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PracUp Team

What is Assertive communication?

The style of communication helps us put forward our thoughts and opinions clearly without causing offense to others. This calls for being honest and maintaining personal boundaries of interaction while safeguarding the mutual rights of the people involved. Additionally, it is also the most effective and open form of communication. Conversations that demand negation are looked at as situations than problems. Expressing thoughts clearly can help in dealing.

Most people find it challenging to communicate when they have to put forward an opposing view or a contesting opinion to that of the speaker. This might either turn into compromising on rights, patronizing or aggressive. If such interaction is unsuccessful, the listener does not welcome the entire communication This is where the tool of assertive communication comes to the rescue. It definitely takes a good amount of patience, observation, and practice to master this art.

The character of Assertive communication:

 

  1. Constructive statements are free from randomness or abstract ideas.
  2. Positive entitlement of right to communicate without apprehensions.
  3. Confidence in communication and freedom in expressing thoughts or feelings.
  4. Clarity and control of speech.
  5. The calm and composed tone is welcoming.
  6. Confident posture and body language.
  7. Saying ‘No’ comes naturally without attaching frills to it.
  8. So, Usage of the right choice of words to convey opposing views
  9. Ability to separate people from the situation and avoid blame-game
  10. Hence, Reasons can be backed up with a clear expression of feelings

 

Examples of assertive statements are:

  • “I was angry that you did not show up to our team meeting. It was planned way before; however, I urge you to go through the minutes”.
  • “I differ with you here as I feel this plan is very expensive”.

 

BENEFITS OF ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION:

 

  1. Relationships are not taken for granted and people feel respected.
  2. Honesty in expression helps establish mutual trust.
  3. So, prevents a whole of stress that arises out of an inability to communicate freely.
  4. Indeed, workspace relationships will be healthier as there will not be gaps between expectations and reality.
  5. Also provides a safe space for counterparts to open up and confide in what’s bothering them.
  6. Furthermore, On the professional side, it is an important leadership trait. Clear communication bridges the gap between industry needs and service delivery. HR processes stand well defined and clear when assertiveness is used as the baseline for all business Communication

 

DIFFERENT STYLES OF COMMUNICATION:

There are four styles of communication namely: Passive, Assertive, Aggressive and Passive Aggressive. Assertive communication stands as a beacon when compared to others styles. Learning the other styles helps understand how not to communicate and also makes assertiveness an easy way.

Passive Communication: Passive communicators often hold themselves back from express their opinions freely in anticipation of a negative outcome from the conversation. Furthermore, They heed to requests that they can neither fulfil nor do they want to and invite additional problems.  Fear to communicate, uncomfortable body language, mental turbulence.  Also, the Inability to say ‘No’, and lack of confidence are some passive communication styles often characterized.

Individuals who adopt this style often find themselves as passive liars, which further reflects adversely on their self-image. They avoid a confrontation that might arise out of an interaction. People who follow this style are mostly found to have social anxiety. They do not draw happiness out of social interactions and often avoid making new relationships.

Features of Passive Communication:

 

  • Lack of straightforwardness
  • Poor eye contact
  • Drooping posture
  • Repressed emotions and feelings
  • Using a lot of mind voice which fails to translate into expression through words
  • Being apologetic – Their sentences often start with self-criticism or apology like “I know this is not the right question to ask” or “Sorry for asking this but may I know”
  • Avoidance of stressful conversations

 

Aggressive Communication Skills:

There is a vast difference between being assertive and aggressive. An exaggeration of situations and respond to them are characterized as Aggressiveness. Individuals indulge in throwing words with a louder or more serious tone and victimize others for failures. An aggressive communicator is often involved in personal attacks and apathy which further intensifies self-hate. Assumptions are often misguided. When they encounter an unfavorable situation, they experience bouts of anger and resort to the wrong choice of words. Furthermore, Being aggressive closes doors to opportunities and reduces the quality of relationships.

Passive Aggressive Skills:

Prolonged passive communication leads to the next style of communication i.e., passive-aggressive. When emotions are controlled for a long time, individuals feel a sudden need to stand up for their rights and burst out with aggressiveness, often in directions that are not related to the context.  Reluctance to speak, fretting, and procrastination are characterized as Passive aggressive styles.

