Posted 10 July 2009 by Chris Farmer
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Assertive vs Aggressive
People often ask me how they can tell the difference between Assertiveness and Aggressiveness
- You need to be assertive
- You must not be aggressive
So, you should know the difference.
Assertiveness is a form of communication that is rational, based on a logical interpretation of the facts and implies a willingness to negotiate.
Aggressiveness is a form of communication that is emotionalised, based on the reactions to facts and implies NO willingness to negotiate.
"Assertiveness" and "aggressiveness" are both forms of COMMUNICATION
Communication has three channels:
- Language /vocabulary
- Body language
- Voice tonality
Each of these three aspects may be
- Aggressive - Emotional
- Assertive - Rational
Let us look at each category in turn.
Let us see how to manage each aspect:
One: Language /vocabulary
Aggressive language is characterised by five components:
- Personal attacks - "You fool!"
- Talk of "how one feels"- " I am REALLY angry at you "
- Threats- "Do that again and you will regret it!"
- Abusive- "You bastard"
- Blame- "It is all your fault"
Assertive language is characterised by four components:
- Factual comments without abuse - "You are twenty minutes late! "
- Refraining from talking about how one feels- stick to the objective facts
- Suggesting a practical solution to problem under discussion- "Next time call me if you are going to be late."
- Talking about the future, not blame- "Will you do that in future?"
Two Body language
Body language represents most of the emotional component of communication.
For our purposes, body language breaks down into elements:
2. Eye contact
Aggressive gestures you must avoid are:
- Pointing with a finger
- Pointing with a pen
- Any gestures with a fist
- Both arms folded tightly across the chest
- Leaning towards the speaker
- Banging tables, desks or doors
Gestures that you can use to emphasis your message
- Open handed gestures
- Counting off points on your fingers- "I need you to do this, then this, and this. OKAY?"
- Indicating with a thumbs up gesture
Aggressive eye contact
- Glaring into the eyes of the speaker
- Not breaking off eye contact
Assertive eye contact
- Reflecting back the equivalent quality of the eye contact that you receive
- Reflecting back the equivalent intensity of the eye contact that you receive
Three: Body Posture
Aggressive body posture
- Standing "square-on" to the other
- Close proximity
Assertive body posture
- Standing at 45 degrees to the other
- Not too close proximity- do
Three: Voice tonality
Your voice quality will "set the tone" of the discussion.
- Too much volume
- Louder than normal volume
- not too much
- High pitch
- "Up tight"
- Low pitch
- Deeper tones
- Relaxed tension
Aggressive rate of speech
- Fast and furious
- Says too much
- Goes on for too long
Assertive rate of speech
- Slower more measured
- Clear and distinct
You should know the difference between
- You need to be assertive.
- You must not be aggressive.
Assertive Language is based on factual comments without abuse
Assertive Body language is based on:
- Open handed gestures
- Reflecting the amount and intensity of the eye contact
- Not too close proximity
Assertive voice tonality is clear and distinct
Assertiveness is a form of communication that is rational, based on facts and a logical interpretation of them and implies a willingness to negotiate.
Learn to do the right things and you will get the best results!
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