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How to be Assertive

Many people have asked me for techniques to communicate more assertively.

What does that mean?

Assertive does NOT mean being aggressive, or hurtful to others. Nor does it mean boasting or even dominating conversations/activities.

Assertiveness means to stand up for one's rights or authority - in other words, it means to ensure you get what is rightfully yours and that includes respect.

Once we define the term, it's easier to see it as a noble goal. After all, how can others respect us if we don't respect ourselves?

So how can we establish assertiveness? Let's pick 3 things you can implement today itself.

1. Word choice - Do you find yourself using words like "kind of", "maybe", "sort of" and the like? Qualifier terms like these dilute the power and effectiveness of the ideas we express.

2. Speaking simply and concisely - If there is a magic trick to being assertive it is using less words (and fewer syllables per word) to get the point across. Those words can also be more emphatic.

Try this on for size - you can either say, "that sounds like an idea that would be helpful", OR "that's an EXCELLENT idea, let's DO it!".

(The enthusiasm is corny but you get the point!)

3. Respectful pushback - It's ok to say "no" sometimes. Even the best of friends or family should find healthy room for disagreement. Don't agree to do things you're not comfortable with, don't agree to drop your idea if you truly believe in it. Fighting for our ideas - with love and respect, but also firmness - shows sincerity and vision.

To close - the people in our lives want what they want, we should be as willing to ask for what is fairly and reasonably due to us. That doesn't mean we don't compromise or work to find solutions, it just means people take our ideas more seriously, give us due credit and respect.

If you're willing to stand up for yourself and your ideas, chances are you'll stand up for other folks as well. And we need more of that.


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