In my last post “The beginning, Changing perceptions of Assertiveness” I discussed what Assertiveness isn’t” Today; I would like to invite you to continue on our Journey towards Assertiveness by exploring exactly what it is.Throughout this article, I will define Assertiveness and outline various elements within this definition.
What is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness is an empowering communication style that paves the way for effective interaction. It is about developing skills and strategies to express your wants, needs and feelings in a Direct, Open, Respectful and Confident way ” Lets expand on that:
This relates to expression being clear, in so far as, you mean what you say and say what you mean. The listener understands perfectly the message you intended to give. There are no mixed messages or distortions of the facts. Equally important in applying a Direct approach, is that you assume responsibility, by taking ownership of your expression. This can be achieved by using “I” statements. such as “I feel,” “I want” “I need”, “I would like” and “It’s important to me”, as opposed to shifting blame onto others by starting sentences with “You’re always” or with my personal favorite “You made me!”
This can be described as being honest about positive and negative feelings and experiences. Remember; very few of us possess telepathic skills! So, if you are upset or annoyed by someone’s actions, it’s your responsibility to tell them. If you advocate being “fine” when someone has offended you, guess what, the offender may just take you at your word! Don’t expect others to read your mind and adjust their treatment of you, if they are blissfully unaware that you have issues with them.
An essential consideration in Assertiveness is demonstrating mutual respect Hey it’s not all about you!. Therefore; While adopting this approach, it’s crucial you are respectful of both yours and others rights. For instance; you may become aware that you are entitled to say ‘No’, but guess what, so is everybody else! That is, of course if u are adopting an assertive approach! As the saying goes, “Treat others as you would like to be treated”. Remember, to be aware of the way in which you communicate and interact. Ask yourself these questions to promote respectful communication.
1. How can I express myself in a Direct, open, respectful and confident way?
2. If someone were communicating with me how would I like it said?
3. What do I need to say so that my listener is clear on my position but feels respected?;strong
Your Communication style and interactions send a message that you place value on your wants, needs and feelings. This is conveyed through Spoken Words, Tone of Voice and Body language. In addition; there is consistency between Verbal and Body Language. For instance; to convey confidence of your position on an issue, you are standing tall, making eye contact, using appropriate volume, tone and pace in your spoken words. In addition; you are avoiding fidgeting or saying lots of “Emms, ehhs kind of’s ect”
Assertiveness is like learning French
It can be useful to compare developing Assertiveness to learning a new language, a different more empowering way of expressing yourself. Say, for instance, if you wanted to learn to speak french, to become fluent straight away would be overwhelming to say the least, if not impossible. You would need to break it down into manageable segments, beginning with words and phrases, following with sentences and so on, practicing over and over and gradually developing confidence.
On Aspire Assertiveness Courses, everything you need to know to become Assertive is taught, but it is broken down into manageable sections, so as not to overwhelm. We combine essential information with easy to follow frameworks to help you to become fluent in Assertiveness.
Next time, I will help to deepen understanding of Assertiveness by expanding on “Characteristics of Assertiveness“