Are you a passive person or are you assertive when it really matters? In our journey to be more confident, we often forget that a large part of the process is learning how to be more assertive.
A few days ago I came across a question that a user on Quora had posted. He was competing for a promotion at work and wanted to know how he could be more assertive.
There were also three, more experienced employees going after the same position. So he wanted to have a bit of an edge since he was naturally a pretty shy guy.
Well, this inspired me to write this post. I’ll be sharing with you five key ways to be more assertive WITHOUT being rude or aggressive.
“To be passive is to let others decide for you. To be aggressive is to decide for others. To be assertive is to decide for yourself. And to trust that there is enough, that you are enough.” ― Edith Eva Eger
How To Be More Assertive (Without Being Rude)
WHAT IS ASSERTIVENESS?
Growing up, whenever I heard the term “assertiveness” I always felt that it meant that you were rude and obnoxious. But that’s not what it means at all.
Assertiveness is a skill that enables you to, not only stand up for yourself but gives you the power to express your views with confidence.
It doesn’t require you to be rude or aggressive in any way, shape or form and being assertive should not be confused with arrogance.
ARE ASSERTIVE PEOPLE MORE SUCCESSFUL?
In one word yes. In the corporate world, persons who have an air of assertiveness about them tend to stand out from the rest. Assertiveness is an excellent skill because it not only enables you to effectively manage relationships with others, you also have a better relationship with yourself.
When you clearly understand these two things, you improve your chances of having a positive personal impact on those around you.
All successful individuals understand the power of positive personal impact.
- You stand up for yourself in the situations that matter,
- You walk into a business meeting, knowing how to land deals and ask for what you want without diminishing other people,
- Asking for the kind of environment you need to flourish at work becomes a non-issue because you understand the value that you bring and aren’t afraid to charge it,
- Less stress and anxiety because you don’t keep things bottled up anymore,
- Makes you a better negotiator because you see your value and also recognise the value in other people’s opinions,
Earns you the respect of others,
- Helps you improve your verbal and non-verbal communication skills,
- Improves your ability to make better and more impactful decisions because you stop second-guessing yourself,
- Boosts your self-esteem and self-confidence as you learn to value yourself, your skills and your opinions, and
- Gain job satisfaction as your needs at work are met and the relationship between you and your coworkers improves tenfold
Being assertive works. Having the skills to be clear about who you are and what you need works.
HOW CAN I BE MORE ASSERTIVE?
The great news is that because assertiveness is a skill, it can be taught. Here are a few ways to be more assertive in your everyday life:
1 SPEAK WITH MORE CLARITY AND CONFIDENCE
This might be a bit scary, especially if you’re not feeling super confident right now. The good thing is that this feeling can be changed with time and practice.
At work it might feel strange speaking to your boss/ supervisor in this manner so try a few of these tricks:
- think about what you need to perform at your fullest potential so you can approach the conversation with ease,
- practice in front of the mirror (or friends), the things you’ll say to them,
- stand up straight, shoulders back when speaking,
- speak loudly (without shouting) and clearly,
- stick to your guns without appearing rude/ pushy, and
- find ways to help both yourself and the company at the same time
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything. Click To Tweet
2 BE OPEN TO CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
An assertive person is not only able to express themselves and their opinions in a positive way, but they are also prepared to accept both the criticisms and compliments that may or may not come their way.
If you are arrogant, the moment someone disagrees with you, you become angry and defensive. But learning to be assertive means recognizing that not everyone will or should share your views.
This also prevents those differences in opinions from affecting your confidence.
Upon receiving constructive criticism try to find ways to use it to produce positive, impactful change.
3 AVOID THE UNNECESSARY GUILT TRIPS
When speaking to others, remind yourself that it is okay to be honest and tell other people how you feel.
It is also perfectly okay to express your desires without feeling guilty. For a long time, whenever I expressed my needs or desires, I would have an emotional guilt trip afterwards.
I would feel guilty for putting myself first, guilty for wanting something and guilty for even thinking I was worthy of even asking.
You might be experiencing this too. It might be mommy guilt, employee guilt, entrepreneur guilt, or all of the above.
Becoming a more assertive individual is gonna require you to be uncomfortable at times. You’ll also have to learn to let go of the guilt holding you back.
Give yourself permission to say no to anything that makes you unhappy, and/or drains your energy. Click To Tweet
4 IMPROVE YOUR ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Being assertive is not only about expressing yourself in an open and direct manner. It also involves you understanding how to properly communicate those things.
Assertive people aren’t loud and boisterous. Contrary to what some might believe, there are many ways to be assertive without being aggressive. In fact, assertive individuals are the complete opposite.
Great communication skills that you will need to master are:
- Keeping the volume of your voice at an appropriate level as needed for the conversation,
- understanding how to intentionally listen,
- controlling/ using facial expressions as necessary, and
- maintaining eye contact (just to name a few).
5 SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES
I’ve come to realize with a lot of the people I’ve spoken with is that healthy boundaries do not exist in their lives.
They do not create a “space” of their own and are completely unable to say no when it matters most. This often leads to stress, anger, depression or a combination of everything.
Knowing your limits including what you will and will not do will go a long way in helping you enforce them.
Remind yourself that you cannot and will not be everything to everyone, and it’s perfectly okay to want balance in your life.
Too many of us fail to fulfil our needs because we say no rather than yes, yes when we should say no. Click To Tweet
LEARN TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF
Sometimes it can be difficult to stand up for ourselves because we don’t want to rock the boat or create unpleasant experiences for others.
But in doing so, we put ourselves, and our needs at the bottom.
This, in turn, messes with our self-worth, self-confidence and other important areas of our lives.
Once you learn how to properly express yourself in an open and honest manner, you take back your power and actually live a better quality of life.
How can you be more assertive starting today?
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