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The Power of Saying No: 6 Exercises for Assertiveness Training

Being assertive is a great skill to have - we all need to know how to say “no.” If you’re keen to do this more effectively then it’s not simply about learning how. You also need to understand why you currently don’t do it. These exercises for assertiveness training are designed to get you to understand more about yourself so that you can empower yourself to feel more assertive - and put this into practice too.


  1. Assertiveness self-evaluation. For many people, the first place to start with assertiveness is to look within. How assertive are you right now and what has defined the attitude that you have to assertiveness? This is something that we can evaluate through how you think and feel, as well as how you behave. This assertiveness self-evaluation questionnaire is a great place to start to get a clearer idea of where you are with assertiveness right now.
  2. Being able to speak up when it matters. One of the main characteristics of assertiveness is often identified as being able to speak up about something that is important. We may feel a lot of confusion about when is the best time to speak up - or even whether we should speak up at all. Often, having a clearer idea of when to speak up to be more assertive can be really helpful. Take a look at this worksheet on when to speak up to help clear any confusion.
  3. Balancing respect between yourself and others. There is an ideal balance between respecting yourself - and respecting others - that we achieve when we are genuinely assertive. This assertiveness balance worksheet is designed to get you to think about the different possible responses to situations that have happened in your life and how each one sits in terms of whether or not it is assertive in the right way.
  4. What do you actually want? If assertiveness is all about getting what you want then the first question to consider is what that actually is. You may have all the skills in terms of being able to ask for things but without the focus of knowing what you want those will be lost. Use this worksheet to help identify what it actually is that you want from life.
  5. Understanding yourself better will help with assertiveness. Knowing who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are and what you value about yourself are some of the ways in which you can begin to understand yourself better. This is a vital starting point for assertiveness and something you can begin with this questionnaire.Moving on from unhelpful thoughts. Often, what stops us being assertive is the negative messaging in our heads. This could be a core belief we acquired as a child or something that was modelled to us by our parents (e.g. “it’s not ok to ask for what you want.”) Learning how to move on from those unhelpful thoughts is essential for assertiveness - this questionnaire is designed to help with that.


These 6 exercises offer powerful assertiveness training that will help anyone to master the power of saying No.