Assertiveness Training – Developing Assertive Communication Skills

Acquiring both verbal and non-spoken assertiveness skills are an integral element of any assertiveness training course. Assertive communication involves expressing your opinions, ideas and emotions openly, while considering the feelings of others while doing so.

Often, we have a tendency to either be too passive in the manner that we convey ourselves (i.e. not asserting ourselves in the slightest degree) or take it to the other extreme by being too aggressive (i.e. expressing our feelings rudely and without thinking about others). Assertive communication is focused on achieving a comfortable middle ground between expressing our feelings and considering other people’s needs.

Increasing Verbal Assertiveness

The first thing you have to do is to identify if you are inclined to relate to others passively or aggressively. If you are a passive communicator, what you need to do first is obviously to voice out your true feelings. The trick is to keep it simple and be direct about the message that you would like to get across.

In contrast, if you have a tendency to be an aggressive communicator you’ll need to work on being receptive towards other people’s feelings when you communicate. I would personally recommend that you also obtain sincere feedback regarding your communication abilities from the people dear to you.

Here’s what you ought to be shooting for when it comes to verbal assertiveness:

– Ensure that your voice is resolute but relaxed
– Don’t speak too fast or slow and keep a moderate tone
– Make sure your statements are “I” focused, for instance, “I would like you to …” instead of “You need to …”
– If making a complaint, bring up the offence and the corresponding negative feelings rather than focusing on the one who made it happen
– When you’re deciding something, request other folk’s opinions and keep an open mind to their thoughts
– Make it obvious that you’re trying to find a mutually beneficial solution

Increasing Non-Spoken Assertive Communication Skills

To guarantee the effectiveness of your assertive communication, you have to support the verbal element with congruent gestures too. If you don’t, you’ll be giving mixed signals to people you are communicating with.

Here are a few ideas to guarantee congruency between your verbal and non-verbal communication:

– Keep eye contact in a non-threatening way
– Position your body towards the one you are talking to
– Appropriate facial expressions, e.g., smiling when you are pleased and frowning when you are upset

Naturally, you won’t be able to simply flick a switch and learn all these verbal and non-spoken assertiveness techniques instantaneously. It does take practice, and the best way to learn these freshly acquired abilities is with the help of the appropriate right assertiveness training exercises.
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