ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION: How to be a great communicator

ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION: How to be a great communicator

Assertive communication is a valuable skill that can help you express your thoughts, feelings, and needs effectively while respecting the rights and boundaries of others. Here are my top 10 tips for practicing assertive communication:

  1. Use "I" Statements: Start your statements with "I" to express your own feelings, thoughts, and perspectives. For example, say, "I feel..." or "I think..." instead of using accusatory language that puts others on the defensive. This also allows you to refrain from projection and assumption which makes most conversations worse!
  2. Be Clear and Direct: Clearly and directly express your message without beating around the bush or using vague language. State your needs or concerns in a straightforward manner, using specific examples if necessary.
  3. Maintain Calm and Composure: Stay calm and composed during the conversation, even if the situation is challenging. Take deep breaths, speak in a steady tone, and keep your body language open and relaxed. If the conversation is altering your calm and composed state offer a timeout or break from the conversation and come back to it at a later stage.
  4. Active Listening: Give the other person your full attention and actively listen to their perspective. Repeat or paraphrase their points to ensure understanding and show that you value their input. Also remember we can have more than one perspective of things, that doesn't mean you must convince the other person your perspective is right. They can both simply co-exist.
  5. Use Non-Verbal Cues: Pay attention to your non-verbal communication, such as maintaining eye contact, using appropriate facial expressions, and having open and relaxed body language. Non-verbal cues can support the assertive message you're conveying.
  6. Set Boundaries: Clearly define and communicate your personal boundaries. Be firm but respectful in expressing what is acceptable and what is not for you. Practice saying "no" when necessary and assertively declining requests that go against your boundaries is very important and also sets the standard of how others will treat you.
  7. Practice Empathy: Acknowledge and validate the feelings and perspectives of others, even if you disagree. Show empathy and try to understand their point of view, fostering an environment of mutual respect is important in creating trust.
  8. Problem-Solving Approach: Instead of assigning blame or becoming defensive, focus on finding solutions. Collaborate with the other person to identify common goals and work together to address the issue at hand by remembering you are a team against the problem.
  9. Practice Assertiveness in Everyday Situations: Look for opportunities in your daily life to practice assertive communication. It can be as simple as expressing your preferences, asking for clarification, or asserting yourself in a respectful manner. Even when the doubtful thoughts creep in push past them as practicing such skills in controlled situations will allow you to use assertive communication even more efficiently in more heated moments.
  10. Seek Support and Practice: If assertive communication feels challenging, consider seeking support from a therapist such as myself as there could be something underlying such as low self-esteem, negative self talk, phobia and the list goes on.

Remember, assertive communication is a skill that takes practice and patience to develop. It's about finding a balance between expressing yourself honestly and respectfully. By practicing these tips consistently, you can become more confident in assertively expressing your thoughts and needs.

Happy Communicating, Jassmine.

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