What does it take to learn how to be assertive?
Sometimes people have the impression that if you are an assertive person you need to be rude, pushy and over confident, but this doesn't have to be the case at all.
Assertiveness means having your voice heard, and being clear about what you want and how you want to get it, but without it looking as if you are getting your own way.
It means not saying YES when you mean NO. We all do it and let ourselves get almost "persuaded" by others to agree to things we say we'll do or want, but in fact don't want.
It means being clear about what you want and feel.
Learning how to be assertive means that you will gain the skill of saying what you want, getting what you need or meaning what you feel, and being able to put that all across in a confident manner. In short, being assertive will build confidence.
Have you ever heard of the “feel, felt, found” method? If not, let me briefly explain, and then you can go into more detail on Step No #1 below.
If you want to accomplish a task, and have colleagues that you need on side, it’s very important to have their co-operation. How do you go about this? Quite simply you empathise with them, saying something on the lines of “I know exactly how you feel, I felt the same way, but let me tell you what I found”. This works every time. I challenge you to try it out!
Usually you need to be assertive because you are wanting something done by others and need to tell them what or how to do it, but you don’t want to come across as dictatorial because you know that if you do, you won’t accomplish anything.
Here is an example of how NOT to be assertive –
“Help me do this”. Why is this not a good example? Well, you come across as aggressive, it will get peoples backs up and no one will co-operate, or if they do it will be very grudgingly.
Here is an example of HOW to be assertive
“I’ve got a problem, and I need your help. I would love your opinion and advice on how best to go about it. This is what I want to do, what’s your opinion?!” Do you see the difference? In this last example you will get 100% co-operation without being aggressive. That is how to be assertive effectively.
Co-operation is the key to you coming across as assertive. You’ve got the idea, or you know what the problem is, but you need co-operation from others without being too bossy and putting others off.
You can shout and scream all you like, but if you don’t learn how to be assertive in a cool calm manner, then your subjects (be they work colleagues, friends, family, children) are not going to respond.
Changing your way of thinking and becoming assertive means you will need to focus on others and how they respond to you. It goes back to boosting self confidence where it becomes necessary for you to recognise others in order for you to achieve you end result (others recognising you). So by asking someone for their advice on a problem, they feel recognised and involved, and you get the co-operation needed, whilst at the same time you’ve learnt how to be assertive without being aggressive. Often these 2 words are confused.
Sit down and talk things through. This relates to any problem you have, whether it’s work or home or friends. Ask for opinions, advice and ideas, and then put them across as the solution. They then feel they have had some feedback and are happy to co-operate.
BODY LANGUAGE - Being assertive means showing you are confident, and your body language says a massive amount about you and how you portray yourself. Smile and you’ll find everyone else around you smiles.
Negative body language really does harm you. Successful people don’t want to do business with negative looking people. It becomes a drain trying to encourage others to be positive. One of the top tips about learning how to be assertive is that you need to learn how to convey to others that you can accomplish a task, that you are believable, and that others do want to work with you. Hence it’s very important to have the right body language.
To start with, arms crossed are a big No No. Eyes looking down on the floor are also not on. Both these actions show a very bad lack of confidence and you wont be assertive if you don't correct these little things which make a HUGE impression.
Practice standing up, looking people in the eye and speaking clearly and with meaning in your words. You really need to work on this, it is vitally important that you convey the right attitude from the start.
Take some time to digest this information and then start to put it into practice. Remember, “Feel, Felt, Found”, and ask the advice and opinions of others, as well as taking steps to improve your body language.
You can be assertive without being aggressive.