For many, being assertive is difficult and the reasons are varied. Maybe you don’t want to hurt feelings or come off as cocky and aggressive. Or it could be that you don’t have confidence in your own opinion and fear that others will prove you wrong if you speak up.
Assertiveness is about confidence. It’s about belief in yourself and your own judgment. Assertive is not aggressive, nor power-seeking, nor is it putting others down. Lack of assertiveness can sometimes turn into ugly aggressive behavior if you continually bottle up your true feelings and begin to feel unappreciated or unheard.
Sometimes all that is missing are the right words to help you speak up. Here are some tips that can help you be more assertive without coming off as arrogant or pushy:
- Make I statements. Say, “I recommend, I believe. I prefer.”
- Use open-ended questions to draw out others’ points of view.
- Need to delay reacting? Try phrases like, “Interesting.” “That deserves thought.” “I’ll get back to you later today.”
- Never blame others or finger-point. Take responsibility.
- Manage your nonverbal behavior – stand erect, use gestures, facial expressions and eye contact that demonstrate that you’re calm, steady and in control of yourself.
The goal of assertiveness is to say what is true for you, without behaving defensively or diminishing others.
For more advice on behaving assertively, check out “The Assertiveness Habit.” It offers great advice and more phrases that can help you be heard without fear of reprisal.