Being more assertive and confident is something that will benefit you across your life, both on a business and personal level. It’s important to note the difference between arrogance and assertiveness, as the two are not the same. Some of the quietest people can be the most assertive and the loudest in the room may actually find it the most difficult to get what they want.
What does it mean to be assertive?
It’s all about positive communication that is aimed at achieving a mutually beneficial solution. When you’re being assertive you’re defending your own interests but also understanding that others have interests that are important too. It’s not about forcing someone else to agree to your demands at the expense of their own. And, equally, it’s not about agreeing to something that goes against your interests. This is an open and authentic style of communication - very different, for example, to being passive aggressive where your words and body language might be saying something totally different.
How to communicate assertively and raise your confidence
Being able to communicate assertively means you’ll find it easier to get your message across, and to be understood. It can also take the stress out of situations and reduce the negative impact of conflict on our physical and mental health. You’ll find it much easier to be understood and to build stronger and healthier relationships as a result. So, how do you start to do it?
● Create the right environment for a difficult conversation. For example, find a quiet room and ask someone to join you there rather than having it out in front of a crowded office.
● Learn to manage your own body language. Maintain steady - but not aggressive - eye contact and you will instantly come across as more assertive. Notice the way you hold your body and try to stay open and relaxed.
● Be clear about what you’re trying to say and how you want to back this up. It’s vital to know what point you’re trying to make, as confused communication will never sound confident. If you need to be able to back up your assertion make sure you can point to some evidence.
● Don’t get personal. Focus on the specific thing you want to communicate about and avoid getting personal, as this will undermine your cool and collected assertive approach. For example, saying “you always do this” or “you’re such an angry person” isn’t helpful and is so personal it’s likely to alienate others.
● Focus on how you feel. Telling someone how you feel is more assertive and powerful than telling them what you think is wrong with them or what they do badly.
● Be clear about what you want to change. It’s also very important to be able to focus on, and explain, any change you’re trying to achieve.
● Make dialogue mutual. Ask for input and feedback, find out what they think - remember this is about their rights as much as yours.
Being more assertive involves positive communication and clarity on what you’re trying to achieve in any given situation, as well as a skilful balancing of interests. Find out more by booking onto our Assertiveness & Building Personal Confidence training course...