Assertive communication involves getting your point across in the most direct and open way possible, while still remaining cool and collected. It takes confidence to put your thoughts into clear words. Click here to first learn more about how to strengthen your confidence.
Just the idea of being assertive can absolutely feel intimidating. When you do so, you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable, which is probably you’re real fear: not being assertive. When you’re young, speaking up against the school bully sounds like the last thing you want to partake in. It may be that you’re still afraid to speak up to or against others now, as an adult.
Some confidence is definitely needed, but even some of the most confident people struggle with assertiveness. This is where preparation, practice, and all the little things in between, swoop in to rescue us.
1. Plan ahead
Planning your message ahead of time is going to be your first step toward being assertive. If even you are unsure of what exactly you’re saying, do you think others will have any more of a clue?
Now, this doesn’t mean you necessarily need a fully written script at the ready. You should, however, have a good idea of what you intend to say and how you would like for your audience to interpret it.
2. Speak up
Speaking too quietly will instantly ruin any opportunity of speaking assertively. Then again, speaking too loudly can give you a harsh tone and instantly turn off people’s ears, as well. In this instance, filming yourself can be very beneficial.
Your voice is your tool to ultimately get what you want. If you have a hard time starting off strong, try practicing when you’re home alone, or driving in your car. Pretend you’re walking up to someone and initiating a conversation or comment. If you’ve done it before, doing it in real life won’t be nearly as a frightening.
Pronunciation plays a large role in how others perceive your overall assertiveness. Any word that is misheard, or missed altogether, will only weaken your message, which is the last thing you probably want.
Try not to mumble or speak too quickly. Mumbling is definitely something I struggle with. Sometimes I will subconsciously trail off at the end of sentences, especially when I’m extra comfortable around the person I’m speaking with. The only thing that’s helped me is practicing consciousness. This allows you to become more aware of the speed of your voice and helps you to adjust accordingly.
4. Look Them In the Eye
In my observation, the most obvious indicator of confidence is the placement and movement of the eyes. If you can at least look the person or people in the eyes for most of your interaction, you’re already moving in the right direction.
It’s certainly very easy to get sidetracked during communication, especially when you’re feeling even the slightest bit of anxiety. I’ve been known to go on a tangent. It’s something I’ve become more conscious of, which is helping me to stop.
However, many of us struggle with going off on tangents, only to forget the original topic of conversation. This can be frustrating when you originally went into the conversation or confrontation with a plan.
6. Stay Positive
Whatever you do, don’t get too down on yourself. Positivity in the face of fear is a superpower. Imagine yourself as the best possible version of yourself and embody that as well as you can. An aura of positivity might also cause others to perceive you as more confident, as well.
Assertive speaking may seem impossible if you’re naturally a quiet person, but with practice and preparation, you can effortlessly be more assertive in your day-to-day interactions.
Are there some other things that you find useful for assertiveness that I forgot to mention here? Help others in the Earth-Words community using the comment section below.
To learn more about confidence, pop on over to this article: How to Create Confidence