Essentially, there are three levels of communication. These are passive communication, assertive communication and aggressive communication.
At work you may find that you need to be more assertive. However you need to make sure you hit the right balance. You don’t want to be too aggressive (too strong) and you don’t want to be too passive (not strong enough).
If you are having trouble getting the balance right, then you may need to take the following steps.
Make firm decisions about what you want
In order to be assertive you need to have something to be assertive about! So, be sure that you have decided, in any situation, what is your outcome.
Ask and answer this question: What do you want to happen next?
Passive people are passive, because they tend not to be goal focused so they tend to drift with the tide, and go with the flow. Assertive people however know exactly what they want. So, to be assertive, think about what it is that you want.
Explain your ideas with a prepared message.
Prepare your message in advance. Don’t go into the meeting ill prepared. Assertive people are assertive because they already know what they are going to say (and NOT say). To be assertive, do the same things: figure out and decide what you will say and what you need to avoid saying.
Listen for the others message and critique it if necessary.
Assertive people listen carefully to other people and point out:
1. Contradictions in the other person’s argument
2. Flaws in their facts.
And suggest their own answers instead.
So, to be more assertive, be ready to critically analyse the opinions of others through the lens of your own intelligent observations. Don’t assume that “he must know”. Note that: Passive people tend to overestimate the intelligence of others and UNDER estimate their own intelligence.
Emphasise your voice and body language.
Passive people tend to speak too quietly.
Let your volume come up 10%, and you will make yourself and your ideas appear more assertive.
In terms of body language
Passive people tend to be passive in their use of body language: i.e. not much use of gestures and facial expression.
So, if you wish to be perceived as more assertive, reverse this trend and
1. Move more!
2. Use more hand and arm gestures
3. Use your facial expressions to greater advantage
If you are having trouble getting the assertiveness balance right, then take the following steps.
1. Make firm decisions about what you want.
2. Explain your ideas with a prepared message.
3. Listen for the others message and critique it if necessary.
4. Emphasise your voice and body language.
About the Author
Chris Farmer is a Management Training Consultant specialising in Time Management Training Courses. The courses provided by Corporate Coach Group have helped hundreds of managers become immediately more effective.