People quite frequently confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness. Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy or annoying. Often people fail to maintain a balanced attitude and go too far in the process of being assertive and end up being aggressive or discourteous. Sharon Anthony Bower’s quote seems quite relevant in this context as she drew a line between the two by saying, “The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and wellbeing of others.” If you are assertive, then it means you are clear and concise and have a clear idea of what you want to do or what you want to get. It is also an art of drawing what you want from others, standing up for your own opinions and ideas without being ashamed, and thus, is a big boon to have in your arsenal. So, if you are always afraid of expressing your opinions, worried about what other people might think of you and avoid confrontations or give in too easily, then you lack all the essential qualities of a leader. In today’s world, it is a big drawback not to have assertive communication skills. So gear up and embrace all the techniques given below to eradicate such deficiencies in your personality.
Comport Yourself With Courage And Confidence
Overcome your fear and shyness. Act confident and courageous. Even if you feel skittish, try to hide your anxiety as perfectly as possible. Nervous and timid people can’t be assertive. How you project yourself is important. The communication apparently starts even before a single word is spoken. So, it’s important to exude the right kind of confidence for the right kind of impression.
Speak Coherently And Calmly
You don’t necessarily have to be loud in order to be heard. Often when people are nervous, they tend to stammer or make frequent halts while speaking. Get rid of such nervous energies. Speak coherently and lucidly. Be concise.
Rehearse And Refine
If you have a problem while speaking publicly or to strangers, practice and prepare yourself for such occasions. Good oration is an art and not many are blessed with it. Nevertheless, practice makes a man perfect. Rehearse and refine your oratory skills by talking to yourself or addressing yourself in front of a mirror.
Use “I” while speaking. For example “I feel”, “I believe”. It gives an impression that you are not shy to voice your feelings and opinions. It is always good for assertiveness to voice your own opinions, how you feel about something. You must project your own perspective starting your statement with the letter “I”.
Don’t sound confused and tentative. First arrange your thoughts and contemplate what you want to say for a moment and then speak or ask for what you need. There should not be even a hint of ambiguity. If you disagree, feel free to express. You don’t have to be rude to express disagreement. You can simply say that I respect your opinions but they are not same as mine. It will give an impression that you are decisive and quite clear about your standing.
Make Eye Contact
When conversing, maintain eye contact with the person you are talking to. It is one of the basic traits of assertiveness. Don’t turn your eyes away frequently when talking to someone. It shows lack of confidence, and first step towards assertiveness is self-confidence.
Learn To Say No
If you don’t want to something which others want you to do, feel free to say no. It is not necessary that you have to comply to others wishes. If you least feel like doing whatever they want you to, say no. However, make sure you decline without hurting anybody. Be polite and clear. It is always better to say no right away than dilly-dally.
Don’t Be Too Compliant Or Too Complaisant
Don’t try to be too obliging or too pleasing. Don’t smile or laugh too much. Smile occasionally when you feel appropriate. Do not nod your head too much. Stay composed. Never act subserviently in order to impress others and gain their favors.
Be Honest To Yourself
Figure out what you want. Be specific about what you want to achieve out of a particular conversation or meeting. If you are clear, then it is easier for others to know what you want out of them and you can easily get your job done.
Find Someone Who Is Assertive
Follow someone who is assertive. See how they act and behave. If possible, ask what they feel like. Study them and try to implement them in your life in your own way. Don’t imitate. Everyone has his or her own unique style. Often one’s style doesn’t suit the other.
It is not possible for a shy and timid person to grow assertive overnight. However, these techniques will certainly lead one in the right direction to be confident and assertive, no matter how slowly and steadily the progress is. As the world is getting more and more competitive day-by-day, assertiveness is becoming an important weapon to have. At the same time, one has to be aware of the fact that there is a very fine and yet distinguishable line between being assertive and being aggressive and arrogant. So one must have a clear idea where does he stand. There are some warnings mentioned above, which must be considered as they quite clearly draw the line between assertiveness and aggressiveness. Follow and implement the tips to T and you won’t be treated like a door-mat any more.