Why do so many people struggle with expressing their thoughts, their views and their feelings? We’ve been taught in employment ‘you are here to do a job and whatever you’re told to do you have to do’, in business ‘the customer is always right’ and in home life ‘You are the mother/father/child and it is expected of you’.
What about you? When do you count? When do you get to let others see things from your side? Being assertive is just that, making your voice heard. It is not an aggressive attack nor is it a passive stance of always saying ‘yes’ or nothing at all.
Expressing your thoughts and beliefs without dismissing the thoughts and beliefs of others
Standing up for your human rights
FACT: Assertiveness is a skill you can learn right now!
A client recently asked me how others would cope when she changed her behaviour from being passive to assertive. I said it is likely they would question this new-found ‘voice’ as it was previously unheard but eventually, providing she continued to express herself in an assertive manner, they would get used to it and in the long run respect her for it and may even seek her advice, knowing that her opinion would be an honest one.
Assertiveness causes you to take ownership of what you express. There is no blame involved; it is the language of those who are willing to take responsibility for their words, actions and feelings.
- Express what you have to say with ownership. By that I mean use sentences that start with ‘I appreciate how you feel. I feel, I think, I believe, I want, my thoughts are’ etc.
- Keep your body language, tonality and words in sync – relaxed, calm and in control
- Ensure you are on the same level as the other person – if they are sitting, sit down or if they are standing, stand up
- Check your feelings first. If you are in a highly emotional state that is probably not the time to try to be assertive – it may well spill into aggressive behaviour
- Do not go in with the finger of blame; assertive behaviour is a two-way street – your feelings and the other persons
- Be empathetic, really try to see the situation or conversation from the other person’s point of view
- Use assertiveness to say no to requests demonstrating that you know how to prioritise what needs to be done. If you can help someone you will but it will need to be within timescales that work for BOTH of you
- Use assertiveness to be more solution focused – what can be done as oppose to what can’t be
Don’t be a puppet on a string… Be confident and have your say!