Being assertive involves clearly stating your thoughts, needs and wishes whilst still remaining tolerant and respectful of others. Learning to be assertive takes practice, so don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t come straight away.
Assertive communication includes three steps:
- Giving your answer
- Stating your reason
- Showing understanding.
The following is an example of assertive communication:
Pat: Just have some, your parents will never know.
Sophie: No thanks, I don’t want to risk it. They probably won’t find out but if they do I’ll be grounded for life.
Providing reasons for your decision makes it very difficult for people to continue exerting pressure. There will be the occasional person who will keep trying, but most people will stop. Usually people will see that it’s a waste of their time and will drop the subject pretty quickly.
Being comfortable with your decision will come across in your body language. You can communicate assertively by:
- Keeping a clear firm voice, speaking clearly and deliberately
- Maintaining eye contact
- Facing the person with your body so that you do not look like you are hiding
- Having a facial expression that says what you mean.