Assertive communication: how to express yourself clearly
In these times, there is a great appeal to communication techniques, a tool that is necessary for the development of society, of the human being as a sociable being and that needs to interrelate in order to survive. Assertive communication is one of the great protagonists for this to happen .
Ideology, creed, religion or any kind of opinion, can be contrary depending on who our interlocutor is, the group we belong to or the social class we belong to. Even within our identity group we can have differences of thought. This is where assertiveness comes in.
Characteristics of assertive communication
We must begin by first defining the concept of assertive communication in order to understand its nature well. To begin with, assertiveness is that skill that people have that can say things in a frank, direct and clear way about what we think or want to say.
All this, of course, avoiding hurting the feelings of the speaker or the audience, being polite and not disparaging the idea of others. This is why the implementation of assertive communication is so complicated. We are all offended when the other person thinks or tells us something that goes against our integrity or thinking. On many occasions, it is the basis of any conflict, whether it is a family or friendship conflict, as well as in the professional field.
In short, assertive communication is the ability of human beings to communicate with respect for others, taking into account verbal ability (debate/discussion), non-verbal language (gestures/expressions) and attitude (respect). Above all, we must respect others if we are to earn the same attitude.
How to improve assertive communication, in 8 steps
Some people have a more or less assertive way of communicating integrated, however, it is not an innate quality. The personality of each person will make us assertive to a greater or lesser degree. Therefore, here are some steps to improve this ability.
We have to identify our oral capacity, our style. How do we debate or argue? As in any kind of solution, we must identify the problem. What prevents us from being more assertive? The language we use is very important. An aggressive style reduces the complicity of the other. A passive attitude, makes us lose ground in the affirmation of our ideas.
2. Learning to listen
This is one of the main requirements for perfecting our communication methods. First of all, learn to listen to others, let them expose their ideas and don’t interrupt them, maintain eye contact and try to show expressiveness . All these steps are essential to gain the receiver’s trust.
3. Speaking in the first person
The most common mistake. You should not question the other person by showing him/her that he/she is in error, making him/her see that he/she is wrong with those ideas that you do not share. Use the “I” as a vehicle for your presentation. Example: “I think this is so” and not “you are wrong”. This little trick avoids the offense or the feeling of accusation.
4. Knowing how to say “no”
You have to know how to oppose an idea or conviction just by saying no. This without having to feel guilty, without making the other person see that we are denying his ideas. It is simply a way of reaffirming our point of view . Although it may seem a lie, a wrong way to use denial often leads to destructive arguments.
5. Search for matches
There are always points in common, always, no matter how confronted one position or idea is with the other, there are elements that can lead us to converge. Looking for common points is a way of negotiating, of being able to get something positive out of it by avoiding extreme positions. In short, to generate a win-win situation. Neither losers nor defeated.
6. Body language
Assertive communication does not have to be exclusive to the use of speech or oratory. Body language can play a role that many do not have. Posture, eye contact, gestures with the hands, smiles , can involve a friendly and empathetic touch with the other.
7. Emotional control
This does not mean that we hide emotions or expressions . We simply need to avoid showing them too much. For example, anger is very difficult to contain when we are angry in an argument or debate, when we are disrespectful. You have to know how to deal with these situations, and in this way you will have a lot to gain. Nor should we make fun of the other, it shows contempt.
8. Fitting in the criticism
The ultimate element of being a good communicator. It is related to the previous point, and often, as human beings, we tend not to accept well the criticism that comes to us from others .
It’s inevitable, but not impossible. When we are criticized, we must know how to accept it, self-criticism makes us gain confidence and respect with others.