This time, I want to share some assertive techniques for those of you trying to learn how to be assertive, without being aggressive. It’s a fine line and can be just downright scary to use our voices sometimes. What I share with clients is the understanding that using our voice is not just important for social justice but also for out internal peace. We all want to avoid that little voice that gnaws at us when we feel we should have said something in a situation. Think about these techniques and let me know what you think. Connect with me if you have any question email@example.com
The most important advice I want to impart on you is you have to feel safe to use your voice. Look around and ascertain you feel SAFE in the environment you’re in and safe conversing with the person. If not, I recommend you leave (if possible) the conversation and come back to it when you feel safe. Safety is the most important feeling.
1.Reframe, repeat, reframe
- Be persistent and keep saying what you want/need again and again. Sometimes it takes a message some time to get internalized by the person we’re talking with.
- If the situation is evoking anger, defensivnes, fear… practice accepting the feeling by acknowledging it and promise to revisit these feelings. You can do that when you’re alone, talking with a trusted advisor or with a therapist (a little about me: I have an amazing therapist that helps me unpack a lot of the heavy load sitting in my soul. I highly recommend therapy if you feel you need it- but be sure to find a therapist that you feel comfortable and safe with)
- Practice reframing thoughts. For example, you can practice by choosing a simple sentence/point and imagine that different characters are expressing this point. You can describe it as an accountant would. Or an opera singer…. Reframing is one of the most powerful tool in assertive communication. Why? Because sometimes the way we communicate and the language we use is not the language the other person understands. We all have a different way of communicating and understanding language and messages.
- Learn to listen to the other person and follow-up on the personal information people offer about themselves. This information gives you something to talk about. In other words, practice active and caring listening. Active listening is a skill no one is born with. It’s a skill you learn, re-learn and hone. So if you feel that listening is a skill you haven’t honed- connect with me and we can see if we can be of service to you.
3.Share of Yourself.
- Share information about yourself. What motivates you, what and why a particular matter is important to you. If there’s a cultural element you feel is important to how you communicate, be open and clear about it. For example: as an Eastern European I am prone to awfulizing. This information gives context to who I am and how I receive information; and that is an important part of being confident enough to assert yourself when talking with me. And the people in my life know this and communicate with me accordingly.
4.Set the common ground.
- How do you deal with criticism and disagreement? It difficult not to let anger and frustration take control of your thoughts and the conversation. This skill takes a long time to develop and stick to. It’s a habit that needs to be learned and relearned many times- if you fall of the peace-making wagon, don’t despair! Allow yourself the grace and time to get back onto that wagon. What you can do to help yourself manage criticism with grace:
- Find a statement in the conversation that you agree with. Agree with any possible truth that you find. Agree with the general truth in a logical statement such as, “That makes sense…” Or “I can see that from your point of view…” This way you acknowledge that you are doing your best to try to find common ground.
*Use clear language and be prepared to end a conversation if you feel unsafe or unheard. *