Assertiveness Skills for Success

Co-workers aggressively arm wrestling for dominance

Dr. Purushothaman
October 8, 2013

Assertiveness Skills for Success
By: Sandra Smith

Your ability to communicate well with others has a direct affect on how much joy and success you experience. In fact, your success in life is 85% dependent on your communications skills and only 15% on your technical skills. So, if you can't get along with people, if you can't speak up for what you want, you could be holding yourself back from the success you desire and deserve.

Being Assertive
In my communication seminars, I talk about being assertive. Assertiveness means you are centered, confident, and you treat others with mutual respect. Aggressiveness is to the extreme right of assertiveness. Here you believe you are more important that the other person and don't allow them to speak or express their point of view. Passiveness is to the extreme left of assertiveness. Here you believe that the other person is more important than you are and you choose not to speak up.

When to Speak Up
If it is time to for you speak up and you need to speak up, speak up! This means that you must say what you need to say when you need to say it because when you don't, you can lower your credibility and effectiveness.

Here's an example of what I mean. Your work group asks you to take over as lead of this year's holiday party. You know you can't take on this project because your family needs you. But, because you would feel too uncomfortable speaking up and telling them 'no', you say yes. Now, your valuable family time--which is already in short supply-- has been taken away and gone forever.

Why We Don't Speak Up
There are a couple of good reasons why people don't speak up when they should. Some people try to avoid conflict and confrontation, others were raised with the message that they must get along with others, and some people are just hardwired to be less assertive.

Action Steps
If you struggle with being assertive and speaking up, here is a simple layout, explanation, and example of how to speak up. I recommend you take this information and use it as a guide to create your own customized script.

• Use "I" statements: Drive the conversation by stating how you feel rather than you telling them what they are doing wrong.
Good Example: "I am concerned about an email I received."
Bad Example: "You wrote and sent me a horrible email!"

• Be direct: Get to the point; less is more. Also, ask for what you do want rather than asking for what you don't want.
Good Example: "I would appreciate it if next time we could discuss the challenges we are having in person."
Bad Example: "You left the meeting and walked down to Dave's office and then you sat at his computer and typed up this really mean email message and then you sent it to everyone in the office, which I think is really tacky."

• Be quiet: Say what you need to say then be quiet. Sometimes silence can make you uncomfortable. Here's a secret: silence is powerful.

© 2011 Life Is Fabulous. Publication rights are granted so long as the article and byline are reprinted intact, with all links made live.


Read Related Recent Articles