You need to learn Assertiveness techniques if you want to master the Assertive communication. It is as simple as that. People with an assertive way of thinking know that they have rights, but at the same time, they realize that other people also have the right to do so.
Assertiveness with Assertiveness techniques is the ability to convey your thoughts, opinions, needs, and feelings in a direct, frank, and proper manner. This means to assert their rights and not to offend the sensibilities of other people and not to deny their rights. When you are assertive, you take control of your life completely.
Around other people, we choose one of three styles of behavior: passive, aggressive, or assertive.
People with a passive style tend to put other people’s priorities and needs above their own. They do not believe that they are worthy of defending their rights and feel inferior.
Passive people think that being assertive is too hard, while their style opens up new horizons for them. They feel (usually subconsciously) that they are weak, incompetent, and therefore do not dare to make any decisions in their life.
People choose a passive style of behaviour when they consider that it is better not to enter and not to provoke conflicts, although such a strategy rarely works. They are not respected; they are treated with pity. All this, in combination, leads to a drop in self-esteem, depression, stress, and victim syndrome.
Body language of passive people:
- Avoid eye contact.
- Shift from one foot to the other.
- Hold the body while talking.
People with aggressive behaviors seek enemies around them, enter into conflicts, and assert their rights in an overly harsh manner. Aggression infringes on the rights of others. They tend to compete with people and every day to prove their worth as individuals. They beat out respect and self-interest from others.
This style of behavior is outdated and does not work even where it flourished – in business. These people are rude, ignorant, and have low communication skills. They are not able to build relationships based on love and respect, but mainly on fear.
Body language of aggressive people:
- Point with a finger at the interlocutor.
- Scream or raise your voice.
- Clench your fists.
- Too lean over towards the other person and look into his eyes for a long time.
Assertive people make contact with the feelings and emotions of other people and, therefore, can criticize, ask, or even complain delicately.
They are flexible; therefore, each situation is considered individually, in contrast to aggressive people. They are respected and appreciated, and they are in full control of their lives.
Even though their own thoughts and feelings might be difficult, they maintain to have mental and emotional space for both the other and themselves. That seems to be the key here.
Body language of assertive people:
- Stand straight and steady, face to face to the other person.
- Maintain unobtrusive eye contact.
- Speak confidently and clearly – loudly enough for everyone to hear their words.
- Speak fluently, without hesitation and with confidence in the voice.
To develop an assertive style of behavior, here are the Assertiveness techniques that you have to follow.
1. Set inspiring goals
This is one of the first Assertiveness techniques that we have totake care of. Now that you have realized the importance of assertiveness, it is essential to identify the areas of life that are most significant for you in which you can apply a new style of behaviour.
Identify the situations that you find most challenging. When do you need to be assertive? State them clearly. For example: “I would like my friend/colleague not to be late for meetings and appreciate my time. “Maybe you feel you already have this box ‘checked’. In that case: look again at the question. In what field of your life, would you benefit from more assertive behaviour?
Start with the most straightforward goals, then move on to the tricky ones.
2. Breath in your Rights
Let’s be honest, what comes in your mind while thinking of Assertiveness techniques? You may have to consult the definition for that.
The following list of rights is essential to you as well as to other people. The list items are not exhaustive. You can add to it.
I have the right to
- refuse to solve the problems of other people.
- change my mind.
- make mistakes.
- say, “I do not know.”
- make my own decision.
- say, “I do not understand.”
- say no.
- be joyful or sad.
- set my priorities.
- take the initiative.
Be careful with this list, because your passive style of behavior (if you have one) can quickly become aggressive. People love extremes. As we noticed, in a bold form of action, there are no advantages, not even from a passive one.
Also, remember that all your actions are based on the subtle arts of living. For example, if you decide that you have the right to change your mind, then apologize to the person who was given the word to spend the evening with him. Your right to refuse something does not mean that you are now becoming an irresponsible person. And if you decide that you have the right to make mistakes, this does not mean that you should not draw conclusions and do not bear responsibility for them.
You have the right to say no, but everything depends entirely on the situation. You are never obliged to do anything what so ever. Yet, your responsibility in a relationship differs per context. Maybe you decide not to buy something in a store after a consultant spent his time and energy in a dialogue with you. Then your ‘no’ is assertively accommodated by different behaviour compared to the situation you decide not to visit your father’s birthday party. Either way your ‘no’ is ok. Assertiveness is about owning that right within the relationship, instead of off doing it harm with your answer or choice.
3. Reflect on the experience of your personal rights
Using the list above, write down a statement that conveys your most valuable rights.
Go back to setting your goals and apply your statement. For instance:
- Goal 1: __. What are my rights in this situation? Do I feel like my rights are violated? If so, how come? What is my share in that feeling? And, with what behaviour can I reclaim my sense of having that right? (Because essentially it can not be taking away from you.)
Answer these questions for all of your goals.
4. Using Assertiveness techniques or strategies
Assertiveness is a skill that can be developed if Assertiveness techniques put into practice every day. Here are some of them:Broken record. Be persistent and repeat again and again what you want. Learn to do so without annoyance or raising your voice. Stick to your point of view and stay in contact with the other. This is a life-skill.
Free information. Learn to listen to the interlocutor and read the free information that he gives you. It will allow you to make arguments, referring to phrases expressed by your interlocutor.
