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.