Last week, we discussed assertiveness and what it means to be assertive. This week, we will be looking at various practical techniques that clients at Healing Path Counselling Services often find helpful in implementing.
There are a number of simple but effective communication techniques that you can use to become more assertive. These are:
Use “I” Statements
Use “I want”, “I need” or “I feel” to convey basic assertions and get your point across firmly. For example, “I feel strongly about…” or “I believe we should…”
Always try to recognize and understand how the other person views the situation. Then, after taking their point of view into consideration, express what you need from them.
If your first attempts at asserting yourself have been unsuccessful, then you may need to escalate the matter further. This means becoming firmer (though still polite and respectful) with the person who you are requesting something from. This could also mean that you may end up telling them what you will do next if you still aren’t satisfied. However, remember that, regardless of the consequences that you communicate to the person in question, you may still not get what you want in the end.
Ask for More Time
Sometimes, it’s best not to say anything. You might be too emotional or you might not know what it is that you want yet. If this is the case, be honest and tell the person that you need a few minutes to compose your thoughts. For example, you could say “This situation has caught me off guard. I want some time to process and we can touch base in a few hours.”
Change Your Verbs
Try using verbs that are more definite and emphatic when you communicate. This will help you to send a clear message and avoid “sugar-coating” your message so much that people are left confused by what it is that you want from them. To do this, use verbs like “will” instead of “could” or “should,” “want” instead of “need,” or “choose to” instead of “have to.”
Be a Broken Record
With circumstances that you know ahead of time, you can prepare the message that you want to convey. If people still don’t get the message, then keep restating your message using the same language, and don’t relent. Eventually they will likely realize that you really mean what you’re saying.
If you or someone you know would like to work on assertiveness and self-confidence, please connect at Healing Path Counselling Services.
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