Assertive communication is often misunderstood. Assertiveness does not mean being stubborn, aggressive, standing your ground no matter what and being closed to all other ideas. Assertive communication is simply being honest, authentic and speaking your truth even when it may be difficult to do so. You may be ridiculed, you may be in the minority, you may have new ideas, but you are authentic and honest – that is being assertive.
Assertiveness Communication Tips
Although assertive communication is such a critical and important skill in the workplace, it doesn’t have to be complicated and complex. Here are some simple tips to help you keep assertiveness in the workplace and at the forefront of your leadership style.
- Start off small– As with anything that you want to perfect and master, it’s best to start off small. The best way to do this is to practice being assertive in a low-key situation where the outcome is less critical. Continue working on your skill and developing your confidence by gradually taking on more challenging situations. Then seek out feedback and adapt and gradually increase the complexity of the communications until you master assertiveness in all situations.
- Be mindful of body language– Assertiveness is not only demonstrated through speaking and communicating. It can also be shown through your body language. To communicate assertively, you need to ensure that you have a relaxed body posture. Being relaxed and assertive while communicating to your co-workers will help you better convey your message to them. A passive or aggressive posture will negate an otherwise assertive message.
- Be direct– Assertive communication includes being honest and confident when speaking. Using clear and direct statements will help you establish your confidence and self-esteem. Being direct and to the point shows that you know what you want or need without being too aggressive.
- Keep it simple– Assertive communication is not complex and difficult so don’t make it complicated. Use simple and direct words to provide clearer and better explanations. This will ensure that you deliver your message very clearly.
- Be respectful– The key to ensure you do not cross over the line to aggressive behavior is to always respect the rights of others, particularly the person you are communicating with. Show them that you are still listening to them while you are asserting your message.
- Keep the desired outcome in mind– If you are communicating assertively, you are likely requesting or suggesting a change. If you want your message to come across to your audience loud and clear, you need to keep your goals in mind at all times. You need to be clear with what you want to happen to ensure that it will happen.
- Remain aware of the context– Keep in mind that the context is always changing. In fact, it is different for every situation. Therefore, you cannot use the same approach in every situation. Look at each situation, each person involved and the environment to be able to demonstrate the right level of assertiveness.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself– If there’s one thing that could easily destroy your confidence and cause you to lapse into non-assertive behaviour, it is being too hard on yourself. We tend to generalise and catastrophise when our conversations don’t turn out as we had hoped.
Assertiveness is an important communication skill in the workplace and will help you establish confidence and self-esteem, making you a more effective communicator. Which of these simple tips are you currently using and which ones could you start to use to become a more assertive communicator.
If anyone in Perth would like to develop their communication skills then Violet is running the Assertive Communication Skills workshop on 7 August.