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    Assertive communication: how to avoid getting stepped on

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    Joe Dispenza
    @joedispenza
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    Assertive communication: simple strategies for communicating without getting your feet on your head.

    We can have all the means of communication in the world, but nothing, absolutely nothing, replaces the gaze of the human being.

    Paulo Coelho

    Have you ever felt slack during a conversation or have you ever had the feeling of failing to enforce your point of view?


    Maybe you also get the impression that your words don't have the impact you would like and always feel a sense of general passivity?


    Don't despair!

    It happens because it is very difficult balance your way of communicating, but in this article we will see how to do it.

    Before we reveal the 3 most effective strategies for communicating assertively, however, we must have the 3 in mind types of communication.

    3 ways of being and communicating with others

    # 1 The aggressive type

    The person who communicates aggressively has a tendency to put themselves and themselves first submit his interlocutor, manipulating it or raising your voice.

    The aggressive type tries to establish itself as a leader or commander, often belittling the successes of others and valuing their own; he also has a tendency to issue sentences on everyone and to interrupt speeches without letting his interlocutor express himself.


    But why do people take an aggressive attitude?

    Often they do not do it out of wickedness, but to try to appear stronger, more manly or more authoritative of what I am.


    Sometimes the cause of this behavior is to be found in basic insecurity, discomfort, self-esteem problems or more simply you want to avoid fully understanding the interlocutor.

    # 2 The passive type

    The passive mentality is typical of those who do not want to get involved in discussions, suffer from low self-esteem, want to be accepted or do not perceive their fundamental rights as valid.

    We engage in passive behavior when we leave other people too much decision-making power over our lives, systematically seek their approval, or when we do not react to unfounded criticism.

    Ultimately, passive people have a tendency to put other eaters on the pedestal completely devalue oneself.

    # 3 The assertive type

    The assertive person is in perfect balance with the previous two personalities, which leads to several advantages.

    1. The assertive puts himself and his interlocutor on the same level.
    2. Those who communicate assertively know how to say No when necessary.
    3. The assertive person listens without judging but without being subjected.
    4. The assertive person knows how to evaluate criticisms in the correct way and knows when they have a basis or not.
    5. Assertiveness allows you to significantly reduce anxiety, discomfort and stress.

    Basically communicate assertively it means asserting one's rights without denying those of others.


    Before understanding how assertive communication works, let's see a short story to better understand the potential of this mental attitude.


    A magnificent parable on communication

    One day, a blind man was sitting on the steps of a building with a hat at his feet and a sign reading: "I am blind, help me please".

    A publicist walking nearby stopped and noticed that he only had a few cents in his hat.

    He bent down and poured more coins, then, without asking the man's permission, took the sign, turned it over and wrote another sentence.

    That same afternoon the advertiser returned to the blind man and noticed that his hat was full of coins and banknotes.

    The blind man recognized the man's step: he asked if he hadn't rewritten his sign and what he had written.

    The advertiser replied "Nothing that wasn't true, I just rewrote yours differently", smiled and walked away.

    The blind man never knew that now on his sign it was written: "Today is spring and I cannot see it".

    This story is beautiful, isn't it? What does this story teach us?

    When we communicate, the message is the most important content to consider.


    Very often, for example, you see well-packaged but really low-value products and services.

    We must therefore take note that the effective communication (or the assertive one) it never replaces the message value but it amplifies it to give it more prominence.


    It is therefore not a question of selling the smoke of a bad roast but of presenting an excellent roast well.

    Now that we have clarified the issues related to communication, let's finally see the 3 strategies for communicating assertively.

    The 3 secrets of assertive communication

    # 1 The first secret ingredient of communication

    Have you ever talked to a person who is passionate about a certain topic?

    Surely you have noticed how engaging the assertive communication we have when we are moved by passion and enthusiasm can be.

    Being passionate about what we want to communicate is a great help, and above all spontaneous, to improve the way we communicate.

