How To Be More Assertive In 6 Basic Steps

How To Be More Assertive In 6 Basic Steps

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Image Credit | Twenty20.com

Many of us struggle to find our voices, even at times when we know that we should speak up. Being assertive is linked to your self-confidence, and not doing it could be holding you back both in your personal and your professional life. Follow these steps below to become more assertive and stand your ground.

1. Write down your thoughts

If you are feeling that you need to stand up for yourself, write down what you are thinking. Plan out how you can tell someone what you think. Even if it’s not for a specific conversation, write down what you need to say and how you can phrase it. This exercise is not intended to be read by someone else but rather to help you practice what to say. It could help with your confidence the next time an opportunity to say something comes up.

2. Choose words carefully

Start training yourself to not say certain words that will interrupt you and make you sound (and feel) less assertive. These include um, like, you know, ah, and so on. It’s much better to take a pause, take a breath, and think about what you want to say. Silence is powerful, and can be a better tool for assertiveness than filling that silence with meaningless noise. Practicing this will also make you feel better able to talk without using these words as time goes on.

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” – Pearl Strachan Hurd

3. Positively reinforce

When you do stand your ground or speak out, especially if you normally wouldn’t, be sure to reward yourself. Tell yourself about what a great job you have done, or give yourself a treat. Allow yourself a small celebration, even if it is only inside your own head. No matter what the outcome was, reinforce the behaviour in yourself by feeling positive about it.

4. Stand up at home

If you are not assertive in any area of your life, then standing up to your friends and family could be the easiest first step. This will help you to feel more confident before you increase your levels of assertiveness at work. It’s easier to stand up to people we know and like, because they will forgive us even if they think we have spoken out of turn. With more self-confidence, you can tackle the office head-on too.

5. Follow your own rules

If speaking up isn’t possible, think about ways that you can be more assertive through your actions. If you have a colleague that is always trying to involve you in other projects rather than your own work, consider setting a rule that you will only help them when you have finished your daily tasks. If you find that your work runs over into your lunch hour and leaves you with no break, get up from your chair and go for a walk where work can’t find you.

“Make your own rules or be a slave to another man’s.” – William Blake

6. Use body language

Having a slumped posture indicates defeat before you even consider raising your hand. Use body language to convey authority and your voice will be better heard. Straighten your shoulders, stop crossing your arms, keep your head straight, and keep your chin up high. Look people in the eye when you speak to them if you can, and you will find that your words feel stronger when they come from a stronger position.

The most important thing about becoming more assertive is to try. If you never go for step one, you will always struggle to be assertive, and you will never help yourself. Get a backbone and a voice for your own sake – with these steps it comes easier than you might think!

How have you helped yourself become more assertive? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi wonderful post you have above,our 2 cents:
    1)The problem with people being not assertive is,everybody wants an ice cream sundae life.Everybody wants an easier option in life and quick returns or profit from anything they can get their hands on.Most people are so passive in their behaviors that they rather be listening crap from their bosses then being assertive and proving their points in case they are right about it.
    2)This may have stem from early childhood trauma,or continuous disappointments in life ,but the good news is in order to be assertive,first you need to find yourself.You really need to find yourself,your purpose in life.The thing which you know most about,the thing which you have educated yourself about,the thing on which you can take a class full of students right now,is the thing about which you will be most assertive because you know that thing inside out.This is the real reason.This is how you do all those steps that are mentioned above.
    3)In short Find your purpose,Find what you know most about,practice it,educate yourself about it,then you can face the world and any challenges that it may throw upon you.

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