1. Social Skills: Seven Things Everyone Should Know
  2. The 30 most important things about effective communication everyone must know
  3. Nine Things You Should Know About Interpersonal Skills
  4. How To Overcome Your Shyness, The Ultimate Guide
  5. A Simple Guide To Introverts
  6. How You Can Overcome Social Anxiety
  7. 25+ Effective Networking Tactics To Improve Your Networking Skills
  8. How To Master The Basic Meet And Greet
  9. Master The Power Pose In Two Minutes
  10. The 20 All-Time Best Pieces Of Relationship Advice Ever
  11. How To Build Great Professional Relationships
  12. 30+ Techniques About Killing It With Public Speaking
  13. How To Give Impromptu Speeches
  14. How To Be A Smart/Witty Talker
  15. How To Speak And Influence People Like Barack Obama
  16. The 20 Best Tips For Speaking Better
  17. 100+ Useful Techniques For Great Small Talk
  18. Question Skills: How We Can Be Great At Asking Questions
  19. How To Give Feedback
  20. Active Listening Skills (How To Be A Great Listener)
  21. Presentation Skills: How To Give Great Presentations
  22. Rhetoric: Using Language Better To Communicate Effectively And Persuasively
  23. How To Be Assertive
  24. A Simple Guide To Understanding Body Language
  25. 15+ Tricks That Will Help You Catch People Lying
  26. 11 Really Useful NLP Techniques
  27. A Simple Guide To Emotional Intelligence
  28. Empathy
  29. How To Be Charismatic
  30. How To Develop Presence
  31. How To Be Charming, Likeable, And Interesting
  32. Personality Development: How You Can Improve Your Personality
  33. 20+ Tips On Handling Difficult People
  34. How To Run And Participate In Effective Meetings
  35. Teamwork Skills: How To Work In A Team Effectively
  36. How To Make (And Refute) Arguments
  37. How To Win An Argument
  38. How To Criticize
  39. Seven Simple Ways To Give Praise
  40. How To Complain
  41. Culture Smarts: Taking In Cultural Cues From Across The World
  42. How To (Really) Control Your Emotions
  43. Basics Of Phone Etiquette
  44. A Simple Guide To Non-Verbal Communication
  45. How to change people's minds: Use this 350-year old trick, now backed up by psychologists
  46. Infographic: Body Language Cues and Spotting Lies

How To Be Assertive

Macho does not prove mucho.

- Zsa Zsa Gabor


The most common way people give up power is by thinking they don't have any.

- Alice Walker


1. What does assertiveness mean?

Assertiveness is about 'being direct without being in-your-face'. Assertiveness is being able to express our feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions in an open manner that doesn’t violate the rights (and toes) of others. In other words, assertiveness is a cornerstone of the 'live and let live' philosophy. Assertiveness has nothing to do with aggressiveness (which is all about violating other people's rights and toes).


2. What does rights mean?

Here, rights mean more than personal rights or fundamental rights. In the workplace, you have rights as an employee and team member and you should calmly and strongly assert these rights whenever you need to.


3. Examples of assertive behavior (knowing you have as much right to do these as the next person)


Saying No, Giving compliments, Expressing your opinion, Asking for help, expressing anger, expressing affection, stating your rights and needs, giving criticism, being criticized, starting and keeping a conversation going, etc.


There is no need to be shy or reticent about any of the above activities.

Unassertive behavior can easily lead to low self esteem (not feeling worthy enough).


4. What is assertive communication?

Assertive communication happens when we respect others, recognizing the other person also has rights and views. Now that we know, 'no man is an island' (thank you, John Donne), we can all perhaps work together in solving problems/conflicts and move forwards.


5. Assertive vs passive behavior

Now we know that assertiveness is not about being aggressive. Consider assertive as the middle point of a scale, at one end of which is aggressive behavior, and at the other end is passive behavior.


Passive people avoid conflicts, basically avoiding 'any shaking of the tree'. They will readily agree to go where others are going, without giving their opinion on the matter. They will let things be dictated by other people/forces and ultimately, people start to take benefit of their behavior - taking things for granted, and even abuse of one's rights. If this goes on for long, feelings of stress/resentment/anger/victimized begins to eat us from inside. You see where we are going with this?


Before your passive behavior causes to get things out of control, it is time to slide towards the middle of the scale, towards assertiveness.


6. Assertive vs passive aggressive behavior

Passive aggressive behavior (a negative attitude) is passive behavior which, having gone unchecked for long, has made us cynical ('who cares?') or sarcastic ('Yes, master'). At this far end of the scale, our negative attitude will lead to souring of relationships and loss of respect from others. They won’t hate us as much as they do aggressive people, but they will resent us, for sure.


7. How can start being assertive?

Assertiveness starts with us knowing our rights and calmly using and expressing them. We have to stand for our point of view.


Assertiveness starts when we start to use 'I' statements, which lets others know what we're thinking in a calm and casual tone. Start saying, 'I disagree,' rather than, 'You're wrong' more often.


8. Positive aggression: It is when we use assertive behavior to get people to do things for us.


Three positive aggression techniques are:


- Broken Record

Say what you want over and over again, calmly, until the other person finally hears it - you can use this when someone keeps refusing to accept your instructions or persists in asking you to do something you do not want top do.


- Fogging

Use this to deal with manipulative criticism. Instead of being aggressive, you calmly acknowledge the likelihood that there may be some truth in the criticism. But remain in charge of yourself and the judgment about you. It allows you to receive criticism without being anxious or defensive.


You respond by agreeing with the person, wrapping up your agreement in constantly changing way:

- e.g. 'Yes, I agree, it’s awful, I got it so wrong.'


- Counter Behavior

We tend to mirror other people’s behavior, often, quite unconsciously. By becoming more aware of this, you can be more assertive and avoid aggression.


For example, if someone is acting aggressively towards you, pointing a finger, talking in a loud voice, waving their arms, rather than doing the same, you consciously choose to relax, breathe deeply, and talk in a calm manner.


Thank you for reading.
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