Disclosure of Information. Assertively disclose information about you – about what you think, feel, and how you think about the information that comes from the interlocutor. To communicate that in a non-violent way is essential.
This technique will help cope with incoming criticism. Do not deny criticism and do not counterattack. Blackout is like stopping. It is not freezing. Moreover, it is to hold off any actions for a moment, and ‘be’ and ‘let be’ whatever happens for a while. By the time you will find reality inside and out is helping you there.
- I agree with the truth. Find in criticism of what is right and agree with this particular part. There is no point in denying reality. Never. Always accept it. Only after that any other desired direction can be of any meaning.
- I agree that there is a misunderstanding. Identify the possible truth in an explanatory statement and agree to this. However – do not stop there. This has to do with the connective powers of criticism. We run (free at the time of writing this) Mastery Classes on the power of criticism within the Black Sheep Community and you are welcome to be part of them.
- Agree in principle. Say: “It makes sense.” This should be your basic attitude, because it allows for a better connection with reality. If your default responses to life’s happenings are cynical or basic refuting and discard, that causes a lot of unnecessary sufferings.
- Deny wrong conclusions. Assertively operate on inaccuracies and logical errors. This is possible when the relationship is good. Are you worried about the relationship? Or doubt whether it could stand your remarks? Remember that expressing them in the right way improves the relationship. And, moreover, connections that cannot bear truth are not worth worrying about or keeping. So your only and best option is to improve your connection.
5. Using Assertiveness techniques to say No
In the life of every person, there are situations where it is necessary to say no. If you do not learn to do this, then after some time, there will come a realization that not a single goal has been achieved, and that priorities have been violated. Remember that you have the right to say no, but do so delicately and respectfully.
Moreover, doing this effectively, you will find so much meaning in your conversations and you will manage your daily life with more love and strength every day. Yes, that is a big claim. And I would be willing to teach you more about the principle behind this. First, there are some concrete strategies here:
Use an assertive body language
Remember that self-confidence and the perception of your confidence as an interlocutor depends on your body language. Manipulators always apply their methods to a person who is considered indecisive. Even when it is done unconsciously. Make direct eye contact, keep your head straight, straighten your shoulders, relax your arms, speak confidently and calmly.
Determine your position before you say something
If you don’t know what your answer will be, you simply don’t have it. Decide what and how exactly you mean it. Do not use your turn to talk, to think. To think out loud is not a way of saying no. (It either is a way to hide or an activity for a different context.)
Wait for the request
Some people agree to action even before a request has been voiced. This is very convenient for the interlocutor because he does not feel any duty to reciprocate to you in any way. In the end, he has not asked for anything. You volunteered yourself. And this weakens both the relationship as the ‘goodness’ of the deed. The more implicit the give-take-balance is, the more it runs the risk of causes unhealthy relationships.
Find the exact wording
Think about how and what you say. Be accurate in your answer so that the person you are talking to does not have any doubts whether you are willing to fulfil his request. Your wording should not be long and ornate. Hiding in words, nor in silence has never truly helped any one.
Do not apologize if this is not necessary. An apology often puts you in a debtor position. This example is commonly used in sales. Moreover, an untruthful apology within a human connection always pays the price of loss of autonomy for all. If you feel that you are being manipulated, do not apologize.
Do not defend yourself if this is not necessary
Do not say why you do not want to fulfil the request; otherwise, the interlocutor will have the opportunity to manipulate your words. Feel the power of your silence after your ‘no’. (And it provides you with the opportunity to actually see whether the damage you feared is as bad as you thought it would be. You can then ‘open-up’, so to speak.)
Do not ask permission to say no
“You are not opposed if I refuse your offer” is another phrase that puts you in the position of a debtor. You decide. Not reality. Nor the other person. Yes, no needs to be expressed carefully in order to make your life-force stronger. (We run the course ‘Connective powers of criticism’ within the Black Sheep Community, free in times of writing. Join it, when this all speaks to you.)
Strengthen your position
Do not think that a person after refusal will not ask you for service again after some time. Let him know (if that is the case) that in the future you will reconsider or refuse the request again. Also, inform him whether you would like him to take initiative to do so, or you will do that yourself. All ‘moves’ like that strengthen your position.
This strategy is ideal for this case of saying ‘no’. Repeat the same phrase without changing any words in it. This works even better when you manage to do so without raising your voice or expressing any kind of annoyance or shy-ness.
Do not wait for approval
You should not convince the other person to accept your refusal. It is not up to him. You decide. Autonomy is an action available to all, not a quality some happen to have and others don’t. Otherwise, you will again fall into the position of the debtor. And giving in once more already creates the beginning of the next situation.
Accept the consequences
You have the right to say no, and the other person has the right to treat your refusal as he sees fit. There may be unpleasant consequences, but come to terms with this since you have already made a decision. Autonomy brings a lot more than an apparently nice moment that actually contains more lies and unhappiness. You should choose truth with a little discomfort overlies with simply fake-smiles.
Learn Assertiveness techniques with Black Sheep Community
If you have read the article until now, you are extremely interested in learning assertive communication. The Black Sheep community is the right platform to get started. And this is not it. At Black Sheep you will meet with the future though leaders who are usually known as the black sheep of the society. Don’t you like to talk to the like-minded people across the globe? Contact Now.