This is why not only what we say is important, but how we say it. To control both your body language and your speech, first you have to be able to control how you think and react to things, especially conflicts.
The ability to defend your opinions or to say “no” to a demand that doesn’t seem reasonable to you is a key component of assertiveness.
Last week we got into the topic of assertive communication in part 1 of our round-up of assertive communication tips from self-development experts.
Today I’m delighted to present you with part 2 of this mini-series.
The question is the same, but the experts are different. For this post, we’ve selected productivity bloggers, business coaches and entrepreneurs that blog or coach people on leadership.
We asked them:
Heather Havenwood HeatherHavenwood.com
~ Heather is an international marketing and sales coach for Solo Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses. She is a serial entrepreneur and is regarded as a top authority on internet marketing, business strategies and marketing.
There was a period in my life between 2001 – 2007 where I lived out of a suitcase and traveled to a different city for 50 weeks out of the year. Mainly in the USA.
What was I doing? I was setting up, producing, and coaching education speakers on how to best communicate.
I thought for years I was in the Real Estate Industry, because our seminars, events, and education was all about teaching people how to start a business flipping real estate.
Soon, one of my mentors said to me…”Heather, you don’t even know what industry you are in. You are in the Communication industry. And Communication = Wealth. Always remember that.”
Communication = Wealth. Period.
Communication comes in different forms. Listening. Yelling. Dominating. Whisper. Body Language.
All of it is Communication.
The ART of Communication, the effectiveness of communication is all in the delivery.
Being Assertive is the basic feeling that one is ‘dominating’ or ‘winning’ the communication. But to be assertive does not mean you are loud, cruel or mean.
Therefore here are tips on Assertive Communication:
#1 Listen. Listen. Listen.
The brightest Communicators I met in the Communications business were leaders who knew how to listen. To understand. To seek to understand. FIRST. ALWAYS.
#2 Ask Questions. Ask Deep Questions. Ask Deeper Questions.
After a great communicator listens, they then begin to get to the ‘heart’ of the matter by asking inch thick and a mile deep questions.
To fully understand what is behind the situation, the upset, the ‘no’ of a sale. Either way, the more other person is fully understood, the stronger the connection. People do business with people. We connect through communication.
#3 Recreate. Restate.
A tip that I saw used with Master Communicators was the strategy of Recreating. Some may call it Restating. It is mistaking called Repeating.
It is not Repeating, which can come across as annoying or condensing.
Recreating is communication of being able to sum up, re-state what they feel, what they want, what is really in their way – in their words. Using their words, making sure you are re-creating what they say, not adding an opinion or a judgement, just re-stating. When done correctly this strategy has any human feel 100% heard.
The most come need, and desire of a human being is to feel heard and understood. It is easy to see in Children when they do not feel heard or understood – temper tantrums, crying, anger is shown.
In adults, people begin to do ‘cope’ differently. When they do not feel heard, it can come out in other ways, like revenge, stabbing in the back, being uncooperative, not buying from the company or person.
Final Thought: Being Assertive in your communication has nothing to do with the tone in what you say – but instead your delivery of your response, your questions and your recreating.
Being a Strong Communicator is the #1 Skill that any person in any type of position should learn, because Communication = Wealth.
~ Katie is a PR pro, journalist, and blogger. She is also the managing editor of Wilde Words.
Feelings aren’t facts, separate the logical from the emotional. Try not to over-personalise: other people’s behavior is not always a reaction to you.
Blame is a distortion that we use to avoid responsibility. Carry out a thought-shift exercise – ask yourself “Is this an emotional reaction, or do I have evidence that supports my thinking?”
Awareness is the key: don’t beat yourself up if you recognize yourself in some of the examples above, just learn from it for the future.
Minuca Elena MinucaElena.com
~ I am a freelancer that creates expert roundups. My posts provide quality content, bring huge traffic and get backlinks. I also help bloggers connect with influencers.
My top assertive communication tip is to have a clear goal in mind. Often, people don’t trust in themselves enough or are insecure about what they want.
That is why others easily influence them and when a negative outcome happens they blame them for their “bad advice.” You need to take responsibility for your decisions.
Analyze all the options and try to see what results may come from each option. When you’ve reached a conclusion, express it through clear arguments.
Anthony Metivier MagneticMemoryMethod.com
~ Anthony is an experienced author, professor, story and memory course creator. He is a memory coach and adviser to top ESL instructors and language school administrators around the world.
