Assertiveness: 5 Basic Habits To Improve Communication

We describe what assertive communication is and show you techniques to develop this skill.

Who has not heard of assertiveness? This term is used a lot lately, but do you really know what it is?

Communication can be passive, aggressive, or assertive, a middle ground that is one of the keys to success in life.

Why do I want to talk about assertiveness

A few days ago I was sitting on the terrace of a bar eating quietly until the behavior of the manager bothered me; He aggressively addressed a waitress, and it wasn’t just what she said but how she said it.

At that moment, the girl’s flushed face and how rushed she was after that downpour fell, and more in public. Inevitably I remembered situations in which I have been treated the same and communicated something with aggressiveness.

I realized that when I remembered it, what made me feel the worst was having communicated passively, that is, allowing different people in different areas of my life to violate me with their way of speaking to me.

However, my communication style changed when I learned to be assertive. For this reason I want to talk to you about assertive communication.

What is assertiveness?

Assertiveness implies being able to express our thoughts, feelings, emotions and decisions in a firm way, respecting ourselves and others.

Therefore, if we are assertive, we do not allow others to decide for us and ignore our ideas, contributions and values. By doing this we are communicating passively. We can also, on the contrary, impose our ideas without taking anyone into account; This is what is known as aggressive communication.

However, in communication it is not only important what is said but the way of saying things is as important or more.

Ways to improve communication

Learning assertive communication techniques, that is, that allow you to respect yourself and others, is essential to achieve your goals or objectives and to feel good with yourself and with others.

Here are some techniques to help you develop or improve your assertive communication. They are simple habits with which, little by little, we will notice that our interactions flow as they have never done before.

1. Understand that no one can read your mind

You may think that your partner knows that you want to go to the cinema to see a premiere, that your family and friends know how much it bothers you that they show up at your house without warning or that your boss knows that you want a promotion.

Probably on many occasions you get angry and frustrated when you see that they do not please or respect you, and these emotions cause you to communicate aggressively or, on the contrary, passively, opting for an attitude and a communication style that ends up harming you and your relationship with others.

If you want people to take into account your wants and needs, say what they are, expressing yourself in a way that others do not feel attacked or offended.

2. Identify what you want and seek to achieve it

Start by identifying your own needs, wants, goals, or objectives. Don’t expect anyone to identify them, much less satisfy them, for you.

Find a way to get what you want without harming others, and if you need help ask openly.

3. Use phrases with “I”

If you use phrases in the first person you reaffirm your ideas, opinions, emotions, wishes and rights. In addition, you will let others know what you think without sounding like an accusation.

For example, in general it is more appropriate and respectful to say “I do not agree” than “You are wrong.”

4. Learn to listen

Assertively communicating implies knowing how to listen correctly and actively. This is only possible with an open attitude towards the message that the other person transmits to us.

Remember: others have the right to think and feel differently than you do.

5. Learn to say “no”

Learn to be aware of your right to say “no” without feeling guilty or obliged to give explanations and excuses. In the same way, others also have the right to say “no” to you.

Benefits of assertive communication

You will surely be increasingly motivated to communicate assertively as you experience the following benefits:

  • Increases  self-esteem and security; people who are able to communicate assertively have healthy self-esteem.
  • It helps you have more confidence in who you are and in what you express.
  • Improve your  emotional well-being.
  • It makes you mature since communication flows with respect and not the search for reason.
  • Help build healthy and constructive social relationships and avoid attracting  toxic people (or worse, becoming one yourself).
  • Allow you to achieve your personal goals, thus avoiding emotional distress.
  • It enables you to set your own limits.
  • It helps you judge your own needs, set your priorities, and make your decisions.
  • It makes it easier to understand mistakes, both your own and those of others. Assertive communication makes us more human.

In conclusion

This article would probably be of great help to the manager I told you about at the beginning of the article, and not just to acquire the ability to communicate assertively.

Through this valuable tool for life, we indirectly acquire leadership and teamwork skills, empathy, self-esteem and, ultimately, emotional well-being.

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