Assertiveness is the quality of being positive and sure of oneself without being disruptive. According to Dorland’s medical dictionary, assertiveness is defined as a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration of a statement without the need of proof. This confirms the person’s rights or opinions without disrespecting the rights of another. Someone who is assertive expresses his views and beliefs clearly, so that people take notice. In life, you will encounter people who will force you to see their point of view and to do what they want you to do. If you do not agree with them, they become quite aggressive. To help one stay calm in difficult situations there are a number of assertiveness techniques which can be used to communicate effectively, to prevent the situation from getting worse. Thus, in this article we are going to discuss the various assertiveness techniques.
Assertiveness techniques are simple communication methods which one can implement easily whenever there is a potential for conflict. Though some people are naturally more assertive than others, but this does not mean that assertiveness skills can’t be learned. Working professionals need essential assertive skills that makes them more respected by those working with them. Assertiveness techniques help them to boost their communication abilities and thus become more confident and assertive.
Following are some of the most simple assertiveness techniques which can help in dealing with a majority of situations:
- Say ‘No’ – Though saying ‘no’ might seem to be the hardest word to say, but if you are not willing to do something, just say ‘no’. You might fear that your response is going to disappoint others but just like people have the right to ask you to do something, you too have the right to say ‘no’. Eventually, learning to say ‘no’ helps in avoiding conflicts and also reduces stress. Additionally, provide a valid rationale for saying no. This will help the other person understand the reason for you to say no and hence, it will not offend him or her.
- Fogging – The fogging technique is a way to accept manipulative criticism without letting it bring you down. Consider the criticism as a piece of rock thrown at you. Instead of throwing the rock back, be like the fog that envelopes the rock. This is a useful technique if people are behaving in an aggressive manner. Fogging aims to give a calm response. It is a simple technique used to slow down an unpleasant situation giving both parties space and thus preventing the situation from worsening. Fogging, if used in the right way, can be a delightful assertiveness technique. This technique is used when someone becomes aggressive towards you. It helps you to stay calm and disperse the situation.
- Personal Space – Nobody likes someone else to interfere in their space. The moment one realizes that his space is being invaded, it is very important to set boundaries there and then. This is the time to step back and give yourself more space. An important part of being assertive is not letting others encroach on your personal space and make you feel uncomfortable. Also, reciprocating the same gesture for others. Being assertive means recognizing your personal boundaries and taking control of your personal space.
- Value Oneself – To be assertive, it is very important to value oneself and gain an in-depth understanding of personal needs and emotions. A strong belief in one’s own inherent value will help an individual realize that he deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and shall not settle for anything less than he deserves. Self value or giving importance to oneself helps boost self confidence and stand up for your beliefs and opinions.
- Expressing needs and emotions – It is very important to learn to express one’s needs and feelings to avoid negative situations, so that people know beforehand how one is feeling. It requires being clear about one’s wants and needs, while taking into consideration the rights, needs and wants of others. Being assertive means describing the emotion in a cool manner, rather than displaying it with outbursts. Explaining your reason for behaving in a particular way, makes the description even more effective and rational.
- Confidence – Self – confidence helps one to recognize that he deserves to be treated with respect. It gives him the confidence to stand up for his rights and respect them. Self – confidence plays an important role in our everyday lives. It is very important in our personal and professional lives. It gives one the ability to stand up and face the challenges. An assertive person is confident in dealing with others. Self – confidence is a belief in one’s abilities. An assertive individual value himself, his time, his emotions and needs and at the same time he is respectful of the rights of others. Also, saying something confidently is enough to make an impression and convince others. Force or aggression is not required.
- Eye contact – Good eye contact makes the listener feel that you respect them and moreover it makes you look confident. Too much looking away will make you feel nervous. An assertive person holds his head erect while making eye contact. By looking directly at the person, even if you are anxious, will make you look confident.
Important of being assertive
Knowing when and how to be assertive can be really helpful in tough situations. If one is not assertive, he/ she may not be giving oneself enough value and thus putting others before oneself. If one lacks assertiveness, he/she always lives in fear of being judged. Even though they are right, they might not speak up, fearing that they might sound rude. Thus, it is very important to learn to be assertive in any situation to avoid stress and pressure.
Assertiveness is skill that can build your self – confidence, reduce conflict and improve relationships. There are times when one has to deal with difficult situations at workplace or in the family. People have different views on the same situation and such situations bother everyone. At this time, assertiveness techniques help in keeping calm and expressing one’s opinions in a reasonable and clear way.
Learning ways of being assertive has many benefits. A person feels more confident and more relaxed. One feels more better about himself and also has greater awareness of his own needs and how to meet them. One is able to create personal and professional goals rather than putting other people’s needs first. A person who is assertive is able to work effectively in partnership with others. Being assertive means having a strong sense of yourself and your value and standing up for yourself in the most difficult situations.
Over the time one can learn to be assertive by identifying his needs and wants, expressing them in a positive way and learning to say ‘ no’ when needed. Assertiveness techniques help a person to communicate his feelings and thoughts firmly and directly. Practicing these techniques regularly, help to build up the confidence and self – belief that is needed to become assertive. With time one becomes more efficient, productive and respected.
Assertiveness techniques help an individual give importance and put forth his own needs and emotions in an effective manner. Such techniques such as giving value to oneself and self confidence help a person to carry out effective communication and decision making. An assertive person is one who gives importance to oneself, while also understanding the needs and emotions of others. Hence, it is not only important to be assertive, but also to know the various techniques of carrying out assertiveness as and when required.