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How to master assertiveness?

Mastering assertiveness can help you develop self-respect and at the same time behave responsibly towards others, which will encourage people to appreciate your worth and feel comfortable in your company. How to master assertiveness? Assertiveness is a skill usually referred to communication abilities. People who have mastered assertiveness are able to state their opinions and […]


Mastering assertiveness can help you develop self-respect and at the same time behave responsibly towards others, which will encourage people to appreciate your worth and feel comfortable in your company.

How to master assertiveness?

Assertiveness is a skill usually referred to communication abilities. People who have mastered assertiveness are able to state their opinions and feelings honestly at the same time respecting other people's rights. When communicating, they keep a positive attitude and take into account the possible consequences of their losing temper and choice of words.

How to recognize masters of assertiveness

  • Their statements are clear. These people try neither disappoint others nor get upset themselves;
  • They are attentive to other people's opinions. They react in an appropriate way, no matter if they agree with these opinions or not;
  • They negotiate win-win decisions. Assertive persons understand the value of their opponent’s point of view and usually find a common language.
  • They solve problems easily. Their confidence helps them to get out of the tough situations;
  • They are not prone to get anxious. They do not lose their nerve when their plans get frustrated.

Assertiveness versus aggression

Though everyone can behave aggressively or remain passive in certain cases, the reason of such reactions is often in person's lack of self-confidence and improper way of cooperating with others.  

Sometimes assertiveness is mistakenly taken for aggression, so it is better to define these two types of behavior to see the differences between them:

Assertiveness is based on balance. Assertive people are able to speak clearly, decisively and at the same time with empathy.

Aggression is based on dominance. Aggressive people use self-centered power and do not feel any empathy towards others. They take what they want, and almost never care about the rights and feelings of other people.

Can assertiveness be learned?

According to Daniel Ames, a professor of management at Columbia Business School, if you understand that you lack confidence, you are hardly to achieve you goal. On the other hand, if you often act aggressively, you are not dealing well with others too. But the good news is that being reserved is not a lifelong burden! It is possible to master the skills of assertiveness if you are a shy person, but eager to change it. You can explicitly spell your needs out and get what you need remaining yourself at the same time.

Can we assess the level of our assertiveness?

If you get fearful every time you need to express your opinion, ask yourself before engaging in any discussion: “What do I want from this situation?”  Afterward assess the outcome: “Did I get what I wanted?”

This technique helps to record your progress and specify whether you need to correct your manner of communication.

Basic techniques of assertiveness

While mastering these techniques remember that assertiveness means that a person is able to uphold one's beliefs in a polite manner that encourages others to behave accordingly.

So, general techniques of assertiveness are:

Wall of Fog

This technique is called fogging and is really effective if someone is acting in a manipulative way. Instead of disputing, you react peacefully and give soothing responses but without being arrogant. If you avoid reacting in an argumentative way, your aggressive opponent will end their confrontation, as it will become obvious that their aggression is senseless.

Peaceful perseverance

It implies repeating your request over and over again without raising your voice or losing your temper. If you systematically remind about your wish, you make sure that you do not get sidetracked or engaged in inappropriate discussion.

The core point is to keep calm, be perfectly clear when declaring your needs and never yield. Make a compromise only if you agree with the results.

Positive inquiry

People with low self-esteem often have difficulties with taking compliments, as they may feel that this praising is undeserved. It is really important to give a positive response when it is really relevant and to react in an appropriate way to the compliments that you receive.

Negative inquiry

Negative inquiry is a technique of reacting to negative statements and criticism. Accepting the negative comment, you ask the person to provide you with more details, and as a result, receive more information regarding the criticized action or item. Negative inquiry is a good alternative to aggressiveness and irritation.

Mastering assertiveness makes us think better about ourselves and enhance our self-esteem. But sometimes people need some other improvements in their life and personal image to feel more confident in their communication.

There are many ways to brush up or even raise your confidence, and some of them are quite easy and do not require a lot of efforts.

You can find a new hobby, meet with your old friends or start doing new physical exercises. But the most popular way to become more confident is to make some changes to your image. With a professional assistance of image consultants and personal stylist, you may restore your confidence and even open a new page in your career.

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