Assertive communication allows you to express your opinions without blaming or shaming others. However, many people are moved to silence, violence, or other forms of harmful communication, because they don’t know how to be assertive. The good news is that assertiveness, which centres around “I-based” language, is a skill that everyone can learn and apply, both personally and professionally.
I have been teaching assertive communication for some time. It is so exciting, when I see passive people suddenly realize that there are many techniques that they can use to express what is on their minds that don’t require them to move way beyond their comfort zones. Perhaps they are passive because of low self-esteem. Maybe they want to be liked by everyone, or they avoid conflict of any kind because they’ve seen the damage it can do when things were not handled properly. Often, they’ve never realized that to say what is important, they don’t have to be aggressive, which is totally out of character for them. There is a position they can take between passivity and aggression, that with practice, can ensure that their points of view will be heard.
On the other hand, people who are aggressive approach communication with a ‘win all at any cost’ approach involving over-bearing, angry gestures and a barrage of words delivered with great force, leaving no room for others to comment. Passive people usually reward them by stepping back from their line of fire and retreating into the shadows. To maintain good relationships, it is just as important for aggressive people to learn how to communicate assertively – but frankly, it is often difficult for them to pull back, listen and consider other people because their aggressive nature usually produces the desired results.
If you are passive or aggressive (or passive/aggressive) and would like to learn how assertive techniques can give you the power to convey your thoughts without alienating others, and improve morale, productivity and teamwork, please join me on March 18th for my Assertive Communication workshop. Click here for workshop information.