It’s impossible to be properly assertive without accurately remembering the information that flows between speakers in conversation.
Learn to sharpen your memory so that you can memorize key points in real time.
You’ll find that this memory skill makes you feel more relaxed, which always makes it easier to say what you really mean.
Yuri Kruman MasterTheTalk.com
~ Yuri is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, Mogul Influencer, published author and entrepreneur based in New York. After making several successful career transitions, including roles in HR and Finance/Operations, Yuri has used his unique insights to help clients of all career stages and industries to break bad career habits, get un-stuck in their careers and find their dream jobs.
In order to be assertive in any two-way discussion, which is only sometimes a tough negotiation and otherwise mostly just getting someone across to your view of things, the most important factor is good preparation.This includes learning as much as you can about the other person’s culture, values, hobbies, psychology, business, incentives, and leverage.
It also means knowing your own psychology (and pre-empting your hangups through practice with friends/family beforehand) and leverage points, as well as being able to clearly align and communicate your shared incentives with those of the other person.
It’s just as important to lower the other person’s barriers and objections to you by displaying commonalities. Preparation and lowering barriers reliably takes away your nerves and a great deal of the uncertainty inherent in being unable to assert yourself in any discussion.
This way, when you go in for any sort of discussion or negotiation, you will be confident going in and won’t need to position yourself as an adversary to the other side or assert yourself in any false manner, helping you get what you want more often than not.
I think there are different ways to be assertive according to the situation.
If you are presenting a project or leading a meeting, the best way to be confident is to know the subject well and think about the questions that people might ask. You can also do a mock presentation alone or in front of one person to make sure that you know what to say. In summary, be prepared.
When you are with a group of friends or family members, simply remember that they love you so don’t be afraid to be who you are!
Zac Johnson ZacJohnson.com
~ Zac is an entrepreneur and a super affiliate, with nearly 20 years of experience in the online marketing space.
If you want to build a following and be seen as an expert in anything, you will always need to be able to portray your message with confidence and in the best way possible.
A great way to accomplish this is to always know what you are talking about. It sounds simple enough, but here’s an example of how important and crucial it could be…
Say you run into a multi-million dollar investor in an elevator and they were interested in your next business idea.
However, they only want a sales pitch in just 30 seconds? Would you know what to say? Would you be confident in your delivery?
Now you might be thinking about how hard this might actually be.
No matter what type of communication you might be working on, your confidence and delivery is everything.
~ Sean blogs about entrepreneurship, leadership, management, and personal growth. As CEO of one of the fastest growing SEO companies in the Philippines, he has experienced a slew of risks, challenges, failures and successes that he shares to the world, on his personal blog.
Assertive communication is an art so it’s pretty hard to summarize it in just one tip. It stems from confidence and knowing oneself full well.
It also stems from thousands of hours of experience and practice – honing your ability to express using body language, facial expressions, the tone of voice and the simplicity of words.
If I was to give one tip, it would be to read the book “How to win friends and Influence people” by Dale Carnegie. Put all the lessons to heart. And as you read each lesson there, practice it right away. The heart of assertive communication lies within that book.
Colin Wright Colin.io
~ Colin is an author, entrepreneur, and full-time traveler. He speaks to crowds internationally and hosts the Let’s Know Things podcast.
Recognize when it’s worth your time to try to convince someone of something, and when it’s not your responsibility, or in your best interest.
Very often a ‘win’ in terms of a conversation is not found in bettering someone else in an argument, but in being a good listener, exposing yourself to a point of view different from your own, and showing yourself to be both open-minded and capable of working with people who see things differently than you.
~ Zach is teaching business owners and individuals how to be more productive by using online and mobile tools to create their own digital organization systems.An assertive communication tip is to state the outcomes you are looking to achieve up front. The more black and white the better.
If the person knows:
* an expected date of delivery
* what a successful outcome looks like
* how they will know if they hit the outcome it becomes clear when they meet they have met the criteria and when they have fallen short of the mark.
Most people will naturally try to meet the criteria set out for them. But not everyone does this automatically. I’d estimate about 30% of the population fall into what Gretchen Rueben calls they Questioner camp
For questioners, the why is just as important as they what. Maybe even more important. Without the reason for doing something… there is very little hope a Questioner will actually do anything.
So, to be an assertive communicator, get clear on the what and the why. And take the time to explain both to everyone involved.
