How to Communicate Assertively
November 12, 2019
Image from https://www.vskills.in/certification/blog/assertive-communication/
Communicating assertively at work is a tough balancing act for most of us. But that’s exactly what assertive communication is: a balance. When communication lacks balance, it either comes across as passive or weak, or aggressive and pushy.
While the appropriate level of assertiveness depends on culture, company, or even industry, there are generally benefits to learning to communicate assertively. Assertive communicators tend to make great, matter-of-fact managers; they are also better problem-solvers and ally-builders; and they are self-assured and less stressed because they don’t devalue their thoughts of contributions when things go wrong.
So how do you communicate more assertively? Here are a few tips.
Learn to value yourself
People that communicate assertively are assertive precisely because they understand their inherent value to the team and those around them. This self-belief results in self-confidence which in turn results in assertive communication.
Be factual, not emotional or judgmental
To communicate assertively, practice being factual about your ideas, suggestions, wants, or dislikes. If a team member is constantly late to calls, instead of calling them inconsiderate and unreliable (a judgmental response), tell them that the last 3 meetings have all started 20 minutes later than they were supposed to.
Don’t hyperbolize things
Hyperbole kills credibility. You need credibility to communicate assertively at work. When things are not going your way, avoid colorful or exaggerated language to describe how things are going, especially if you’re communicating with your team. Don’t say “that client is the death of me”; instead, communicate more assertively and clearly by saying “well, the client is asking for services we simply cannot provide”.
Learn to say “no”
Saying “no” is one of the great life and work skills and can be a strong expression of independence, self-regard, and assertiveness. Know your boundaries and limitations, and learn to say “no” when absolutely necessary.
Learn to use “I”
Effective communicators often use “I statements” like “I feel”, “I need”, and “I cannot” to convey assertiveness when requesting something from others. For example, “I will be out of town next week, so I need the team to get their papers in by the deadline”.
“I” statements not only carry the weight of your person but they display firmness and sureness.