More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Communication Tip: Asserting Yourself

Most people don’t like confrontation. But when you need to confront someone, you need to learn how to address the problem assertively instead of attacking or hoping the problem will go away.

How to Assert Yourself

Assertiveness consists of the following steps:

  1. Take responsibility for your feelings about the situation. The problem exists because you don’t like the situation. Don’t blame, judge, or attack others, because they might not even be aware that they’re bothering you.
  2. Formulate how you are going to address this problem. What is happening that is bothering you? What change do you want to occur? (This process also enables you to calm down so that you can address the problem constructively).
  3. Talk to the person in a calm, supportive manner. Approach the discussion with a problem-solving attitude. The discussion consists of the following steps:
    • State your problem specifically.
    • Say how you’re feeling and how the person’s actions affect you.
    • Specify a solution. State what you would like done.
    • Describe the positive consequences. Tell how the other person will also benefit by making the change.

Tips on Speaking Assertively

  • Speak up immediately. Address the problem as soon as possible.
  • Be direct. State exactly the problem is and how it affects you.
  • Be pleasant. A smile and friendly voice is more likely to persuade others to your point of view.
  • Be calm. By maintaining your composure, you are more likely to gain credibility and support.

If the Other Person Resists

If the other person shows defensiveness or tries to sidetrack you, maintain your composure and repeat your request. Make sure that the other person has listened to, understood, and acted upon your request to your satisfaction.

If the other person has some legitimate reasons for not being able to meet your request, you can recommend some alternative methods of fulfilling your request, but don’t let yourself be diverted from what you want to achieve.