The meaning of being assertive is to be direct in what you need, feel, want and believe which also reflects respect for others. This is a communication skill that can help reduce conflict; at the same time, it helps to build one’s self-confidence as well as improve relationships. Here are ten ways to practice being assertive in your work and family life:
- Encourage Honest and Open Communication
One way to being assertive is to know what others feel or believe in; understand how their opinions stand and their belief system and where it differs from yours. Accordingly, talk about what you feel and how your opinions are formed. Sharing feelings, beliefs, opinions, needs and wants helps to improve relations between people.
- Decide to be Assertive in a Positive Way
Commit to being assertive in your dealings with others, especially where you sense a need or want of communication or conflicts that often arise. This is different from being passive; if you remain withdrawn or silent often the other person is unaware of how you feel and will continue to say and do things that you dislike. On the other hand, being aggressive is pushing your opinion or stating the same in a way as if you want to win over another. The aim is to make another understand of your feelings or views and to show them that you understand their views as well.
- Actively Listening
This is an important trait for improving your communication and relationship with others. In order to understand where conflicts lie, you need to first understand what the other person is trying to communicate. Often we take for granted that the other person is trying to oppose or undermine us which can turn out to be untrue if you listen carefully.
- Do not Make Another Feel Guilty
Speak honestly about what you feel or what you want without accusing another or saying it in a way that makes another feel guilty.
- Do not be Afraid to Disagree
You might have a different viewpoint but that should not make you hesitant to communicate the same to others. It should be stated in a way that you also take into consideration the other person’s point of view.
- Speak in a Calm Manner
This is also a requirement when you are communicating with another, especially with different opinions and points of view. If you are upset and raise your voice, it would seem like aggression. To be assertive is to breathe and look normal and communicate in a relaxed manner, looking directly at the other person.
- Take on a Different Approach
In order to be positive in being assertive, you need to see things in a positive light. If you think that the other person is your enemy, aggression or defensive behavior automatically reflects in your communication stance. Try to see the other person’s point of view; usually, people are trying to showcase their opinions or feelings and not trying to attack another. Your reply should be about your differing viewpoint and not personally attacking the feelings of another.
- Take Responsibility
In being assertive you need to showcase ownership of your ideas and thoughts. Hence, include phrases like “I feel”, “I think” in your communication and not phrases like “you never” or “you always” which seem accusing and aggressive.
- Show it in your Body Language
It is often not what we say but how we say it. Hence, it is important to maintain a positive body language when you interact with others. Keep a pleasant expression and hold yourself upright to showcase positive attitude and self-confidence when you communicate with others.
- Be Patient
This is another important aspect to remember. No communication can be perfect or understanding might not occur seamlessly between two people all the time. However, with time and patience as well as continuous learning one can learn how to be assertive and see results in their interaction with others. The above points when kept in mind can help a person to practice assertiveness in an effective way which can help improve work and personal relationships.