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The Importance Of Having Assertive Communication Skills
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Being able to assert yourself effectively is a key communication skill. It means being able to express yourself, stand up for you own point of view, assert your rights, whilst also respecting the rights and views of other people. Being assertive is a mid point on a continuum between being too aggressive and too passive. If you’re not naturally assertive then you’ll want to learn to be more direct, particularly if you often find your opinion being ignored. However, if you’re too aggressive when trying to express your views or fight for your rights then it’s just as important to learn how to tone down your communication style.

Why assertive communication skills are important Assertive communication is important in order to make sure that messages you have are delivered effectively and understood. Being too passive or overly aggressive can lead to messages being lost somewhere in transmission as people either ignore them or react badly towards them. Being assertive is important in demonstrating respect for yourself in showing that you value your own opinion, rights and interests and your right to express your thoughts and feelings. Get it right and being assertive is an effective and diplomatic communication style that helps you to work well with others, listen to their views and enables you to work on resolving any conflicts.

Assertive communication versus passive behaviour If you’re someone who routinely demonstrates passive behaviour, then you may want to avoid all types of conflict and frequently bowing to someone else’s opinion rather than your own. Although there may be occasions when it’s right to sit back and let others take the lead, this is not something you want to do all the time. if you constantly ignore your own views, interests and rights, you are effectively waiving a white flag to other people to disregard your wants and needs.

Being passive in the long term may well lead to conflict with either families or colleagues, but even more damaging is the internal conflict that you’re likely to experience and the damage to your self-esteem. This could lead you to feeling:

  • Increased levels of stress
  • Feelings of being victimised or bullied
  • Resentment
  • Anger
  • Depression

Avoiding these feelings will only come about by learning and developing the use of assertive communication skills. Changing ingrained habits is not always easy, but doing so would certainly be beneficial to your self-esteem.

Assertive communication versus aggressive behaviour No one wants to be seen as a bully who disregards the needs feelings or opinion of others. Most people can be aggressive on occasions, but if this is your natural communication style, it can have the effect of intimidating other people and in extreme cases, leave them feeling physically threatened.

No one should ever aspire to being aggressive, as although it may yield short-term results it will lead to resentment from colleagues, friends or families and will lead people to avoiding and ignoring you. That could lead to you experiencing very similar feelings to someone who constantly uses passive behaviour. It’s important that you develop the right level of assertive communication skills.

Passive-aggressive behaviour. If you’re the type of person who favours using passive-aggressive behaviour you will often say “yes” to something, when you actually mean to say “no”. It may lead you to being sarcastic when communicating or bitching behind people’s backs. The dangers of favouring this communication style are similar to being too passive or too aggressive and can lead to resentment from others and the loss of respect as well as leaving you feeling resentful that you’re not able to express your own needs, feelings and opinions effectively.

The benefits of using assertive communication skills There are many different benefits that can be gained from using assertive communication skills including:

  • Improved self-esteem, self-confidence and well-being
  • Increased respect from others
  • Improved decision-making skills
  • Improved communication
  • Stronger relationships with colleagues, friends or family
  • Increased job satisfaction

Summary Being able to use assertive communication skills are key to success both at work and in your personal life. If you find yourself struggling to assert yourself then investigate the different strategies that you can use allowing you more opportunities to get your messages across effectively.

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