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Assertiveness at Work Training CourseAssertiveness at Work Training Course

Professional Development London and UK wide

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Assertiveness at Work

What is Assertiveness?

An assertive person is confident and direct in dealing with others. Assertive communications promote fairness and equality in human interactions, based on a positive sense of respect for self and others.  It is the direct communication of a person’s needs, wants, and opinions without punishing, threatening, or putting down another person.

Assertive behaviour includes the ability to stand up for a person’s legitimate rights – without violating the rights of others or being overly fearful in the process. A skill that can be learned, assertive behaviour is situationally specific; meaning different types of assertive behaviour can be used in different situations.

Assertive behaviour involves three categories of skills; self-affirmation, expressing positive feelings, and expressing negative feelings.  Each will be explored during this course.

What is Self-Confidence?

Self-confidence is a belief in oneself, one's abilities, or one's judgment. It is freedom from doubt. When you believe you can change things -- or make a difference in a situation, you are much more likely to succeed.

As a self-confident person, you walk with a bounce in your step. You can control your thoughts and emotions and influence others. You are more prepared to tackle everyday challenges and recover from setbacks.  This all leads to a greater degree of optimism and life satisfaction.

 

The Four Styles

There are four styles of communication: Passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive.

The Passive Person

Passive behaviour is the avoidance of the expression of opinions or feelings, protecting one’s rights, and identifying and meeting one’s needs. Passive individuals exhibit poor eye contact and slumped body posture, and tend to speak softly or apologetically. Passives express statements implying that:

“I’m unable to stand up for my rights.”

“I don’t know what my rights are.”

“I get stepped on by everyone.'

“I’m weak and unable to take care of myself.”

“People never consider my feelings.”

The Aggressive Person

An aggressive individual communicates in a way that violates the rights of others. Thus, aggressive communicators are verbally or physically abusive, or both. Aggressive communication is born of low self-esteem, often caused by past physical or emotional abuse, unhealed emotional wounds, and feelings of powerlessness.

Aggressive people display a low tolerance for frustration, use humiliation, interrupt frequently, and use criticism or blame to attack others.  They use piercing eye contact and are not good listeners. Aggressive people express statements implying that:

The other person is inferior, wrong, and not worth anything

The problem is the other person’s fault

They are superior and right

They will get their way regardless of the consequences

They are entitled, and that the other person “owes” them.

The Passive-Aggressive Person

The passive-aggressive person uses a communication style in which the individual appears passive on the surface but is really acting out anger in a subtle, indirect, or behind-the-scenes way.

Passive-aggressive people usually feel powerless, stuck, and resentful. Alienated from others, they feel incapable of dealing directly with the object of their resentments.  Rather, they express their anger by subtly undermining the real or imagined object of their resentments. Frequently they mutter to themselves instead of confronting another person. They often smile at you, even though they are angry, use subtle sabotage, or speak with sarcasm.

Passive-aggressive individuals use communication that implies:

“I’m weak and resentful, so I sabotage, frustrate, and disrupt.”

“I’m powerless to deal with you head on so I must use guerilla warfare.”

“I will appear cooperative, but I’m not.”

The Assertive Person

An assertive individual communicates in a way that clearly states his or her opinions and feelings, and firmly advocates for his or her rights and needs without violating the rights of others. Assertive communication is born of high self-esteem. Assertive people value themselves, their time, and their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. They are strong advocates for themselves -- while being very respectful of the rights of others.

Assertive people feel connected to other people. They make statements of needs and feelings clearly, appropriately, and respectfully. Feeling in control of themselves, they speak in calm and clear tones, are good listeners, and maintain good eye contact. They create a respectful environment for others, and do not allow others to abuse or manipulate them.

The assertive person uses statements that imply:

“I am confident about who I am.”

“I cannot control others, but I control myself.”

“I speak clearly, honestly, and to the point.”

“I know I have choices in my life, and I consider my options.  I am fully responsible for my own happiness.”

“We are equally entitled to express ourselves respectfully to one another.”

 

Looking the Part

A person who has a strong sense of personal worth makes a confident, positive appearance.

The Importance of Appearance

In the dictionary, appearance is defined as an external show, or outward aspect. Your confidence depends significantly on your personal thoughts and perceptions about the way you look.

The Role of Body Language

Body language is a form of non-verbal communication involving the use of stylized gestures, postures, and physiologic signs which act as cues to other people. Humans unconsciously send and receive non-verbal signals through body language all the time.

One study at UCLA found that up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined 7% by the words used, 38% by voice quality, and 55% by non-verbal communication. Your body language must match the words used. If a conflict arises between your words and your body language, your body language governs. The components of body language include:

Eye contact. The impact of your message is affected by the amount of eye contact you maintain with the person with whom you are speaking. One who makes eye contact is normally perceived as more favourable and confident.

Posture. Find comfortable sitting and standing postures that work for you; avoid any rigid or slouching positions.

Excessive or unrelated head, facial, hand and body Movement. Too much movement can divert attention from the verbal message. Your facial expressions should match the type of statement you are making; smile when saying “I like you”, and frowning when saying “I am annoyed with you”. Occasional gestures that reinforce your verbal message are acceptable.

First Impressions Count

It takes as few as seven seconds – and no more than thirty seconds -- for someone to form a first impression about you. Like it or not, people make judgments about others right away based on a presenting appearance.  And you never have a second chance to make a first impression. Below are some tips to help you make that positive first impression when someone.

·         Body language. Remember that body language makes up to 55% of a communication.

·         Dress and grooming. It's less about your budget, and more about clean, pressed and event-appropriate clothing with neat grooming.

·         Handshake. Use a medium to firm handshake grip, avoiding a week, one handshake or overly firm one that can cause potential discomfort to another.

·         Body Movement. Use a mirror, or enlist the help of a friend to make sure that your movements are not overly active --and that they support the nature of your message.

Sounding the Part

Feeling and looking the part would not be complete without the voice. Given that we know that 38% of communication effectiveness is governed by voice quality, improving your overall voice message delivery is worthwhile.

It’s How You Say It

We are all born with a particular tone of voice, which we can learn to improve.  The goal is to sound upbeat, warm, under control, and clear. Here are some tips to help you begin the process.

1.     Breathe from your diaphragm

2.    Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated; avoid caffeine because of its diuretic effects

3.    Posture affects breathing, and also the tone of voice, so be sure to stand up straight

4.    To warm up the tone of your voice, smile

5.    If you have a voice that is particularly high or low, exercise it’s by practising speaking on a sliding scale. You can also sing to expand the range of your voice.

6.    Record your voice and listen to the playback

7.    Deeper voices are more credible than higher pitched voices. Try speaking in a slightly lower octave. It will take some practice, but with a payoff, just as radio personalities have learned

8.    Enlist a colleague or family member to get feedback about the tone of your voice.

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