Today I will be talking about how to be more assertive and 7 ways to be a confident communicator. But first, what does being assertive really mean? It is having or showing a confident or forceful personality. More specifically though, being assertive is having confidence in yourself, your values, your worth, your boundaries, and being able to communicate them effectively. Clear and confident communication is an important aspect of healthy personal and work relationships. Many people find it hard to stand their metaphorical ground and may bend to please others, therefore, damaging the person and their relationships! This can lead to low self-esteem, violation of your boundaries, being anxious, and even depression!
On the other hand, assertive individuals are known to be more even-tempered, self-assured, confident, and relaxed. Learning how to identify, enforce, and vocalize your boundaries can be an uncomfortable task to do but it is necessary. Knowing your self-worth, being confident, and practicing effective communication are all essential components in being an assertive person. I will be taking you through 10 easy steps to instantly bridge the gap between your idealized version of yourself to the real you.
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So let's get into it!
1. Learn to articulate
As I've said in my previous post on how to be articulate, whether it be job interviews, a presentation, or meeting someone new, we all want to make that great impression! Our ability to communicate effectively and clearly is super important. Being able to clearly convey ideas, paint a picture, tell a story, and use complex words correctly is not a skill to be overlooked! Unfortunately, not all of us are naturally blessed with the gift of being a captivating orator but thankfully it is something you can work on.
How you say things is just as important as what you say! Here are the main areas you'll want to focus on for improving your speech.
- Monitor your speed
- Volume and pitch
2. Be more confident
Be more confident! If you lack assertion, you need to learn to be confident in yourself, your abilities, and your boundaries. When it comes to being a confident person, you have to fake it 'til you make it! Make sure your posture is good, you're making sufficient eye contact, you're articulating your words, and you are relaxed! If you make it a priority to always look confident even when you're not, it will become natural to you!
As seen in this interview with Rihanna,
Interviewer: What do you do on those days where you don't feel that confident, or fearless, or powerful?
Interviewer: Fake it?
Rihanna: Yeah. I mean why not? It's either that or cry myself to sleep and who wants to do that? You will wake up with puffy eyes the next day- that's a waste of tears.
Although a short exchange, these statements hold so much truth! If you don't feel confident or powerful, you don't want to wallow in these feelings. Fake it, because what is the alternative?
3. Know your boundaries
Knowing what you are comfortable with, your boundaries, and your non-negotiables is a necessity in having healthy and equitable relationships from personal relations to work! If you're not sure what you're willing to do or not do, you will often find yourself feeling violated, overextending yourself, and feeling stressed and unheard. Nobody is a mind reader and some people will ignore social context and nonverbal cues so you need to learn to stick up for yourself! For example, if you don't like it when your boss makes you do things outside your actual job responsibilities, you need to speak up and know where you draw the line. Many people will take advantage of someone's good nature and uncertainty and use it to their advantage.
Identify where you feel like you are being taken advantage of or having your boundaries violated. Then identify what your negotiables and non-negotiables are and then... enforce them! You will feel less guilty when you know concretely what you will and will not do.
4. Speak directly
Speaking directly and clearly without taking "the long way" to make your point is the best way to communicate assertively. This doesn't mean to start demanding things and not providing context but try to find the balance between being extremely nuanced but very direct.
Example: A friend asks to borrow your lawnmower. You need this each weekend.
Passive communication: I don’t know, I guess it's ok. When do you need it?
Assertive communication: I need the mower at the weekends but you could borrow it during the week.
Aggressive communication: No! Don’t be stupid. Get one of your own.
5. Learn to say no
Believe it or not, learning how to say no may be a more difficult task than it appears. If you grew up being taught to always be super nice and helpful, you may not have learned when to say no to extravagant favours and huge asks. You can't be at the will of everyone's need! You are worthy of your decisions to turn down favours and still remain a good person.
6. Keep emotions in check
When learning to be assertive, you will also need to learn to keep your emotions in check. Don't let embarrassment, anger, or sadness prevent you from communicating your feelings, wants, and boundaries effectively. It is easy to let anger and aggression not seep into assertion but you must realize that assertive communication should not come from a place of anger but a place of confident communication!
7. Practice makes perfect
You can't expect to read one blog post on assertive communication and then magically be an expert! Practice, practice, practice!
Would you consider yourself assertive, passive, or aggressive? Let me know in the comments below!
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