How To Be MORE Assertive | Standing Up For Yourself Without Being A Jerk



Be Assertive: How to Stand Up for Yourself

If, over and over again, you find yourself wishing you had said or done something, you may need some assertiveness training.

By Madeline R. Vann, MPH

Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

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Coulda, woulda, shoulda: these are the worst words you can think of when you walk away from a confrontation without speaking up for yourself. Your friends, family, or even your co-workers may tell you that you need to be more assertive, stand up for yourself. But how do you go about developing assertiveness?

Assertiveness Defined

“What we use in some of our courses is this definition: Assertiveness is a behavioral style of communication in which a person expresses her thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs in a clear, direct, and honest manner while respecting the rights and needs of others,” says Susan Zeidman, who oversees assertiveness training for the American Management Association, based in New York City.

“Basically, it’s saying what you need to say respectfully,” she explains, adding that this can be difficult for some people who get emotional. "People who avoid confrontation are more passive in their approach to things — hoping the problem will go away or that they won’t have to say something.”

Assertiveness is an important skill when you are trying to build relationships, negotiate tasks and responsibilities, or work together with other people in a variety of settings. Assertiveness, once you get the hang of it, can:

  • Help you communicate better
  • Give you confidence
  • Help you make decisions
  • Increase other people’s respect for you
  • Help you stay true to your beliefs and goals

Do You Need to Be More Assertive?

Zeidman says that if you are dissatisfied with the personal and professional outcomes in your life, you may need to be more assertive.

“If you’re walking away from too many interactions and conversations saying, 'I shoulda said this,' 'Why did I let that get away from me,' 'Another meeting where so-and-so stole my idea,' or 'I got dumped onagain,' frequently it has to do with communication,” says Zeidman. “The ability to say no and be respected is tremendous.”

Tips for Being Assertive

If you want to take a trial run at assertiveness, try these tips the next time you are in a situation where you need to be honest about your feelings or needs:

  • Know what outcome you want to achieve
  • Pick a moment when you are emotionally in control
  • Practice what you want to say
  • Sit or stand comfortably where you can look directly at the person to whom you are speaking
  • Use statements beginning with “I” to explain your feelings about the situation. For example, instead of saying, “You never check with me before making plans” say “I feel ignored when you make plans without consulting me first.”
  • Be direct and honest about your feelings, goals, and intentions
  • Say no to unreasonable demands and offer an explanation if it is appropriate. There is no need to apologize or offer excuses.

Zeidman recommends an approach that focuses on stating the impact of another person's behaviors.

“If you’re always aware of what is the impact of this situation on us, me, you, the organization, the family, then people start to see you and the communication quite differently,” she says. Sit down with the person in question and then give them an example of the behavior that is problematic for you, and then describe the impact on you. “After you [explain] the impact of what’s happening, you ask them to make a change with you. How can we change this? How can we make this better?” suggests Zeidman. This approach makes the people in your life partners in improving the situation.

Assertiveness won’t guarantee that you get everything you want every time.






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Date: 05.12.2018, 00:07 / Views: 74351