November 2016: Assertiveness is not for wimps

Becoming more assertive is not just something that wimps need to do or indeed those with an aggressive streak who go around verbally roughing up their colleagues. We can all benefit from tuning up the way that we get our messages across. Think about the number of meetings that you have been in during which you have been happy to chirp in on the easy stuff but have held back when things became either controversial (you were worried about offending) or boring (you couldn’t be bothered to offend).

Consider the number of conversations that you have put off in the last week because you were trying to find the right words or a good moment (or excuse) to kick it off.

Being assertive results in giving people ‘whole’ messages that are worth paying attention to – that make it easy for the recipient to process. That’s why being assertive works. Getting ourselves into a more assertive set of habits also results in us getting off our metaphorical bottoms to have the tough conversation, to do the generous thing, to take the uncomfortable action.

So, two things at this stage. What is assertiveness? And secondly how do we ‘do it’?

In the next webinar on Friday 25th November 2016 I’ll go into detail, but here are the 3 main ingredients to play about with until then.

Feelings

We all have them, people can see us having them, we know we’re having them but we often pretend that we’re either not having a feeling at all or that we are having one which is different to the real one. Phew! Feelings are the most pertinent element of a message. They are the calibration. Our feelings tell us how important something is to us and gives us a means to express that to another person. Why would we not mention the feeling? Bonkers.

Specificity

Horrible word. We need to nail the key element of our message – then we’re making it easy for the other person to process it. A specific message is like a pea on a plate – it’s easy to spot what it is.

Brevity

For the most part we bury important messages in words and actions. We often do this to cover our real meaning for fear of offending (the irony). When we are brief we make ourselves easy to listen to. We become less tiring to deal with.

Assertiveness is simply a concept, a verbal handle to describe a collection of things that we can do to get our messages across. With a little foresight and awareness, it’s something that we can all build up to make ourselves more effective. What are you going to play with?

·       Mentioning your feelings?

·       Being specific?

·       Being brief?

Let me know.

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