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.
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.
- Being Influential
- Create a New You
- De-Stress You
- Goal setting
- Overcoming Anxiety
- Personal Branding
- Self management
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
- What do I hope this conversation will achieve?
- What might the other person/people be thinking about the situation? What is their map of the world?
- What might they want to achieve?
- What are my concerns?
- What may their concerns be?
- How could we manage our mutual concerns?
- Am I making any assumptions, if so what are they?
- What is the checklist of things we need to discuss?
- What is the right time and place to have this conversation?
- Write a plan which covers all the above points. (This is not in order to read from a script but to clarify your thinking before hand, reading from a script or plan would lessen your ability to influence rather than increase it.)
- Rehearse, with someone you trust who can give you feedback or at least rehearse out loud by yourself. Speaking aloud is very different from running something through in your mind. You will “hear” different things.
- Review your plan after practice and change it if you feel you need to.
- Practice again!
- Make sure that you practice enough so that your plan is firmly in your mind as you enter the conversation.
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
- Go to conferences and training courses and talk to a variety of people
- Offer to present at conferences and meetings
- Prepare well for meetings and research areas you want to talk about
- Join on line discussion groups
- Social networking – this can also have a negative effect on your reputation. Check that there is nothing on yours or other people’s social networking sites that you wouldn’t be happy for work colleagues to see
- Keep in touch – send interesting articles or other information to people
- Focus on other people’s needs – do things for others without expecting anything in return
- Offer to join working groups
- Arrive at meetings a bit early to talk to people
- Don’t automatically send an e-mail – pick up the phone or arrange to meet
- Write articles for in house publications
- Publicise your good work
- Present an image of a positive thinker
Understanding what motivates you can be really important in looking at your career choices, there are four areas of motivation you should consider.
Physiological needsThese 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 needsThese 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.
AffiliationHumans 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 needsThere 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.
Self-actualisationThe 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.
Tips to build your resilience and self belief
- List three reasons why your views are valued and valuable
- Create a support network that can help and encourage you; cheerleaders are very important
- Combat stress, stress is the enemy of resilience
- Read motivational books and articles, watch motivational films
- Avoid “awfulising” – letting your thoughts about how awful you or the situation are to spiral out of control
- List all the positive things about yourself (we tend to dwell on the negative)
- If other people praise you, accept it as real
- Practice visualising success, not failure
- Use positive language
- I will…..not I should
- Am going to……not I will try to
- I could if…….not I can’t because
- Congratulate yourself when things go well
- If you have a problem that you can do something about, do it – if you cannot do anything about it then incorporate it into your plans rather than keep wishing that it was different
- Acknowledge and learn from your mistakes but do not spend a lot of time or energy blaming yourself or others
You may also be interested in:
Last updated 18/03/2013 (SP)