Renee Thompson RtConnections.com
~Renee works with healthcare organizations who want to overcome the leadership and clinical challenges their people face every day.
The most powerful action to speak using the assertive communication style is to PAUSE before you respond to someone.
Pausing allows you to then ask yourself, “How can I respond in a way that is both honest AND respectful?”
Pausing gives your prefrontal cortex the time it needs to think.
~ Rosie is a strategy consultant from Alberta, Canada. She provides smart, savvy women with advice on their goals and future direction so that they can plan effective strategies for growth, whether it’s personal or business-related.
When you need to be assertive, pause for a moment and take a deep breath before you say or do anything.
Otherwise, we may say something that we may want to take back later.
Pausing will allow you to collect your thoughts and therefore can respond accordingly rather than responding to what your perception of what’s happening.
Evan Carmichael EvanCarmichael.com
~ Evan‘s goal is to help other entrepreneurs stay motivated and give specific strategies that can help you build a successful business.
My top assertive communication tip is this: Believe. The specific words you use don’t matter. How much you believe the words you’re saying does.
Josiah Nelson – ReadySettle.com
~ Joe started his first company at 12 and at 17, he created a smartwatch company that sold for 8 figures. Last May, he dropped out of college and moved to Manhattan where he started a company that just made its first million.
Being assertive can be a very effective way to convey your opinions or ideas while commanding authority. Assertive communication is something you must build for yourself. When I first moved to New York City from a rural town in Georgia, I worked at a top law firm negotiating debt. In an environment like that, assertive communication is an essential tool.
If I did not assert myself, the negotiators at the other end of the table would chew my up and spit me out so I had to learn quickly. Assertive communication is less of a habit and more of a communication tool. you have to use your best judgment as for when to use it, as it isn’t effective in every situation or for every person.
Confidence, i would say, is the biggest underlying factor of assertive communication. You have to be deliberate in your words while not speaking too much. The key trick that I’ve found is to use as few words as possible.
While it may seem trivial, not doing so may be the fastest way for people to lose respect for you in a conversation. Have you ever been in a negotiation or discussion with someone who babbled on, second-guessed themselves, stuttered, etc?
You may have heard this before but you just have to think before you speak. It’s cliche, yes, but it couldn’t be more important. Every word that comes out of your mouth should be to the point and directly progress the conversation in the direction you want it to go.
It requires some thinking on your feet so just start by doing it slightly in everyday conversations. you don’t have to be rude. Just be more thoughtful in your diction and mindful of your confidence and the rest will fall into place.
Jaxon Calder LeanForLife.com.au
~Jaxon is an Author, Speaker, Coach and Entrepreneur. He is the founder of Lean for Life and has a passion to build team’s and up skill people in the workforce, business and life.
I am a passionate believer that assertive communication is an invaluable tool within the workplace, it is what all managers asses to gauge the maturity, the ability and the quality of their team. There are three areas of focuses when it comes to assertive communication 1) yourself and 2) others 3) delivery.
By being aware of these three focuses and continually improving your skill set in these areas you will notice that you will soon be shortlisted for promotions above your coworkers and even your peers.
In order to effectively communicate with assertiveness you first need to take time to reflect on how you are currently communicating. Are you short, vague, emotional, weak, strong, what tone do you use, what words are you using, do you stutter, second guess yourself, speak with passion or just go on about nothing.
To better understand how you communicate ask yourself these questions, How is my (fill in blank), Why am I using this/ those (fill in blank) and what (fill in blank) could I have used. Secondly, you need to take time to learn how other people naturally would like to receive communication based on their personality types, gender, character, and people group.
You need to be aware on how they would like to receive communication and be aware of how they might assume what you are saying or not saying. Being an effective assertive communicator your are responsible for the communication you deliver and constructing it in a way of being aware of how people might receive it.
Lastly is the delivery of your communication, all effective communicators pay attention to how they are communicating while they are in communication and at the same time analyse how the audience might receive what they are saying, you take on the awareness of being responsible for how/ what you are communicating and how it will be received.
Paul Hosch CareerResourceInstitute.com
~ Paul is helping people with career services since 2003. He was a resume writer, interview preparer, and career coach. He is the owner of Career Resource Institute, which promotes the best career services and products out their for job seekers, career climbers, and potential retirees.
I smiled and said, “I want $100,000 the first year; $115,000 the second year; and $125,000 my third year. I want the title ‘Vice President’ and I want a dedicated assistant.”
