Learning assertiveness skills by default will make you more confident. The result of learning these skills will change the results you get in your personal and professional lives.
In fact, the idea of being assertive is a subject that comes up throughout our lives. Often showing up as a lack of assertiveness.
For example, think back to when you’re a young teenager and want to be more assertive in a social environment.
Or in your 20’s going to start your new job and suddenly you’re coming across a confrontation in which you need to demonstrate assertiveness.
It might be that you’re older and you’ve always grown up with this feeling that you want to get a message out, maybe share your ideas with your family, but you’re just not very assertive, so you remain quiet.
The lack of assertiveness also can show up in:
- One-to-one situations
- In front of a group
- When you are under pressure to deliver
Another big area I have found a lack in, through my Communicating With Impact training, is relationships. Where someone is wanting to learn how to be more assertive in their relationship. Particularly when they feel like – like they don’t have a voice and are simply getting ‘trampled over’.
The message here is, there are so many different areas of life that assertiveness skills apply to and ultimately it’s a very powerful skill in building your overall confidence.
If you’re reading this right now and feel like, you can’t be assertive. Trust me, it is a skill that anyone can learn. I know, I’ve taught them how and seen the incredible transformations.
With this in mind, let’s look at assertiveness skills you can learn today.
What are good assertiveness skills?
I’ve been in this field now for over 30 years.
I’ve travelled, taught and spoken to hundreds of thousands of people globally.
My experience both in business, the field of communication, as well as in intimate relationships with people – there are times when you do need to be assertive.
Here’s where the confusion can arise – you don’t need to be aggressive or a bully.
Instead, use specific techniques that enable you to be a little bit more assertive. Allows you to hold your ground. Ultimately to really get your message across.
It’s about saying:
This is who I am. This is what I believe. This is my message. And I would like you to listen.
But the true skill is in how you do that. So that you don’t come across in a way that is aggressive. Whilst at the same time standing your ground and be seen for who you are.
It’s a subtle difference. But by implementing these four skills. You will begin to shift from ‘aggressive bully’ to ‘confident assertive’.
Assertiveness Skill #1: Physiology
When I’m teaching people to get into any form of communication one of the first things I encourage them to do is review their physiology.
Assertiveness can be seen very easily through our physiology. These are common signs of low or lack of assertiveness:
- Shoulders hanging down
- Turning your body or head away
- Eyes just having a little bit of doubt in them
- Their eyebrows twitch
- Breathing patterns become irregular or speed up
Something to always remember:
Our overall physiology can massively impact the way we are perceived by the other person. Period.
Remember, assertiveness is as much as it is about you delivering a message, than it is about the other person looking at you and thinking:
“How do I perceive this person here?”
Sure, getting the tonality in your voice is important, but not as important initially as getting your physiology right.
That means standing your ground.
What I mean by this can be demonstrated by one of the things I teach people through my online training:
This is to imagine that you’re standing in front of somebody and you have roots going down through your legs into the ground.
You’re absolutely centred and anchored down to the ground.
Imagine your energy is going down through the Hara. Through the core of who you are here. And then down into the ground.
You’ll feel a calm energy. This is what it feels like to centre yourself. And remember we want to be assertive without being aggressive.
Physiology: your hands
This one is obvious to must. But often underused assertiveness skill. Simply using your hands is another great way to get a message across in an assertive way.
You can use your – Hands, fingers and face to nod as you’re communicating – all in allignment with what you are saying. This is a great technique to practice.
As opposed to looking away and looking nervous.
Remember the key to this being effective is, everything has to be alligned. Message with physical gestrures.
If anything is slightly misaligned they will read that as you not feeling or being assertive. Which takes you back to square one.
Asertiveness Skill #2: Clear outcome
Interestingly, most people are not aware of this assertiveness skill. Which is having a – clear outcome.
One of the biggest challenge you may face is – when communicating and nervous – you may completely forget your outcome.
The great thing in any communication is the clearer you are to the outcome you desire, the more assertive you can be. Because you know this is what you stand for, this is your core outcome you’re looking to achieve. One single path from which you do not need to stray.
In other words, if there are too many distractions, ie. multiple outcomes, people will be confused by what you are saying .
To ensure you stay alligned to your outcome, make sure you ask yourself these powerful questions:
- Where do you want to take this conversation?
- What’s the outcome of this conversation?
- How do you want to walk away from this communication or this presentation with all those people you’re communicating with?
Asertiveness Skill #3: Simple message
Number three on the list of assertiveness skills, is to have a simple message or simple messages.
For exmaple, if your outcome is to sell somebody on something, in this case, joining you on an project – be assertive about that project by simplifying the message.
Digging deeper here, you may want to talk about – what three key reasons you want to get to help describe why they would want to come and join you on the project?
Not five, six, seven reasons, that is too confusing.
During this project pitch, also think about what you can say that has an impact.
The ‘impact messages’ are messages that push the actual delivery of what you’re trying to say in the direction you want it to go. This is more advance and is captured on my online trainings. But for now, just be aware that this type of messaging exists.
Aertiveness Skill #4: Tone and eyes
The last thing is using your tonality and eyes whilst you’re speaking.
Why? Because of these statistics:
- 7% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in the words that are spoken.
- 38% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said).
- 55% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in facial expression.
If you practice this technique, you’ll find that you’ll feel more assertive and other people will be more engaged with you. And this is simply because your facial expression is having the greatest effect on the communication.
Going from low confidence to assertive isn’t like switching on a light. It will take work.
However, the advantage you now have is the awareness of four skills you can begin practicising to improve your condidence over time.
The suggestion would be to select one. Practice it, then move on to the next.