Become More Assertive

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

How are you doing on noticing when you should be more assertive? Have you realized what the cause of your communication style is? Are you trying to change that a little bit at a time? Have you spent time evaluating what you want in life and why you have gotten it or haven’t gotten it? Over the next two weeks we will talk about ways to become more assertive.

Being aware of the barriers to assertiveness is the first step. Enhancing your level of assertiveness is the next step. There are many components to assertive behavior. A few of these components might surprise you.

Take your time and progress slowly. Keeping your stress levels under control makes progress much easier.

Non-Verbal Behavior

Your communication with those around you goes beyond your words. A lot of it is non-verbal. Optimizing your posture, body movements, and tone of voice will show the world that you’re relevant and deserve respect.

Try these positive body language strategies:

1. Maintain good eye contact. People that are passive tend to look up, down, and all around. But they rarely look the other person directly in the eye. Aggressive people can have too much eye contact. It’s not a staring contest.

• Displaying an effective amount of eye contact will take some practice. If you know someone that communicates especially well, notice how much eye contact they maintain when speaking.

• Aim for 50% of the time while speaking and 75% while listening. Every situation is different.

2. Stand and sit tall. If you want to be assertive, it’s important to stand and sit up straight. Those that are passive try to appear smaller than they really are. Be honest with your size and presence.

3. Uncross your arms and legs. You’re assertive so you have nothing to hide. Stand or sit relaxed with your limbs uncrossed. Otherwise, you’ll look closed off and unapproachable.

We draw a lot of conclusions from the non-verbal behavior we witness in others. If you find that people tend to ignore you, your non-verbal communication could use a little work. Avoid discounting the importance of this topic. There are many books devoted to the topic. Consider obtaining one.

Give Your Opinion

Giving an opinion isn’t easy for everyone. Let others know what you think and you’ll open yourself up to judgment and criticism. However, giving opinions is a great way to start growing assertive, more effective communication skills. Start sharing your opinion today.

Make a rule that you’ll always give your opinion when asked. From now on, if you’re asked:

• “What do you want for dinner?”

• “What restaurant do you want to go to?”

• “What should we do about little Johnny’s grades?”

• “Where should we take a vacation?”

Give your opinion! Having an opinion means your present in the moment and in the conversation. No more saying, “I don’t know. It’s up to you.”

Use these techniques to start giving your opinion freely:

1. Practice. It’s hard to become good at anything without practice. Speak up whenever you get a chance.

2. Avoid apologizing for an opinion. When you’ve crossed a line, apologizing is appropriate. But you have the right to an opinion. There’s no reason to start an opinion with, “I’m sorry for saying this, but…….” If your significant other is looking at clothes to buy, it’s okay to tell him that you don’t care for it.

3. Start giving your opinion whenever asked. They asked for it, so let them have it. Be polite, but tell the world what you think.

Giving an opinion is an important part of communication. You’ll find most conversations fall apart quickly if no one is willing to share an opinion. Enhanced non-verbal communication and giving your opinion is a great start.