The Importance of Effective Communication Skills

6 assertive techniques to improve your communication

We interact with people all the time to exchange information, and we want our communication to be efficient and well received. Where there are longstanding relationships, we want them to be preserved. But what if we must tell someone something they don’t want to hear and we’re dreading it?

The truth is that these difficult messages need to be delivered, or there could be a serious impact on the productivity of your team. So, try adopting an assertive approach (our assertiveness course can teach you how). Not the aggressive bully, or the passive doormat, but the best of both worlds. With assertiveness communication becomes easy and much more enjoyable.

How to become more assertive
Where can I find assertiveness training near me ?

Walk the assertive path

So, what is assertiveness? Peter Honey once said that it’s all about rights. In any situation, I have rights – but so do you. When we are assertive, we stand up for our rights (and the company’s), whilst respecting the rights of the other person.

Aggressive people stand up for their rights, but in a way that crushes other’s rights, causing upset and offence. Careful – if you try too hard to be assertive, you can be perceived as aggressive!

Passive people put the rights of others before their own. They get taken advantage of, become stressed and often explode and then become aggressive! It’s always the quiet ones…

Six assertive techniques to try

Basic assertion: simply make a statement of your needs, wants or beliefs. Top tip: use ‘I’ statements. ‘I’d like to talk to you about the current project’. You’re putting your thoughts out there, but not demanding, or waiting for someone to read your mind. You say what needs to be said.

Empathetic assertion: here we combine empathy with basic assertion, e.g. ‘I can tell you’re frustrated, but let’s talk this through’.

Self-Disclosure assertion: use this technique to let someone know the effect their behaviour is having on you: ‘I find it frustrating when you interrupt me, I’d appreciate it if you let me explain’.

Discrepancy assertion: making someone aware that what they said they would do, and what they are actually doing, are not the same thing. For example, ‘you told me the report would be ready by 4pm, but now you’re saying it will be 10am tomorrow. I’d like to know the reason for the delay’.

Consequence assertion: making someone aware of the consequences of a continued behaviour. For example, ‘I want to help, but if you continue to shout and swear I will have to end this call’.

Refusing assertively: assertiveness means not refusing, but negotiating. Offer options and alternatives. Nobody said no, we just agreed on a different yes! A yes that is mutually acceptable.

So, what have we learnt? Assertiveness is a great way to communicate with others. You achieve your goals, while building and strengthening relationships and overall improving the efficiency of your communications. With assertiveness communication becomes much easier. You are approachable; people are happy to work with you and for you. And you don’t walk around with a head full of ‘what if’ questions, because you say what needs to be said. All I’m saying is, give yourself that chance!

How to Improve Productivity through Delegation 

How to overcome your barriers to delegating

Improve delegation skills and become more successful!
Delegate tasks to improve efficiency

Delegation: dishing out the jobs, assigning people to tasks, entrusting a task to someone else where you remain accountable. Everyone seems to agree that delegation can be extremely beneficial for all concerned: the delegator, the delegatee and your organisation. Not only does it improve the efficiency and productivity of your team, it significantly expands the flexibility of operations leading to higher profitability.

So, having established that, why don’t we do it? During training, I usually ask 2 questions: who, in their current role, has the opportunity to delegate tasks (many hands raised)? And who actually does it (not so many hands this time)?

Why the reluctance?

Let’s take a look at some classic get-out clauses offered up when you know you should be delegating:

I can do it quicker myself

If true, it’s a very short-term truth. How does anybody learn to do anything? Given the opportunity to practice, the new skill becomes embedded and we pick up the pace.

I can do it better than you

Nice try! As above, with practice and repetition, not only will someone’s speed increase, but also the level of quality.

You might do it better than me

Some people are terrified of being embarrassed, but who cares who gets the job done, as long as it’s done well? It’s a team effort isn’t it? Identifying someone better than you to do it just makes you a good delegator.

It’s risky – you might do it wrong

Do we delegate the task, then abandon the staff member? No, we just need to agree on the monitoring/review process. Shall we meet up once a day for 5 minutes, to see how you’re doing? Agree on the process and stick to it. That way we can minimise the potential for disaster or catastrophe.

I won’t be needed any more

Some people believe they can delegate their way out of their job. Will their boss think they’re not needed anymore if they delegate all their tasks?

Which leads to an important question – should we try to delegate every item on our to do list? Of course not – the theory is to delegate everything that can be, so we can focus on those tasks which cannot. This includes anything for a manager’s eyes only, like who gets promoted, who gets a pay rise, planning, disciplinary matters, setting goals etc.

I’ll be unpopular – only dishing out the dull jobs

Dull according to whom? Usually the manager, who has had to do the job every 10 minutes for the last 3 years and is sick of it. Don’t assume too much here – your team may be keen to try some new jobs, so always have the conversation and discuss possibilities.


If you were feeling like the most reluctant delegator ever, you might give the above reasons to justify your lack of delegation. But all these arguments can be overcome by adopting a different, more positive perspective.

Overall, and if done correctly, the process of delegation can be extremely beneficial for everyone involved. Give delegating a chance, and you will see productivity wins immediately!