My future boss paused and said, “OK, let’s write up the details.”
Usually when I tell my clients this story they look at me in amazement and the ensuing conversation goes something like this:
Client: “I can’t see myself being that assertive during an interview.”
Me: “Why not? Aren’t you worth it?”
Client: “Yes, but I’m being interviewed for a job I want.”
Me: “Aren’t you also interviewing the organization as well? …deciding whether or not you want to work for them?”
Client: “Well, yes but they have all of the leverage because I need the job.”
Me: “Perhaps, but don’t they need someone to fill this position?”
Client: “Yes, but lots of people are applying for the job.”
Me: “Aren’t you really good at what you do? I mean, when you’re applying for a job, don’t you feel like you’re the best person applying?”
This is where I start to get varying answers from my clients which range between “Yes, I am really good at what I do,” to “I’m…OK…but…”
If my clients say they are confident in their skills, I help them find resources to master the resume-writing and interview process and teach them to confidentially and assertively communicate their desires in the job interview by simply preparing fully and asking with a goal (their “wish list”) ready to present to the interviewer. And I tell them to remember their “line in the sand” (their deal breaker/s) in mind.
If my clients say they aren’t confident in their skills, I help them find services to show them how to become a student of their industry—reading everything; joining appropriate associations; working on their weaknesses and perfecting their skills so they more fully realize and believe in their abilities.
They become more confident and can assertively communicate their skills, career path desires, and of course their desired job requirements, including salary.
To communicate assertively, the first step is to be confident in your position. Confidence breeds the ability to assertively communicate when necessary. Without confidence, you will flounder. Confidence can’t be feigned – at least not for long.
David Vallance Digital Impact
~David is a seasoned copywriter and content creator. He is the backbone of Digital Impact’s inbound marketing campaigns.
So much of our language is scattered with subjective crutch phrases like ‘we believe this’ and ‘I think that’. Presenting arguments in this way couches your communication as an opinion or belief. In other words, what you are saying is not necessarily true, it’s just your take on everything.
If you want to sound assertive in your written communication, drop that sort of subjective language immediately.
Don’t phrase things as your opinions, even if they are. Instead, present them as unequivocal facts.
Compare these two sentences:
1. Your communications strategy is outdated and ineffective.
2. We believe your communications strategy is outdated and ineffective.
The first has so much more impact because it’s is a cold hard fact. The second may be true but it might just as easily be a mistake.
Jane Tabachnick JaneTabachnick.com
~ Jane helps entrepreneurs create authority positioning, build buzz, and become published authors
To communicate effectively and assertively it is important to be secure in yourself and your position while respecting the other person or people you are communicating with.
Express yourself with conviction and without the goal of converting someone to your point of view.
Part of assertive communication is keeping it to the facts and issues, knowing that your listener may not like your message, however, when done effectively, it remains about the communication, instead of being taken personally.
In sum, assertive communication requires ownership, respect, and clear communication.
Dorothy Dalton 3PlusInternational.com
~ Dorothy is a global talent management strategist working on both sides of the executive search spectrum from “hire to retire.” She specializes in sourcing and developing, placing hard-to-find, world class candidates for executive search firms and international organizations.
My top assertive communication tips would be centered on body language. Good straight posture, an open stance, direct eye contact and a smile (where appropriate) help set the scene. When your diaphragm is raised your voice will project more clearly.
Letting everyone know you are present and engaged generates confidence and your audience will listen attentively. You then have the possibility to assess the situation and make a decision on how you want to communicate with intention.
If it is conflictual or difficult, you can start with questions. Or you might want to deliver a pitch.
Concave posture, shifting eye contact, fidgeting hands and a neutral or nervous expression will start you off on the wrong foot. Once you’ve made that poor first impression, it’s difficult to put it right.
Yatin Khulbe PositiveFountain.com
~ Yatin’s ten-year mentally traumatic journey gave birth to Positive Fountain. After realizing his source of happiness, he is on a mission to help others rediscover their passion for bringing out the best in themselves. Apart from injecting positivity, he wants to eliminate the social stigmas associated with mental health.
Here are three effective assertive communication strategies for creating a long-lasting impact on listener’s mind:
Don’t confuse confidence with dominance: Though assertiveness demands confidence, the conversation becomes useless when the speaker tries to dominate the conversation without caring about listeners. Don’t spoil the communication by dipping your thoughts in the ‘ME’ bowl brimming with callous attitude.
