avoid weak and passive gestures like preening, fawning, fidgeting, scratching, putting hands in pockets, etc.
- Avoid passive speech patterns like putting yourself down, making frequent apologies or justifications, rambling or uncertain statements, etc.
Assertiveness skills are of great advantage, and these are useful in workplaces as well as personal spaces. One can devote time and resources to develop these skills.
Assertive people comprise positive self-esteem, and they also prefer liking and valuing themselves. By incorporating assertiveness, they also enjoy better control in their lives. Assertiveness also ensures fulfilling relationships for such people because of their open communication and mutual respect.
By being assertive, you will be able to express your feelings without any sort of guilt, plus you will also be taking responsibility for your feelings, and you won’t be making excuses or blaming others. This empowers you to stand for yourself and exercise your rights, plus also recognizing others’ rights as well.
Finally, assertiveness skills will enable you to look a person in the eye and share your views in a confident but non-threatening tone. It will, for sure, offer you win-win outcomes in your personal as well as professional life.
So, what do you think about the role of assertiveness in our lives? Share your views with us in the comments.