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Developing Assertive Communication Skills

A leader presenting after developing assertive communications skills with Learn2

Effective communication is fundamental in procuring personal and professional success. People may shy away from being assertive because they do not want to be perceived as aggressive. However, developing assertive communication skills are imperative when hoping to prioritize clarity and dispel confusion.

What is Assertive Communication?

Assertive communication is a respectful form of engaging in dialogue, whether in the workplace or amongst peers. It’s a way to very clearly communicate your intentions in ways that build trust and mitigate the opportunity for conflict. Assertive communication, in its forwardness and expressiveness, shows others you have the confidence and competence to believe in yourself – and your message. It also demonstrates respect for others’ time and the ability to grapple with poignant thoughts and feelings.

The Benefits of Being Assertive in the Workplace

Being assertive is landing somewhere between being passive and aggressive. It’s that sweet spot of communication that builds healthy understanding and relationships. When you are assertive, you:

  • Empower yourself and others to clearly understand your message
  • Enhance communication skills and build trust among peers
  • Persuade others to buy into your positioning
  • Demonstrate job competence and leadership skills
  • Avoid negative feelings associated with being misunderstood or misrepresented

How to Develop Assertive Communication Skills

Being assertive requires forethought and practice, but it’s worth doing as it can build effective communication, making organizations run more efficiently. The benefits are immense, and the avoidance of assertiveness can lead to a (professional) life that isn’t nearly as seamless or rewarding as it could be.

1. Recognize Your Value And Boundaries

When you know what you bring to the table, you will be less likely to speak in a manner that is demonstrative of self-doubt. Self-confidence will empower you to articulate your value and stand your ground when others push up against your healthy boundaries.

2. Speak Your Truth and Clearly State Your Needs

When communicating, people cannot read your mind. Even if something seems obvious to you (e.g., that a timeline is unrealistic), if you do not communicate that need, you are setting yourself up to feel resentful. Speak about what you want in a way that is factual, calm and goal-oriented, and you will start to see how others respond in accordance with this increased understanding surrounding what you require to be successful.

3. Don’t Internalize Other People’s Responses

If you know you have communicated clearly, fairly and respectfully, you do not have to feel guilty for being assertive. Should someone else react in an unproductive manner to your assertiveness, that does not mean you should resort to passive behaviors. Continue to try to build understanding with that individual, but do not allow their lack of self-confidence to impede your own.

Connect With Learn2 To Develop Assertive Communication Skills in Your Organization

Whether you are a leader looking to enhance your personal communication style or you would like to build organizational communication capacity, reach out to Learn2. We can help you figure out the best way to develop confidence, empathy and competence.

About Author

Caroline (Carol) Assalian is a Performance Strategist and Business Coach who elevates performance of organizations, teams and individuals through strategy and leadership. A former athlete, coach and 25-year experienced and respected international executive with a proven track record of delivering results. Her innovative leadership and work with high achievers and world-class teams transformed the way in which thousands of athletes, coaches and organizations prepare for and perform at the Olympic Games. Her national and international recognition includes Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, 5-time recipient of Canada’s most influential women in sport and physical activity, Inductee Concordia University Sports Hall of Fame, representative of 200+ National Olympic Committees for the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and continental representative for the Association of National Olympic Committees. Today, Caroline teaches, motivates and creates a customized blueprint for clients to elevate performance and achieve results in a sound, sustainable and ethical manner.


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