Listen: Understand the power of listening for making the conversation fruitful. If you don’t have the patience, expect the same from the other side. Allow listeners to share the thoughts. Apart from effective visible body language and gestures, assertive communication requires a willingness to strengthen the invisible yet strong bond with the listeners.
Embrace the value of silence: What’s the use of communication when there is no clarity? The more you hurry, the more you worry. Don’t stuff words in less time. Time is never a constraint, but ‘wind up fast’ speech highlights your fear. The listeners enjoy the conversation when the speaker disseminate the information in a subtle tone. A small pause defines your command on the topic.
~ Aleksander is a Director of Operations at Toronto Dance Salsa. Before that, he was a sales leader at a marketing and advertising company where he proactively sought new business alliances and account acquisitions to maximize sales revenues and developed existing client relationships.
Ask questions to get your results but don’t give orders. It’s easier to get people into your way of thinking of they want to do it themselves.
Getting a person to your side by asking a question gives the person a choice. “What is the best way I can help you come on time to work” vs “You’re late, make sure you are here on time”.
Being firm in a conversation doesn’t mean you have to tell people what to do.
So letting the other person make the decision, even figuring it out on their own, is more powerful when asked in the form of a question.
Stefan James ProjectLifeMastery.com
~ Stefan is a 7-figure internet entrepreneur, life and business coach, fitness enthusiast, and world traveler with an obsession to live life to the fullest and fulfilling his potential as a human being.
In order to communicate in an assertive way, I believe that the most important thing is to ensure that you’re in an assertive state. If you try to act or behave in an assertive way, but aren’t feeling assertive or cert
ain, then it won’t come across effectively.
Your actions and behaviors must be congruent with your state of mind. How can you access a more assertive state? Simple – just ask yourself, “How would I stand, move, breathe or behave if I was feeling totally assertive?” and then adjust your physiology to be that.
Ask yourself, “What would I think or say to myself if I was totally assertive?” and then do and say it. I believe accessing an assertive state is crucial, as your assertive behavior will follow that.
Elizabeth Bradley ElizabethKBradley.com
~ Elizabeth is a holistic, creative writer and blog mentor for life and health coaches. Her work has been featured on sites like Tiny Buddha, Olyvia, The Branded Solopreneur, and Cameron Diaz’ blog.
I LOVE being assertive in my communication, from emailing influencers and Ideal Clients directly to being very straightforward and clear in my copywriting and even in my blog comments.
It’s all about being clear on what you’re trying to communicate, and who you’re communicating too.
The better you know your audience/Ideal Client/influencer you’re trying to get the attention of, the better you can shape your communication so it gets their attention and motivates them to take action.
Naomi Rogers Twyford NaomiTwyford.com.au
~ Naomi – MD of Glenn Twiddle Training & Director of Phenomenal Women & Be Phenomenal.
One of the most unrealiable forms of communication must be email. My entire team is told that if they ever say to me “But I sent them an email” they will be fired on the spot…….Ok maybe not fired but you get my point.
Any company or individual that is still relying on email as a stand alone effective form of communication is asking for trouble!
My team are all told that if they are sendinf an importatn email, it must be accompanied with a text message or Facebook message or a skype or even better all of the above. It is was too easy for people to say “Oh! I never got that email”
So what is my top assertive communication tip: Stop Relying on Emails as an effective way to communicate
Bridging is an effective technique to state your point of view. Many times reporters will try to get your opinion on something that doesn’t help you. Your goal is to get your point across. You could say, “That reminds me of …” and then state your point or tell your story. If you watch media interviews, you’ll see this is done all the time! Now you know the trick.
Scott Young ScottHYoung.com
~ Scott is a writer, programmer, traveler and avid reader of interesting things.
Ask for what you want.
Sometimes people hide behind asking directly what they want and get upset that others don’t fulfill their expectations.
Thank you so much to all the experts that contributed to this expert roundup!
We think we’re pretty good at assertiveness skills training which we run in London and Guildford but we don’t think we know it all so it’s great to hear some more views.
Remember: think twice, speak once, and be assertive. You are in control of the situation.
Thank you so much to all the experts that contributed to this expert roundup! A big THANK YOU to Minuca Elena for helping us gather all these awesome tips.
Finally, we’re written a few other articles on assertivennss that you might find interesting: