Being assertive isn't the same as being aggressive.

3 ways to improve your assertive communication skills


Being assertive is not easy. Whether it’s a fear of expressing my wants and opinions or my concern about coming off as aggressive. Assertiveness is a communication skill that I think is too often passed over as unimportant. It shouldn’t be – being overly passive can lead us down a path to resentment and unfulfillment in your job.

I have learned how I can be more assertive and improve my assertiveness in my commmunication. Here’s how you can too.

Realise the value of you and your contributions

Sometimes we aren’t assertive because we don’t have confidence in what we have to share.

We need to learn two things. The first is that our opinion and thoughts are worthwhile – we wouldn’t be in the position we are in if the person that hired us didn’t value our perspective. Second, the most confident and boisterous person in the room isn’t necessarily the one with the best opinion. Just because one person speaks up all the time, doesn’t mean they’re right. I can’t emphasise this enough – don’t let others make you think any less of your own point of view.

The person that speaks up the most isn't necessarily the one with the best opinion.The person that speaks up the most isn’t necessarily the one with the best opinion.

Be prepared to say ‘no’

Part of communicating assertively is being honest with both yourself and the person you’re engaging with. What that means is sometimes you’re going to have to say no to requests – you have too much other work, you’ve got to run to a meeting, or you simply don’t want to do what’s been asked of you.

Sure, sometimes you’ll take something on as a favour or because you want to help the team, but there’s no need for this to be the case with every single thing people come to you with. There’s no need to feel guilty for saying no. Do you feel like this is quite the challenge to learn? Join us in our ICML’s assertiveness training course.

Accept that people don’t always agree

When you accept that some level of conflict, disagreement or debate is inevitable (and in my mind, actually healthy), you’ll realise that just going with the flow is doing a disservice to your job and your company. Groupthink is a dangerous habit for a team to fall into – don’t think you should be passive and keep your mouth shut just to avoid causing conflict.

If you’d like to learn more about ICML’s assertiveness training offerings, get in touch with a member of the team today.

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