Please see our latest Guest Blog Post from Cascade Training & Coaching Ltd. You can follow Cascade Training on Twitter @CascadeTrainer or visit www.cascadetraininguk.com for more.
Why be assertive?
It can be a fine art to strike the right balance to communicate assertively at all times, particularly in the workplace, and so we can either come across as too timid, especially if we are unsure and wish to please others by readily accepting tasks, or we can veer into being overly assertive or aggressive, often when under extreme stress or when we feel threatened or insecure.
Whilst, in the short term, these behaviours may be of comfort, they will not give you the best results long term so it is extremely valuable to learn how to emulate assertive behaviour in order to consistently aim for win/win situations so that you and the people you interact with benefit.
Benefits to being more assertive
This can result in increased confidence, ability to negotiate and say no more easily to additional tasks to reduce workload and delegate more effectively. Being assertive can also help you to advance in your career, feel more energised, communicate clearly and gain greater respect.
Cascade’s Top 10 Tips to being more assertive:
1) Body – 55% of how we communicate is with our body language so have a straight spine, shoulders back & down, relaxed jaw, breathe deeply & evenly from the diaphragm, make appropriate eye contact
2) Speech – speak in a clear, even toned voice, at an appropriate volume for the room, watch your audience’s reaction to ensure they are reacting well to what you are saying
3) Hands – watch your hands as they reflect how you feel, especially when nervous or angry; clasp them together lightly relaxed in lap or held at waist height if standing, steeple fingers, open palm gestures
4) Message – have an aim in mind of what you want to say & achieve, keep calm, be clear, direct and stick to the point – what is the ultimate preferred outcome?
5) Listen – If you meet with objections, listen to the other persons point of view in full; observe their body language and tone of voice to understand more about what they are saying
6) Questions – Use open questions, what, where, who, when, with, how to encourage dialogue and probing questions, “in what way?”, “how do you mean?”, to get people to give you more detail
7) Respect – respect the other person’s point of view and model of the world – we all see, hear, think and feel things differently based on our core values, upbringing and beliefs
8) Focus – focus on what you want and make sure it is what you WANT and not what you want to avoid
9) Feedback – give yourself positive, constructive feedback to aid your development – Ask yourself: “What did I do well?” and “What could I do even better or differently next time to improve?”
10) Modelling – model assertive and confident people – think of people you know personally or famous people that you admire and copy their body language, tone or voice, way they interact, move and speak.
Above all, ACT AS IF you are confident and assertive as people will then start to treat you as if you are and therefore you will start to feel it on the inside.