Assertiveness and its importance
17 April 2019
To be assertive is to have the ability to get your message across in a self-assured and confident way without being aggressive.
For a business owner, it’s important to be assertive so that you can express your thoughts, feelings and direction effectively. Increasing your assertiveness will, without a doubt, help both you and your business on the road to success.
Assertiveness is a vital communication tool to help reduce conflict, build confidence and improve relationships and effectiveness within the working environment. There are many ways that you train yourself to be more assertive – here are a few tips that can help:
- Be assertive, not aggressive
Although being assertive means taking control and having an impact on others, it does not mean being aggressive in your approach. Aggressiveness is unlikely to get the results you hope for and typically causes team members to become defensive and therefore ineffective.On the other hand, be conscious not to be too passive as this will become equally as ineffective. You need a good balance between these two behaviours as this will allow you to have the confidence in yourself, whilst understanding other people’s views. This will lead to you achieving your goals.
- Be clear and direct
Giving a vague direction to your team, or an unclear answer to a question can give the impression of insecurity or submissiveness, which are not great traits for business owners or managers to display.
- Learn to say no
Many people find it hard to say no. It’s important to set limits and stay in control of each situation, even if it means someone else might be disappointed. To say no in the right way, follow this sequence:
- – Acknowledge the request and show that you have understood what has been asked of you and why.
- – Give a short (but not abrupt) reply that is clear and concise. You do not need to give an extensive justification.
- – There is no need to make apologies as long as your reason for saying no is reasonable.
- – Ask for more time if you need to consider your response – as long as you do not simply procrastinate to avoid making the decision.
- Body language and tone of voice
Only 7% of what we say get communicated effectively! The other 93% of all information received is via body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%). There is more to communicating assertively than just the words we use.
- – Eye contact is key for communication as looking people in the eye asserts strength and shows genuine interest. Of course, too much can come across as intense and intimidating, so getting the balance right is important.
- – Keeping a confident but calm tone allows you to get your message across clearly without coming across as aggressive. Avoid mumbling or speaking too softly as that will impact on the effectiveness of the message.
- – Avoid negative body language, such as crossed arms and hunched shoulders as these are signs of aggression. Make sure that you deliver your message with a relaxed and open posture.
Following these simple steps will help to increase your confidence and ensure you get your message across in an assertive, professional way.