Our final installment of our mini communication series is Assertiveness.
We will be talking about what it is to be assertive, the benefits of becoming more assertive, and techniques to try to build up your assertive skills.
I think most of you will be able to recall a time(s) when you have been in conversation with someone and they have remarked something that might have offended or trouble you. Left you with feelings of inadequacy or anger, and even feeling personally attacked. It is possible you played it down but indirectly you were communicating your resentment or negative feelings. Or perhaps you reacted inappropriately, with a raised voice or outburst.
Expressing calmly about how you feel in a situation without placing blame, raising your voice or loosing control can be hard if you lack assertive skills. You may fear judgement from others should you voice your opinions, feelings and thoughts. You may feel like you lack the right to express yourself following a situation, or even fear confrontation with the other person(s) involved. But when we positively express our thoughts and feelings we start to move forward, set boundaries, and become more relatable to others. We increase confidence, let go of resentment, and become more at ease with both ourself and others. Your life can start to move in a new positive direction by opening up your inner voice to communicate your needs and bringing about a sense of self-awareness, which is turn can boast a wealth of benefits into your life.
What Does It Mean To Be Assertive?
Assertive People possess the ability to remain calm and collected.
They stand up for themselves and other peoples rights, without raising their voice or becoming confrontational, explosive or aggressive.
They can listen to others thoughts, feelings, beliefs and needs without judgement, even if it is against what they think, feel or believe themselves. They never manipulate information to intentionally hurt or wound others, instead they are respectful and acknowledge other peoples feelings, as they do their own.
They possess a huge understanding of empathy and can look at a situation, thought or feeling from other peoples perspective.
They can act on others best interests, and can comfortably express opinions without stepping on anyones toes.
They have control over their emotions, reactions and responses, and they never force blame on others when they are at fault. Instead, they acknowledge mistakes by taking responsibility and apologising appropriately.
They also acknowledge others and shower gratitude, praise and appreciation to those around them.
These are skills that we developed and acquired over time, it isn't something that we were born with, but it is never too late to become more assertive!
Techniques To Become More Assertive
The Stuck Record Technique:
1. Repeat what you want, without raising your tone of voice. Do not become angry or irritated. Keep sticking to your end goal of what you want but continue to remain calm and collected.
For example: You bought a new dress, but the buttons fell off after the first wash, you are still within the 28 days, you take it back to the shop.
You - "Hi there, I bought this dress a few days ago but the buttons fell off, I would like a refund please."
Teller - "This dress has been washed, we cannot accept the return."
You - "I bought this dress a few days ago, and the buttons came off after the first wash, as it is faulty I would like a refund please."
Teller - "I am sorry but this has been washed."
You - "Unfortunately this dress was only worn once and washed on its own. The buttons were missing after it's first wash and as the dress is faulty I would like a refund please."
And so it continues.
The Fogging Technique:
2. If someone is acting aggressive or angry towards you, acknowledge and accept other peoples feelings especially if you have made a mistake, this will defuse the situation. Remember to stay calm and collected and do not become flustered or agitated.
For example: You were supposed to meet your best friend for lunch but arrived an hour late. Your friend was left waiting alone, and has become agitated as she had canceled plans to meet you.
Your Friend - "Where have you been you are over and hour late and I cancelled plans to be here!"
You - "I apologise for being so late, I fully appreciate you waiting and still meeting with me. I understand that you had arranged other plans to be here".
Your Friend - "You could have called me?!"
You - "I acknowledge a phone call would have allowed you to pick up those previous plans and continue to meet with me afterwards."
Positive And Negative Enquiry Technique
3. The aim is to find out more about the compliment, praise or criticism and agree with it and gather information on their thoughts.
For Example: A positive enquiry would be if your colleague just complimented you on your report.
Your colleague - "Wonderful report!"
You - "Thank you, was there a particular areas you enjoyed?"
Your colleague - "Yes, it was very clear, understandable and gave a lot of insight."
You - "That is wonderful thank you, I took a lot of time on it, I am glad you enjoyed it."
For Example: A negative enquiry would be if you sent an email to a colleague and it was badly written.
Your Colleague - "You sent me an email but the grammar was awful and it contained no relevant information, I could have written it better myself!"
You - "I agree the grammar was poor, could you give me an idea of what information was missing so I can correct it?"
So, that is all from our communication mini-series, next week we will be back to our normal installments!
Happy self-care Sunday everyone!