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7 Tips On How To Be Assertive

By David Hoang

Assertiveness is standing up for yourself without violating the rights of other people. It is the honest and appropriate expression of one’s feelings that can result to positive and constructive outcome.

According to studies most people tend to lack assertiveness for many different reasons that usually involve lack of confidence, a low self esteem and the need to please other people at the expense of oneself because he or she is afraid to be disliked.

Due to these reasons people tend to lose themselves and their sense of identity in the workplace or in a certain social environment. Another commonly unwanted effect is when they get taken for granted by the people they work with leading to abuse and lack of power with those you interact with.

This is why you should learn the art of assertiveness in order to get your point across. Here are some helpful ways on how to develop this useful skill.

Say What You Think


Many employees tend to hold back what they want to say in corporate meetings because they do not want to “rock the boat”. They want to be viewed by the management as loyal and easy to work with. This is why they don’t voice out what they really think or how they really feel about certain issues that take place.

This, although may help you gain a short-term positive impression for seeming to be agreeable, it actually defeats the purpose in the long run. Not being able to express your own original ideas can take a toll on you.

If certain tasks, policies or agendas are being discussed that can affect your position you need to remember that it’s better to get your message across and get things over with, instead of beating yourself up eventually for not being able to at least try.

Use “I” Statements

A good thing to remember when you are exercising your right to speak up is to use assertiveness communication. One of the ways in delivering an assertive form of speech is to begin the use of the word “I” in your statements.

This will emphasize your sense of individuality, “I” as a person. A good example is “I strongly think that the priority should be training quality over staff production,” instead of saying, “You should prioritize training quality over staff production.”

Also, notice that when you begin your statement with the pronoun “You” it can unconsciously portray that you are attacking the person you are talking to, thus he or she will become more defensive and guarded around you.

This is true in a psychological perspective as well. During group psychotherapy sessions, people are encouraged to use “I” instead of “You” because it doesn’t sound accusatory. Thus, allowing the listener to keep their guards down and get the message across.

Ask for Help

Part of being assertive is the ability to develop an interpersonal relationship among your workmates, colleagues or co workers. One way to do this is to learn to ask for their help when you do not know certain workarounds or procedures. Many people are scared to do this because they do not feel like they deserve people’s time.

This is an inappropriate mentality because more time is being wasted while you figure out certain things on your own instead of simply asking.

It doesn’t make you less or a person if you ask for people’s help and besides, you can’t always assume that you know every answer to every question.

Learn to Say NO

“No” means “No”. Unfortunately, for some people “No” means “Yes”! They are afraid to say “No” for fear of sounding arrogant or distasteful. There is nothing wrong with saying “No” as long as you can justify yourself.

Many people tend to complain about their immense workloads each day when they go home from work without realizing that being able to just say “No” could have saved them the agitation.

The biggest reason for attrition and lack or motivation is because some people couldn’t say “No” to employers who tend to assign their staff with tasks that were no longer stipulated in their job descriptions at the onset, thus expectations were not clearly set.

Instead of this being the fault of the employer, the employee suffers because he or she just couldn’t say “No” for fear of losing the job. Always make sure that when you strongly do not agree with an idea, offer or designation, you can firmly say “No” and clearly indicate your reasons.

On Confrontations

Before you even step into the “battlefield” one must always come prepared, therefore, you need to be able to have practiced what you are about to say, sharpen your mental faculty and weighed all possible options.

Some employees back down from the opportunity to confront their colleagues, supervisors, trainers or co workers because they do not think it is a professional and an acceptable behavior.

The truth is, by being able to confront certain issues or dilemmas one is actually making his or her workplace better because it is an opportunity to correct misinterpretations and can suggest a better resolution to problems.

Talking things out is the best way to create a healthy workplace. And besides, pretending that the problem does not exist is worse than the problem itself.

Short but Concise

There is a common knowledge among managers that goes, “Your word should be as precious as gold.” This means that you should assert yourself in a short, direct and clear method. Do not waste your words by talking too much or by sugarcoating.

Go straight to the point. Say things the way you see them. This allows people to respond to you with regard and respect for your honesty and accuracy.

Prolonging the talk and beating around the bush won’t get you anywhere and it can easily bore people into not listening to what you have to say.

Ask Questions

When you do not know the answer, ask! Do not pretend to know the answer because it will lessen your credibility. Assertive people know do not necessarily have to know everything about their jobs or their company, but they have a special gift- their ability to find the answers by asking.

They are not ashamed to ask and admit that they don’t know the answer, so the next time your boss or colleague asks you about something you don’t know about, just tell him or her that you don’t know it yet but you’ll get back to him or her on it. Then be inquisitive enough to look for the answer.

Lastly, always remember that being assertive is different from being aggressive. Aggression roots from a place of arrogance and lack of respect for other people, while assertiveness is the ability to stand up to your beliefs which highly develops your self esteem and confidence.

About the Author

Author’s bio: David Hoang works as a copywriter for custom research papers service. He used to be a psychologist, but he decided to change his career. In this case, David has an opportunity to tell others how to behave in different situations.


The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.


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