Tips for Assertive Communications

Assertive communication is speaking up appropriately for oneself while considering the needs, wants, and rights of others. The verbal characteristics of assertive communication are clear, direct, and honest statements of feelings and the use of “I” statements. We feel good about ourselves when we communicate assertively, but also, we must feel self-confident and good about ourselves to adopt this style.
  1. It is crucial to understand when and how to apply your assertiveness skills and techniques, and to understand that it’s not always even appropriate.
  2. Make the decision to positively assert yourself. Commit to being assertive rather than passive or aggressive and start practising today.
  3. Choose the right time. Imagine you’re dashing down the hall on your way to a meeting. Lisa passes by. You call out, “Can you have the Microsoft project out by Tuesday?” Because you haven’t scheduled a special time to bring up the issue, Lisa has no reason to think your request deserves high priority.
  4. Choose the right place. Discuss important issues in a private, neutral location.
  5. Remember, sudden use of assertiveness may be perceived as an act of aggression by others. 
  6. Others may not approve of this style of communication or may not approve of the views you express.
  7. Part of being assertive involves the ability to appropriately express your needs and feelings.
  8. Assertive behaviour is a useful communication tool. Its application is contextual and it’s not appropriate to be assertive in all situations.
  9. Not only does assertive communication help us express our views and achieve goals but do so without hurting or alienating others. It’s the key to developing mutual respect for each other.
  10. Practice, practice, practice! You need to work on your eye contact and body language, practice controlling your voice, and communicating in a direct but non-aggressive manner. You can also take an assertiveness course and further develop your skills.