Assertive communication: the power of respectful words
Assertive communication is essential in both work and interpersonal relationships. It consists of effectively expressing one’s emotions and ideas while respecting the dignity and opinions of others. This article aims to explore the definition of assertive communication, the importance of this mode of communication, and the skills needed to succeed in it. In fact, very often the focus is only on expressing oneself, without learning to listen and respect the living space of others. Practical tips on how to be assertive will also be explored, clearly with a strong emphasis on the importance of voice, nonverbal communication, and why the Inborn Voice method always succeeds in achieving amazing results.
Assertive communication: definition
Assertive communication is a way of expressing oneself clearly and effectively while respecting the dignity and opinions of others. This communication style is opposed to passive or aggressive communication, striking a balance between self-respect and respect for others.
Being assertive means having the ability to express one’s emotions, thoughts, and needs in a direct manner, without being evasive or passive-aggressive. It is important to communicate assertively in order to establish healthy and constructive relationships, both in the work context and in interpersonal relationships.
Assertive communication is based on some basic characteristics, such as the use of clear and honest language, active listening to the other party, and the ability to express one’s own views and emotions without ignoring or overpowering those of others.
Being assertive requires a deep awareness of oneself and one’s emotions, but above all, a great deal of empathy with the emotions of others. It is important to be able to manage one’s own emotions in a balanced way, weighing those of others correctly to avoid impulsive or aggressive reactions.
Assertive communication is a powerful tool for establishing clear boundaries, negotiating constructively, resolving conflicts collaboratively, and maintaining trusting relationships. It is a skill that can be developed really easily even with just a few hours of practicing the Inborn Voice method and practicing in the family/work environment.
Deepening assertive communication
As you may have guessed, assertive communication is a fundamental skill not only in the work context, but also in interpersonal relationships. We will now explore the importance of assertive communication, analyze its modalities, and find out what you need to develop in order to be assertive.
Usefulness of assertive communication in daily life
- Expressing your feelings clearly: For example, you might tell a friend or partner who hurt you in some way, explaining how you felt because of their actions. You might say, “When you did X, I felt sad and disappointed. I wish we could discuss this and figure out together how to prevent this from happening again.”
- Establish personal boundaries: If someone is invading their personal space, you might assertively communicate what your expectations are. For example, if someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, you can say, “I’m sorry, I don’t feel comfortable doing that. I’d rather do something else.”
- Defend your opinions without being aggressive: If you have an opinion that differs from that of a friend or family member, you can express it respectfully and assertively. For example, you might say, “I understand your point of view, but I have a slightly different perspective. I think that…”
Assertive communication is of great importance because it allows people to express their emotions and ideas clearly and effectively, while respecting the dignity and opinions of others. This communication style differs from aggression, which prioritizes winning at the cost of others’ rights and needs. Assertive communication, on the other hand, seeks a balance between self-respect and respect for others.
Assertive communication mode
There are different communication modes that can be adopted in different situations. Two of the styles opposed to assertive communication are the passive style and the aggressive style. In the former, one avoids expressing one’s point of view for fear of being judged, while in the latter, one expounds one’s positions without considering the rights of others. Assertive communication, on the other hand, seeks to respect the opinions of others without neglecting one’s own needs.
Here are the main differences between the two approaches:
- Assertive communication: Assertive communication involves the direct and clear expression of one’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions in a respectful manner. People who adopt an assertive communication style are able to express their needs and desires without violating the rights of others. This communication style promotes mutual trust and understanding within relationships, encouraging peaceful conflict resolution.
- Passive-aggressive communication: In contrast, passive-aggressive communication involves indirect behaviors and subtle ways of expressing anger or hostility. People who adopt a passive-aggressive style may avoid direct confrontations and may express their disagreement or anger in subtle ways, such as deliberately ignoring requests, procrastinating, or using sarcasm. This communication style can undermine trust and transparency in relationships, leading to a buildup of tension and unresolved conflicts.
Avoiding passive-aggressive behavior is important for building relationships based on trust and mutual understanding.
Relational skills for being assertive
Being assertive requires a number of fundamental interpersonal skills, all of which are included in the soft communication skills that are taught in the Inborn Voice method. These skills include the ability to express one’s needs clearly and directly, without fear of being judged or rejected. It is certainly important to control tone of voice and body language as well, but the direct transmission of emotions is infinitely more important. Finally, being assertive also means respecting the opinions of others without giving up your own point of view.
How to be assertive?
We will now explore three basic aspects of developing assertiveness:
Expressing your needs assertively
To be assertive, it is important to be able to communicate effectively what we need. This means first understanding intimately and deeply what our needs, desires and opinions are, so that we can then express them clearly and directly, without fear of being judged or rejected. Too often aggressive communication is taught by passing it off as assertive.
The importance of tone of voice and body language
In addition to the words we use, our tone of voice and body language are key elements in communicating assertively. Do not be fooled by those who claim that a calm and confident tone of voice, combined with a relaxed and open posture, is necessary to convey confidence and respect. The Inborn Voice method has shown in more than one university study that this does not correspond to reality; indeed, adopting this style almost always leads the other party to think you are faking it. Assertive communication must in every way convey deep emotions, just as the Inborn Voice method teaches. If you are hurt deep down, it will not be at all easy to remain in a calm and relaxed voice!
Respecting the opinions of others without losing your own point of view
Being assertive does not mean ignoring or devaluing the opinions of others. On the contrary, it is more important to be able to listen to and understand others than to be able to convey one’s own ideas. Do not be fooled by the fairy tale of balancing respect for others with the validity of one’s own opinions. Almost all people who are convinced that they have developed assertive communication, when they learn the Inborn Voice method find that they are aggressive!
Being assertive takes practice and awareness, but it can bring many personal and professional benefits. By developing the ability to express your needs assertively, using appropriate tone of voice and body language, and respecting the opinions of others without losing your own point of view, you can create more harmonious relationships and achieve goals successfully.
Here are some examples of exercises to develop assertive communication:
- Role-playing: Practice difficult conversations or situations where you have to be assertive with a trusted friend or partner. Practice both in the role of the assertive speaker and the role of the listener.
- Keeping a journal: Keep track of situations in which you could have been more assertive in expressing your needs or accommodating those of the other person. Writing is a good activity even if it does not use your voice or interaction with others.
- Breathing and relaxation exercises: Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques to manage stress and anxiety that can hinder your ability to communicate assertively.
- Practice empathy: Put yourself in the shoes of others and try to understand their perspectives. This will help you communicate assertively and better understand how your communication can affect others.
- Ask for feedback: Ask a friend or family member to give you honest feedback about your communication. Ask them to point out specific situations where you could improve and take note of their advice.
These exercises can help you become more aware of your communication style and improve your assertive skills over time, and if you would like more information about starting your own personal training with the Inborn Voice method you can use the contact form or you can book a voice assessment meeting to find out what your current communication patterns really are.
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