Life can be tough sometimes--which is why we need to be tough sometimes, too.
And, that’s the focus of this article: helping you to boost your assertiveness, so you can tick off your tasks, goals and dreams.
Now, I realize that it’s not always easy being assertive — especially if you’re used to being a people-pleaser. You might fear that if you act assertively, you’ll be regarded as a demanding and unkind individual.
But, as I’ll show you in the next few minutes, you can be both assertive and kind-hearted. And, most importantly, if you sincerely want to achieve your goals, then it’s essential that you call upon the power of assertiveness.
Why do I say that?
Because having an assertive nature will help you overcome obstacles and reach your goals quicker than you may have imagined possible. According to the Mayo Clinic, assertiveness is a core communication skill.((Mayo Clinic: Being assertive: Reduce stress, communicate better)) One that allows you to stand up for your beliefs and to express yourself effectively.
And, of course, there are other advantages to being assertive:
• You’ll earn other people’s respect
• You’ll boost your confidence and self-esteem
• You’ll create win-win situations
• You’ll gain more career satisfaction
• You’ll create open and honest relationships
At this point you may be asking: “How easy is it to become more assertive?”
Well, it will take some work on your part, but with a little effort, you can definitely become more assertive and more successful.
To help you get started, I’m going to share with you now some great ways of boosting your assertiveness.
1. Be Direct
The first suggestion I have for you is based on the classic “less is more” philosophy.
When it comes to being direct, you shouldn’t make accusations or cause the other person to feel guilty or wrong. And, there’s no need for long-winded explanations, which can be misleading or confusing for the recipient.
Instead, get straight to your point as soon as you can. Such as by saying: “I’m busy right now, so I can’t help you at the moment.”
2. Stay Calm
Another key component of being assertive is having the confidence to keep your emotions in check when you need to convey something to someone (I know this can be difficult sometimes).
The trick is to detach your emotions from the situation and think logically. This will help make it easier to come across as in control, and will inevitably gain a more respectful response from the other party.
3. Use "I" Statements
Make it a habit to say things like, "I feel " or "I believe." And, avoid phrases like "you never" or "you always,” which put people on the defense immediately and can lead to poor communication and shutdowns.
"I" statements make you come off more confident and don't trigger others to feel attacked.
In other words, state why you believe something — rather than criticizing the other party’s viewpoint.
4. Say "No" More Often
There is a great way to practice assertive behavior which only requires you to utter a 2-letter word… No!
By practicing saying no to things you cannot or don't want to do, you’ll be exercising your assertiveness in a simple but effective way.
These are the sort of lines you might use:
• No, I’m not happy taking on that work
• No, I don’t have time to do this
• No, I have more important things to do
• No, I’m on my lunch break right now
• No, I’m not interested!
5. Don't Apologize
Many people have the tendency to begin every potentially assertive statement with an apology. For example, "Sorry to bother you, but could you..." Or even simply, "Just following up..."
These come across as weak and passive — and certainly not assertive.
There’s a time and place for being apologetic (e.g., when you’ve accidentally knocked over someone’s drink!), but when it comes to being assertive, don’t let an apologetic tone get in the way of what you want to say.
6. Your Body Language Should Match Your Words
When was the last time you paid attention to your body language?
If it’s been a while, then I suggest you keep a close eye on it in the next few days — particularly when it comes to talking to someone in person.
To come across as confident and assertive, your body language needs to match your words. This means NOT slumping your shoulders and avoiding eye contact. Instead, it means standing tall and erect, and looking directly in the person's eyes.
This will serve two purposes:
• A) It will consciously and subconsciously impress the person that you have faith in what you’re saying
• B) It will make you feel strong, assured and confident
So now you have 6 great ways to boost your assertiveness.
But, knowledge is useless without action. Which is why I want you to start putting the tips and techniques into action in your life — right now!
Do this, and I guarantee that within a few weeks, you’ll notice you’ve become a stronger, more assertive and more dynamic person. And, with these enhanced traits, you’ll find that reaching and exceeding your goals will become second nature to you.