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How Assertive are You?

How assertive are you?

Assertiveness

Assertiveness is a form of communication that allows you to communicate your message in a confident, firm, and professional manner. Assertiveness allows you to make your point clearly heard; or deter others from trying to overwhelm you, with their more aggressive manner.

What is the correct amount of assertiveness?

This scale measures the intensity of emotion, ranging from 0 for no intensity of emotion, being too timid or passive, all the way up to 100, which is full-on emotional intensity, too much assertiveness or aggressive communication. 50 represents "normal conversational tones" - which is the ideal operating level.

Assertiveness sliding scale

Develop the ability to communicate with the correct amount of assertiveness. That way you will not be afraid to express your opinion in a meeting and you will be able to withstand the pressure of the social bully, dominating a situation by using an aggressive manner.

By using the correct level of assertiveness, you will avoid the perils of becoming the overbearing, over-assertive, aggressive person in the meeting. The aggressive personality might win battles but will lose wars, because over-assertive people tend to repel and therefore fail to gain the co-operation they need to achieve their goals.

How to achieve the correct level of assertiveness

There are four elements to assertiveness:

1. Assertiveness is primarily a state of mind

Assertiveness is achieved by focusing your mind on the content of the conversation, not on the status, or personalities of the people in the conversation.

2. Assertiveness uses polite language

Know what you want in any given context. When you know what you want, you must ask for it. Don't make demands. State your desires as polite requests.

Don't swear. By swearing you will cross the line from assertive to aggressive.

Always stay polite and request others do the same, refusing to speak to anyone who gets aggressive or swears at you.

3. Assertiveness is a tone of voice

The assertive voice tone is slightly louder than normal; slower in its rate of delivery and delivered at the deeper end of your natural voice range. The aggressive voice is too loud, too fast, and too shrill. Timid is too quiet.

People judge your emotional state very much by the tone of your voice. You display your emotions very much by means of changes in voice tones. If you are feeling confident, or scared, then it shows in your voice.

Therefore, if you want to be confident and assertive, control your voice tones.

4. Assertiveness is a form of body language

Assertive body language is achieved by using good posture: a straight back, and not slouching or leaning. Look as if you are alert and your mind is active.

Pointing at people is not an assertive gesture. It is an aggressive, angry gesture. Do not point your finger, or pen, or use a fist gesture.

Give sufficient eye contact. Too much eye contact will make you look aggressive and intrusive. Too little eye contact will make you look weak. Give the other person the same amount of eye contact that he is giving to you. Match and mirror the intensity and duration and frequency of eye contact. That will make you look assertive.

Assertiveness training

Assertiveness skills are important to you in the workplace since you will have to deal with difficult people. Assertiveness is a form of communication that allows you to be able to stand your ground and make your point heard, and yet not come on too strong and trigger a negative emotional response in the mind of your listener.

A good assertiveness training course will be able to help you to tread the middle ground between being, "too meek" and being "too pushy". When mastering the art of assertive communication skills, you will learn:

1. The need for you to make a firm decision to change

If you don't commit to making a change your current methods of thinking, speaking, and acting, then additional time spent in training will be of no benefit to you. Decide to improve your performance and use the knowledge. You have heard the phrase; "knowledge is power". It is power, only if you use it.

2. The ability to be able to explain exactly what you want

Assertiveness means being able to express exactly what you want. That ability, in turn, depends upon you knowing what it is you do want and having the words to express what you want.

3. The ability to be able to give constructive criticism

At work and at home, you need to be able to give constructive criticism to others who are not doing what you want, or who are doing things that you don't want. You must learn to give criticism in a constructive, not destructive, way.

Assertive constructive criticism is objective, specific, non-emotionalised, well-timed and suggests a specific corrective action. Assertiveness training teaches, and allows you to practice, a method of providing objective, specific, non-emotionalised, well-timed and constructive criticism.

4. The ability to be able to take constructive criticism

In addition to being able to dish out criticism, you must be able to take it.
Many people who lack assertiveness are oversensitive to criticism. Some are too easily offended and come out fighting. Others are too easily offended and lose all their confidence.

You need to be able to absorb criticism and to analyse the feedback to check if it is justified. If someone criticises you, then you should at least, listen to it and analyse it. If you think the feedback is true, or partially true, then you should make a change. You should always judge criticism accurately and objectively, and react to it properly in an intelligent, logical, non-emotional manner.

5. The ability to be able to give (and take) praise and appreciation

In addition to being able to take criticism, you must be able to take compliments and praise. Many people who lack assertiveness skills, also lack self-esteem and self-confidence and they feel uncomfortable with accepting praise. Some people are suspicious of praise. It is important to be able to accept praise. The best way to accept praise is simply to say: "Thank you".

In addition, it is important to be able to give praise and appreciation for the achievements and hard work of others. Praise should be timely, specific, clear and not exaggerated.

Our assertiveness training course will teach you all the above ways to become more assertive.

About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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  • How assertive are you?
    You need to develop the ability to communicate with the correct amount of assertiveness. This will enable you to express your opinion in meetings, or be able to withstand the pressure of a social bully.
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