Top Advantages of Assertiveness in Communication

Assertiveness is the quality of behaving confidently and being able to say whatever one wants or believes, in a direct manner. It means standing up for your own beliefs, expressing your feelings and views in an open, honest and direct manner. Assertiveness also relates to respecting the thoughts and feelings of other people, while giving importance to one’s own. Assertiveness is an effective and diplomatic communication style which offers many benefits. It is a skill regularly mentioned and taught in social and communication skills training. Being assertive is a core communication skill which involves respect for the boundaries of oneself and others. Thus, in this article we are going to discuss about assertiveness in communication.

The Concept of Assertiveness in Communication

Assertiveness is a very useful communication tool. It is not always appropriate to be assertive in all situations as its sudden use may be perceived as an act of aggression by others. Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative feelings in an open honest and direct way. It recognizes our opinions while still respecting the views of others.

An assertive person takes responsibility for his actions without blaming or judging other people. It helps in finding mutually satisfying solutions wherever conflict exists. Assertive communication is the balance between aggressive and passive styles of communication. We should all aim for assertive communication, as it is the best of both worlds – you meet your personal needs and the needs of the other person as well.

All of us use assertive behavior at times. When we feel vulnerable or unsure of ourselves, we may opt for manipulative or aggressive behavior. Yet being trained in assertive communication increases the proper use of this sort of behavior. It helps us to switch old behavior patterns for a more positive approach to life. Changing response to others can be exciting and stimulating. We should learn to be assertive in our communication and should say exactly what we want, in a respectful manner, within hurting anyone.

Characteristics of Assertiveness in Communication

Assertiveness in communication possesses a number of features and characteristics. Listed below are some characteristics of assertiveness in communication are –

  • Eye contact – Proper eye contact shows interest and sincerity. Assertiveness requires making regular eye contact while maintaining a positive facial expression.
  • Body posture – Correct body language will improve the significance of the message. Act confident even if you are not feeling it. Keep your posture open and relaxed.
  • Gestures – Suitable gestures help in adding emphasis. Be sure that your facial expressions agree with the message.
  • Voice – Assertive behavior means not showing hesitation through your voice, keeping it friendly and relaxed. A well – balanced tone is more convincing and acceptable, and is not aggressive. Work on remaining calm and keep your voice even and firm.
  • Content – When, where and how choose to comment is sometimes more important than what you say. Assertive communication is direct and respectful. Being assertive gives you the chance of delivering your message successfully. If you communicate in an aggressive manner, your message may get lost.

Advantages of Assertiveness in communication

Being assertive while communicating has several advantages. Some of these advantages are as follows

  • Improves communication – Assertiveness leads to the development of mutual understanding with each other. If you communicate in an assertive way, you can accomplish your goal through interaction and also leave the other person satisfied.
  • Assertiveness boosts self – esteem – “Self – esteem” is how we value ourselves. It affects every part of our lives. Assertiveness is very important for a healthy self – esteem and overall well being. Having low self – esteem makes it hard to be assertive. One is afraid of speaking up for himself and his may make him feel sad, depressed or angry. Low self-esteem leads to negative feelings while positive behavior can contribute to higher levels of self-esteem. A person can learn to be assertive through practice and persistence.
  • Less stress – Aggressive communication is stressful as one of the people involved might end up feeling humiliated. With assertive communication you acknowledge the other person’s feelings, while sharing yours and trying to find the best solution for the situation. Being assertive in communication makes a person less stressful.
  • Assertiveness enables us to make decisions – An assertive person stands up for his views and doesn’t bother much what others have to say. He is usually a confident person who has his own beliefs and values. People can never take advantage of him as he has a persistent behavior.
  • Creates honest relationships – Being assertive in relationships can be a little difficult but it is not impossible. By expressing your own beliefs and opinions, you can become more assertive in all types of relationships. Assertiveness helps in developing trust and equality in relationships.

Techniques for Assertiveness in Communication

Based on their life experiences, people develop different styles of communication. They tend to stick to the same communication style over time. But if a person wants to change this style, he can learn to communicate in more effective ways.

Listed below are some ways to become more assertive –

  • Behavior practice – This is rehearsing how to look and sound. It is a very useful technique as it helps dump any emotion associated with an experience and allows you to identify the behavior you wish to confront. Understand your communication style before you begin to make changes. Learn to be assertive in more and more situations.
  • Repeated assertion – This assertiveness technique allows you to feel comfortable by ignoring irrelevant logic while sticking to your point. To use this technique in an effective way, say what you want to in a calm manner and stay focused on the issue. Eventually, you will find that there is no need to rehearse this technique.
  • Fogging – The fogging technique allows a person to receive criticism comfortably, without getting anxious and rewarding cunning criticism. To do this, one has to agree that there may be some truth to what they say but remain the judge of your choice of action.
  • Negative assertion – This is a technique that lets a person look more comfortably at his negative behavior without feeling anxious. You should accept your errors or faults, but not apologize. Instead, one should agree with hostile criticism of one’s negative qualities.
  • Workable compromise – Consider a workable compromise with the other person, when you feel that your self-respect is not in question. However, if the end result involves a matter of your self- worth and self-respect, then there should not be any compromise.
  • Practice saying “no”- Do not hesitate to say “no”, if you are having a hard time turning down requests. You have to let go of the need to please everyone and do things according to what they expect. Assertive communication is rejecting things you decide are not good for you, but also explaining firmly why you rejected them.

Assertiveness in communication is a very beneficial tool. There is no guarantee of success, even when assertive communication styles are used appropriately. Nothing can stop the individual with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal.

Assertive communication is the ability to effectively communicate, without bothering much what others might think. It is thus managing the talk in a way that it does not hurt others and at the same time also maintaining your individuality. If you are not an assertive person, you can rehearse inculcating this behavior, and which is always possible with time, circumstances and some behavioral changes. Learning assertiveness so that it comes naturally can take years of practice, but it makes a person confident.