Be ready and Practice – When you are alone, write in a journal and talk into a mirror, practicing what you will say in difficult situations that require assertiveness. Imagine a variety of discussions and arguments that make you feel uncomfortable, fearful, sad, defensive or angry. Plan out assertive ways of responding to such situations when you are in a meeting, Interview or communicating in general.
Role play – This is the next step in practicing. With a spouse, sibling, parent, counselor or trusted friend, practice assertive communication. Have the other person play a variety of roles, including aggressive, passive, withdrawn, pushy or other. Have them get in your face and make different types of behavior you find yourself having to deal with. Practice responding calmly, rationally, and assertively.
Put your self in the other persons’ shoes – Most people are afraid to be assertive for fear of failure or coming on too strong; they often lack self confidence. But when we imagine what the other person is feeling and put ourselves in their shoes, we can think about how we would want someone to respond to us. Looking outside ourselves can put our communication skills in perspective.
Be logical and acknowledge– If you are in a difficult situation that demands assertive behavior, first stop and think about what the other person is talking about and acknowledge. To acknowledge is a truly powerful form of communicating. When you acknowledge, you listen! If you don’t know what to answer stay calm don’t let them think that you are not fit enough. Wisely act professional and logically try to find an answer that shows your maturity at the same time proves that you are an assertive communicator.Keep an open mind – Have a flexible approach to finding a solution. Don’t be stubborn! Remember to be clear, concise, coherent and complete. Do not squeak or ramble. Maintain a steady tone all through the meeting, punctuating it only if the need arises.
Reach an agreement – Last but not least, you don’t have to back down from your statements and apologize. Just be open. Compromise is not a bad word. It doesn’t make you less of a mature individual. In fact, it is a win-win option for both sides. It only shows that you are mature enough and ready to meet the other halfway.
Once you gain assertive behavior the benefits you get include;
- Reduced nervousness and strain often caused by misunderstandings and conflicts.
- Allows you to express your thoughts and feelings clearly and effectively.
- Self-esteem and self-confidence is enhanced and you have better control over your own life.
- Others have more respect for your ideas and opinions by knowing where you stand.
- Motivates others to clearly state their own opinions and ideas.
- Allows you to ask for help when needed without fear and stress.
Since assertive communication is the ability to speak and interact in a manner that considers and respects the rights and opinions of others while at the same time standing up for your own rights, needs and personal boundaries, you have to be able to acquire assertive behavior.