Tag Archive for Assertive behavior

Assertive Communication

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Communication– The “Keep Your Cool” Formula – 3 Easy Steps

Sometimes it helps to have a quick formula that’s easy to remember, easy to post where you can see it and easy to implement. In touchy communication situations when emotions might thwart clear thinking try these 3 steps:

1. Observation – Observe the pace, voice, eye-contact and posture of your listener. Pay attention to emotions, intentions, and any mental or physical distractions. Match and step it down if emotions are high.

2. Adaptation – Shift your style to communicate in the way your listener likes to communicate. A small adjustment now saves time, money and effort later.

3. Confirmation – Verify that the translation and comprehension of your message matches your intention. (and be honest about your intention-is it aligned to your highest self?)

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Workplace Communication – Assertive Communication Techniques to Get Your Message Across and Be Heard

Assertive communication techniques that allow you to express yourself clearly while still earning respect take a bit of practice but are well worth the effort. Assertive means without becoming loud, angry or irritated. And, respect is not synonymous with agreement it means with proper concern and courtesy.

Here are 5 assertive communication techniques your can practice to be heard without being misunderstood:

1. Self-disclosure is revealing information about yourself that allows others to respond to you by creating a shared vulnerability. This is particularly difficult for managers and leaders to practice as sharing personal deficiencies no matter how common or insignificant are discouraged.

“I don’t know much about…” is a powerful statement that suggests your willingness to learn is greater than your need to be right.

Using the common feel, felt, found approach can also be effective self-disclosure technique:

“I understand how you feel, I felt that way myself when the company changed hands, but then I found that by listening to their point-of view I realized we had many common values.”

2. Acknowledging without agreeing is another communication skill assertive people practice. This is especially helpful when dealing with a dissenter during a meeting or presentation.

“What an interesting thought…” acknowledges the speaker without encouraging further conversation.

“That might be true and here are my thoughts…” is another option.

3. Calm repetition of the same words is a communication skill that is useful when giving information that might not be well-received.

“My intention is to provide you with the details of the new program…” clearly stated in a firm but calm voice repeatedly until you are acknowledged and given the platform is one possible phrasing.

4.Negative assertion is a bit trickier to use and requires a neutral tone of voice. Occasionally someone may attempt to make you wrong especially regarding principles. You might try this:

“Let me understand, you are saying I’m wrong?” Again, a calm non-accusatory voice is important.

5. When a criticism has been directed at you without explanation, assertively ask for more information while repeating the negative comment.

“What is it about my sales presentation that makes you say it is difficult to follow?

These are just a few communication skills everyone can practice in the workplace to create a more respectful environment while decreasing misunderstandings.

What has worked for you? Leave your thoughts.

And, if you want more tips just like the ones above  pick up a copy of my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. People just love how easy it is to apply.

Workplace Communication—How to Use Assertive Communication and Stand Up for Your Rights

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Assertive behavior in the workplace is the dynamic balance between aggressive and passive conduct. Maintaining this balance is crucial for managing relationships and standing up for your rights. Understanding and using assertive behavior is a critical business communication skill.

To get a sense of the dynamic range between passive and aggressive behavior think of child’s seesaw with assertiveness sitting on the fulcrum point.  Consider assertive communication as the delicate movement needed to maintain balance before the plank hits the passive or aggressive ground might. 

Behavior too far toward the aggressive end and your behavior might be viewed as abusive. Yet, displaying behavior  too far to the passive side and your conduct might suggest you are hiding something.

Standing up for your rights assertively is mature behavior and it creates a balanced work environment.

Assertive communication says you have healthy sense of yourself, you regard others as equals, and it indicates a desire for personal growth.

Assertive behavior does not violate the right of others from being heard, nor does it violate your own right from self-expression. Aggressive behavior is bully behavior and every workplace seems to have at least one destructive player that feels the need to win over everything else.

When encountering an aggressive personality it is best to remember that this person is operating from fear. This is a good time to don your Teflon coat to keep any personal attack from sticking. If you are constantly being interrupted while you are making a point, it is acceptable to take back the stage to finish your statement. Saying something such as “let me finish my point, John,” in a calm, steady, well-modulated voice is an acceptable technique. Repeat as needed. This pegs you as having the voice of reason and leadership.

If you are the aggressor it would be wise to examine the results of your behavior as well as your motives. Do others avoid you? Are co-workers reluctant to support your point-of view? You might be gaining the upper hand in some situations but at what cost. What are you afraid of losing if you allow others their right to an opposing opinion?

Passive behavior as a communication style can be just as damaging—to you as well as to others. It indicates low self-esteem (as does aggressive behavior) it expects others to guess your thoughts and motives and it slows down productivity. At first glance, a passive employee may seem ideal—does their work and doesn’t say much. What is missing from that equation is the possibility of better ideas and solutions to problems. Passive communication creates guess work on the part of others, and it invites aggressive responses.

If you are prone to passive behavior consider asserting yourself in low-risk situations. Give your opinion on a light hearted but controversial topic during a lunchtime break. Adding your opinion about whose going to win American Idol, Dancing with the Stars or the World Series rarely causes more than playful banter while adding color to the conversation. From there practice taking more risks by asserting yourself at meetings, even if it is to agree with others. Your voice is important. You have the same rights as others and letting others violate them is unfair to all parties.

Should you encounter a passive communicator help them out by encouraging their thoughts and refusing to take “I don’t care what we do” or “it doesn’t matter to me” as answers.

Assertive communication allows for fair exchange, collaboration and teamwork. Assertive behavior from everyone creates a productive and pleasant workplace.

What do you think?

Want more tips you can put to use immediately? Then pick up a copy of my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Oh, and don’t forget your FREE 6 part audio on The Power of Effective Communication–just put your name and email in the boxes on your upper right to get instant access.