How to Become More Assertive

Dr. Purushothaman
September 30, 2013

Being assertive does not mean you are learning to become aggressive, loud or a bully. It is all about helping you to stand up to people who are like this. It's not a matter of trying to dominate others. It is a matter of resisting those who are out to dominate and manipulate you. It is all about resisting manipulation and being able to cope with criticism. So how do you exactly go about improving it?

The concept of being assertive is about seeing yourself as an equal who has certain rights. Also it involves respecting the fact that the people you deal with on a daily basis have the same rights as you do. So what exactly are these rights? They involve having the right to say no and the right to change your mind as well as the right to make mistakes. They involve having the right to express feeling and opinions as well as the right to disagree and put forward an alternative interpretation.

What many people don't realise is that being assertive is not a personality trait; it is something that is learned. The behaviour of being assertive is our ability to state our wants and feelings openly as well as respecting the wants and feelings of those we are talking to, even if these wants and feeling differ from our own.

Assertiveness training

The idea behind learning to be more assertive came around the time when women's liberation was really starting to take off. It started originally in the US when women started to go on courses about it to learn how to be more confident in male dominated workplaces.

In our day and age this trait is taught by many experts in personal development. It is now considered to be an important communication skill so how do you exactly go about improving it?

There are several techniques that can help you in this field. One of these techniques is known as broken record, which is used when you are trying to get someone do to something you have asked them to. It involves repeating a request over and over again until the outcome is what you want it to be. It involves asking calmly and politely while blocking attempts of distraction or changing of the subject.

Another training technique that is used is known as fogging. So what does this involve? Believe it or not a lot of us probably already carry out this technique, even if we don't consider ourselves to be assertive in the slightest. It is especially carried out by people who work in jobs that involve a lot of contact with the general public. The way that this technique is carried out is training yourself to stay calm within the face of criticism and taking on board anything that may be critical but fair. If you train yourself to refuse to be provoked and hurt by criticism you receive then you remove the destructive power that the words can cause. It requires you to have a certain level of control but the outcome is very effective.

Lastly, another technique is called negative assertion. This basically means you are accepting and agreeing with some parts of the criticism; you are taking on board aspects that are valid. You are however doing this without allowing yourself to become consumed by guilt or self-loathing. This is one way that you could go about using this technique, another way is to own up to your mistakes before anyone says anything to you. This demonstrates that you admit the problem and accept responsibility.

The above are some of the most effective ways that you can train to become more assertive. Anyone who is looking into becoming more assertive should seek help or a training course as this will allow them to take on board aspects such as the above and then apply such techniques to their everyday lives.

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