Assertiveness and Personal Communication

Assertiveness is being confident enough to express your own feeling or opinion while still valuing those of others. It involves being clear about your views, What you need and how it can be achieved. This requires confidence and the ability to communicate calmly without attacking another person.

This can be as simple as saying "yes" when you want to, and saying "no" when you mean "no". Or being able to give and receive positive and negative feedback.

The resources below all aim to assist in personal research into this subject. Many are taken from the course 'Personal Effectiveness', if after using this toolkit you would like to book a place on the course please contact the OED team Direct.

  • Communication
  • Motivation
  • Pansophix - Online Guides
  • Reputation
  • Resilience
  • Pansophix - Online Guides

    Pansophix is a website which Lancaster University subscribes to, that provides useful online guides to help with your personal development and your professional development. The guides cover a wide range of subjects but you may find the following relevant to personal effectiveness, assertiveness and personal communication.


    When you enter into a discussion or an argument, there are several different ways in which you might behave and react to the situation.

    For example, if you try to avoid any sort of conflict or feel that your views are less important than others, you’re being passive. In this situation you may use sarcasm, give in resentfully, or remain silent at your own cost. This is the opposite of being aggressive, which is when you feel you always need to get your own way, regardless of other people’s feelings or opinions. You may bottle up feelings that eventually explode, leaving no room for communication.

    Being assertive is completely different to being passive or aggressive. Assertiveness involves clear, calm thinking and respectful negotiation within a space where each person is entitled to their opinion.

    a plan gives you the confidence and ability to open yourself to new thinking and new ideas because you have a focus and this lessens your anxiety. You know that wherever the conversation goes, you can bring it back if you need to and allow it to develop further if you want to.

    Tips to help you structure your verbal communication

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    Reputation is an overall quality or character as viewed by other people and a recognition of some characteristic or ability. Positive reputation can improve your influence in many situations. The tips below have a view of increasing your positive reputation.

    Tips for building your reputation

    Johari's window

    Self perception diagram


    The importance of Exposure
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    Understanding what motivates you can be really important in looking at your career choices, there are four areas of motivation you should consider.

    Physiological needs

    These are the very basic needs such as air, water, food, sleep, etc. when these are not satisfied we may feel sickness, irritation, pain, discomfort etc. these feeling motivate us to alleviate them as soon as possible. Once they are alleviated, we may think about other things. In a career context we may seek good working conditions.

    Security needs

    These needs have to do with establishing stability and consistency. These needs are mostly psychological in nature. In a career context we may see the security of a job, the certainty of a steady income or the prospects of a pension in our later years.


    Humans have a desire to belong to groups: clubs, work groups, religious groups, family, gangs etc. we need to feel loved (non-sexual) by others, to be accepted by others. Performers appreciate applause. We need to be needed. In a career context we may seek friendships through work, supportive relationships or a sense of belonging to a common effort.

    Esteem needs

    There are two types of esteem needs. First is self-esteem which results from competence or mastery of a task. Second, there’s the attention and recognition that comes from others. This is similar to the belongingness level, however, wanting admiration has to do with the need for power. In a career context we may seek a feeling of mastery or accomplishment and/or a sense that we are acknowledged for our contribution; that people notice and value our role.


    The need for self-actualisation is “the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” People who have everything can maximise their potential. They can seek knowledge, peace, aesthetic experiences, self-fulfilment etc. In a career context we may seek the sense that we are being the best we can be, that through our work we find fulfilment, contentment and a sense of complete satisfaction.

    These are not the same as your personal values, it might be worth exploring values further to see what else influences your choices.

    Hierarchy Of Need

    ©Abraham Maslow

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    Tips to build your resilience and self belief

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    Last updated 18/03/2013 (SP)

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