Assertive people speak up and make themselves heard. They also get what they want in the workplace.
People who can’t seem to communicate in a confident manner can often be viewed as uncertain, weak and indecisive.
Some professionals may come across as aggressive, when trying to be assertive.
Here are some tips on how to be in the middle.
Choose the right time; if you’re rushing down the hall to a meeting and bump into Sarah. You call out “Can you have the potential training project out by Tuesday?” Because you haven’t scheduled a specific time to talk about the issue, Sarah has no reason to think your request has high priority. What you should say is “Sarah are you free this afternoon? I wanted to talk about the potential training project”
Choose the right place; discuss issues which may be important in a private, neutral location. By doing this you be free to talk openly about the issue without having to worry about people that aren’t involved hearing what you have to say about it. By choosing a neutral location, no one will feel intimidated, you both know the location so you will both be comfortable during the discussion.
Be direct. Assertive statement would be something like this “Sarah I would like you to work overtime on the potential training project” Even if Sarah doesn’t like your request, she will respect you for your directness. Be specific. Instead of “Put a rush on the project,” say, “I would like the potential training project finished and on Matts desk by 9:00 Wednesday morning.”
Use body language; “Sarah, I need that project Wednesday morning” This is an assertive statement. But if you mumble this whilst looking away from the person you will undermine your message. Even when the other person is talking, don’t start going through papers you may have in your hand, make sure you keep your concentration on the conversation. Always make sure to make eye contact, by doing this during a conversation you will show the other person that you have an interest in what they are saying, if you don’t make eye contact it may come across that you have no interest.
Stand up for yourself; you must insist on being treated fairly, don’t let others take advantage of you. If you become the person that doesn’t stand up for themselves, then people may see that as a weakness and take advantage of that. They may even carry on treating you unfairly, because they know they will get away with it. So don’t become an easy target! Some examples of standing up for yourself are… “ This steak is well done, but I asked for medium,” “Excuse me but I have a meeting to go to,” or “Can you please keep the noise down, I am trying to concentrate”
Express your opinions properly; if you disagree with someone, don’t just pretend to agree. Express your feelings and if someone asks you to do something unreasonable, then ask for an explanation. Doing this is important, because in a situation were someone may be about to do something that is wrong, if you agree because you haven’t expressed your opinion properly they wont think otherwise. You may almost be giving them permission to do it.
With these tips in mind you will be able to confidently communicate assertively without fear and without going overboard.
If you want to learn more about how to communicate assertively and confidently then take a look at our Communication & Assertiveness Training Courses.