    If we are not passionate about a subject it is much more difficult to convey in a way charismatic what we mean.

    Instead when there is the fire of passion in what we say, we are automatically more involved and consequently we involve others.

    If you notice how a person talks when presenting a topic they adore, you will notice that everything they say is engaging, spontaneous, sensational and impactful.

    We have the impression of find us in its history and even that we too are passionate about that topic, even if before then it had never interested or enthused us.

    In fact, the first secret ingredient to communicate effectively is passion, so find activities that excite you and hang out with people with the same interests as you.

    Remember that it is normal to communicate with less charisma if the subject does not interest us: for example, if I were to talk about Big Brother I would be in trouble, because I don't care a damn.

    We therefore note that we cannot always communicate with passion, but as human beings we have limitations.

    To overcome these limits and improve our communication, we can follow the advice that we will see shortly.

    # 2 Self-esteem and awareness of how the world works

    As we have seen in the 3 types of communication, self-esteem is vital to being assertive.

    Often people who suffer from low self-esteem they are victims of others and spectators of their own misfortunes: in essence they are passive.

    But not only.

    Even those who communicate in a very aggressive way to affirm themselves often hide very strong underlying insecurities that they try to compensate with bullying and prevarication.

    Having understood this, it is clear that to communicate in an assertive way it is necessary to have full confidence in oneself and in one's abilities.

    Only in this way could we be able to apply all the strategies that we will see in the next point.

    Before anything else, therefore, it is essential work deeply on our self-esteem which will serve as the basis for building our assertiveness.

    # 3 Everything else is assertive communication

    These first two points were a bit of a gods prerequisites to communicate effectively that, once satisfied, allow us to focus on other aspects that most affect our assertiveness.

    So let's see 6 practical tips to communicate assertively.

    1. Act in your own interest. Always keep this advice in mind by remembering that we must not be passive by becoming the doormat of others, but we must also not force other people with verbal violence. Assertive communication is a balance between our needs and those of others.
    2. Learn to say no intelligently. Every No we pronounce makes us regain possession of our time and resources. We must therefore learn to reject proposals that do not interest us or that do not bring real benefits in relation to the time taken. Remember that refusing a request does not mean disappointing other people but affirm yourself in a proactive way.
    3. Exercise your rights without denying those of others. Exercising your rights and asserting yourself does not mean denying these possibilities to others. We must always express our opinion without excluding the possibility of other points of view.
    4. Take advantage of self-irony. Self-irony is a very powerful weapon to communicate, but beware: it must always be accompanied by true self-esteem. If the person we communicate with does not perceive real self-confidence, it is a strategy that will backfire on us.
    5. Criticize and receive criticism. The assertive person has a dual ability regarding criticism: he is able to accept them to improve himself but he also knows how to bring out the constructive criticisms he notices in others without becoming offensive and aggressive.
    6. Listen to others without bullying or being bullied. Knowing how to listen is an art: to learn more about this aspect, take a look at the article on active listening.

    Communication exercise asserted

    There are a number of exercises that are recommended for assertively communicating, but do not work.

    There are so-called experts who do exercises in front of the mirror where we have to wink at ourselves, tell ourselves that we are better people or view ourselves differently.

    Visualization exercises in particular are very much in vogue lately because they don't push us out of our comfort zone so that each of us in 10 seconds can believe that they have improved their communication.

    For these and other reasons I will not offer you these exercises but I will provide you with a simple advice to train yourself to communicate in an assertive way.

    He just becomes an assertive person.

    Communicating assertively is a skill that starts from our self-esteem and must be trained diligently as if we were in the gym and will not develop on its own with 10 second tricks.

    So deliberately pay attention to how you communicate to try to deliberately improve yourself.

    Train yourself not to point fingers to blame and to use the indications we have seen in point # 3, but above all radically boosts your self-esteem.

    These are the bases to immediately improve our personality and consequently our communication; if you want be truly assertive commit to write your opinion in the comments.

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