Do you have a hard time saying no or experience feelings of guilt when you do? Maybe you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and have no problem saying no, and actually seek opportunities to bark a big fat “Not just no but BEEP no!” Do people often ask you to speak up or worse, cringe and cover their ears when you speak? Do you avoid eye contact when communicating or scowl? If any of these describe you or someone you know at any time, it’s time for an assertiveness training boost.
Some people may find it hard to express themselves at times for fear of being offensive or even being considered ignorant, where others are overly expressive, appearing frustrated or hostile at times, often for the same reasons.
First things first, aggression in no way, models assertiveness. Many individuals mistakenly believe that loud retorts and defensive posture demonstrate assertiveness and confidence. In all actuality, others view these individual’s behaviors as oppositional, angry, intimidating, and even threatening. On the other hand, pushing the “mute” button, instead of speaking up when one is being misused and disrespected displays lack of confidence and strength. These individuals often feel they are just being “nice” yet are often frustrated due to the lack of consideration they seem to encounter quite often. The happy balance that allows a person to gain the respect and appreciation desired is assertiveness.
1.” No” means “No.” Not saying “NO!” in a mean way. A nice but firm “No.” is always satisfactory, however, you can always use alternative ways to gently decline.
“That’s an inconvenient time for me; unfortunately I won’t be able to assist you.”
“Thank you however, I’m going to explore other available options before deciding.”
“This is not a good fit.”
2. Avoid hostile/angry tone and body language. Especially profanity, these are not professional therefore inappropriate in the work place. In any situation however, these behaviors make others uncomfortable and unwilling to listen or cooperate. Furthermore, maintaining composure and confidence is more powerful than angry ranting.
3. Receiving compliments is not vain or arrogant; it’s acknowledging respect and appreciation. Accept compliments gracefully. A simple “thank you” will suffice. However, never downplay complements with replies like “this old thing?” or “I try.” These lack confidence and sometimes come across as fake or arrogant.
Accepting compliments with ease accomplishes two things, deserved recognition and establishes a history. When a person has been often misused, una
with seemingly no appreciation, sometimes it’s is due to a lack of memory on the handlers part. When you receive compliments well, you help establish a history for those you come in contact with often. However, some people just lack respect, don’t be pulled or pressured in to doing things you don’t want to do or feel uncomfortable doing by the likes of them.
Activities that build confidence and drive assertiveness are highly recommended. If you would like to improve your speaking skills, whether for public speaking, work, or family, Toastmasters International is an excellent organization to join. The organization is comprised of several chapters worldwide where each is made up of locals from various backgrounds and cultures, whose ultimate purpose is to improve their communication skills in the workplace, every day, and at home. The Beaufort/Lady’s Island chapter is headed by E.G. Sebastian, Author, Speaker, and Leadership Development Coach. Mr. Sebastian was once very shy and timid when it came to public speaking, in his words; he would be filled with anxiety close to passing out and tears prior to a speaking event. Now public speaking is his career and he loves it. The local chapter meets every 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. Visit the website here to get more information or find a local chapter in your area: Toastmasters Club. E.G. Sebastian provides other helpful resources visit these websites for more information:
Martial Arts training and dance lessons are other activities that are not only great confidence builders, but also fun and healthy. Earlier this month the article Learn to dance with The Movement Dance Company provided information about the upcoming meet and greet with Megan Howe, the company’s proprietor and dance instructor. Please refer to that page for more information on the dance class schedule and styles of dance lessons available.
Finally, forever remember: You have the right to be assertive, everything you do and say should not be held against you: You have the right to be respected. You have the right to fairness. You have the right to say no. You have the right to get what you paid for. You have the right to ask for what you want. You have the right to be listened too and understood. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your opinion does not mean you should change your opinion. Just because someone gets mad when you say no, doesn’t mean you should have said yes. Start today; implement your rights to assertiveness. You are a GO, at this station.
Thank you for reading, to get updates on related articles and other tips please hit the subscribe button at the top, it’s free and only requires an email address. Until next time remember:
“The practice of assertiveness: being authentic in our dealings with others; treating our values and persons with decent respect in social contexts; refusing to fake the reality of who we are or what we esteem in order to avoid disapproval; the willingness to stand up for ourselves and our ideas in appropriate ways in appropriate contexts”. Nathaniel Branden