Indeed, the meaning of passive-aggressive is to appear passive on the outward but experience aggressiveness from within. Individuals often choose indirect ways to vent out this aggression. So, they refuse to admit their feelings and get shelled up. In a workplace scenario, this style often leads to undesirable consequences and impairs the quality of work. 

EXAMPLES OF DIFFERENT STYLES OF COMMUNICATION:

 

Situation:

A friend who always throws parties where you do not feel comfortable and often attaches your attendance to the test of a great friendship.

Assertiveness:

I value our friendship and would love to cherish it for a long time. But I feel uncomfortable mingling with strangers and the whole experience traumatizes me. I have chosen not to trouble myself with obligations hereafter. You can thoroughly enjoy your personal space. And we both can have a nice time in our own way.

Passive communication:

I think I have work around that time. I will let you know if I can come. I wouldn’t definitely like to disappoint you.

Aggressive:

I hate your friends and the parties you move in.  So, they make me feel otherwise about you. You need to change your choices and prioritize the right people. I can’t come to your parties.

Passive Aggressive:

Finding out what troubles your friend and directly engaging in such activities without expressing the problem to him.

ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS:

Assertive communication demands exercising assertive skills, meaning, adopting assertive techniques that contribute to stress free relations:

  1. The first and foremost step is to have self-awareness. This enable communicating the needs without inhibitions. Moreover, take time to think and analyze personal likes and dislikes.
  2. Good eye contact assures the listener about ingenuity of the speaker.
  3. Practice active listening. Observe where exactly is the conversation moving away from the right path. Moreover, this is the key to phrasing your response in any circumstances.
  4. Do not attempt to please everyone or always be in the good books of people. It is ok to be not liked at times. The Key is to have control over communication and avoid slippages of emotional outbursts.
  5. Have confidence in posture, this is the first message the listener picks up from the speaker. A positive body language creates trust and prevents others from making assumptions.
  6. Avoid threatening language or ‘if’ statements – If you continue to work this way, I will drop out. Instead try saying, I believe this is not the right business strategy, we should work on our backup plans too.
  7. Speak about action and not the person. Avoid personal attacks and sarcasm – “I know you always do this”, “this is expected from you”, “no wonder your proposal failed”, etc.
  8. Talk about your observations: “I see that the project compromises on safety guidelines”, and “I have not received any assurance from you for a long-term commitment.”
  9. Make sure to include reasons for your rejections. Moreover, reasons help the listener gain the right perspective and avoid
  10. Assertiveness is not just the ability to say ‘no’ but also the ability to accept one. Have the courage and patience to accept others’ points of view and embrace differences.
  11. Do not leave gaps in communication that makes others misunderstand assertiveness as arrogance or selfishness. Providing alternative solutions, clearly stating the reasons, and asking about others' feelings help here. So, use statements like “we have these options instead”, “what do you think about this?”, “do you think my idea will work, I am open to feedback”.
  12. When under stress stay calm and try talking about your emotions than revealing them through body language. Therefore, Use sentences like “I feel angry when this happens”, “I feel dejected when somebody treats me like this”, I felt sad when you say that to me”.
  13. Appreciation and acknowledgment also play a great role. Expression of emotions can be done for positive emotions too: “I felt great to have that compliment from you”, “I am surprised to see how confident you are in your decision”.

 

PROCESS OF ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION:

Including a process for assertiveness helps structure thoughts and therefore expression. Always streamline the communication in the order of “Situation – Feelings – Reason – Alternatives”

Example:

You have to deliver an important presentation online to your office, which is directly tied to your promotion. You communicated this well before time to your husband. He needs to pitch in and take care of household responsibilities, which he failed to do at the last minute. You can say:

SITUATION:

“I received poor remarks from my superior for making an ineffective project delivery. The incidents at the house disturbed me quite a bit at the time of the meeting. You have given up on a promise which I genuinely relied upon”.

FEELINGS:

“This incident echoed poorly on my delivery and I am afraid it affects my future in this company. I may also have to compromise on my career growth if such issues repeat.”

REASON:

Situations like these, in long term, also affect my financial contribution to our family needs, which makes us compromise on our dreams. I do not want to feel resentment toward my situation.

ALTERNATIVES:

Next time try to stick to our plans or let us discuss and find an alternative to get things done in a more planned manner so that we both can contribute quality time to work and family.

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