Whether we speak or we don’t, we are always communicating. The quality of your communication determines the quality of your life irrespective of your demographics, your gender or your age. For a lot of people, communication works against them, even though in all respect, it’s meant to work for them.
When was the last time you told someone something like, “you don’t understand what I mean!” How many times do you meet people who understand what you want to say even before you complete the sentence? How many times you felt being misunderstood by others? If you want to judge your communication level, listen carefully to the response you get from different people. Is it working for you or against you?
One quality of communication that one must acquire is assertive communication. Adam Galinsky, a leading psychologist, has mentioned in his ted talk “How to speak up for yourself”, that most people are trapped in a double bind where they are unable to choose whether they should express their feelings or not and just in case they choose to express, they are confused as to how much is too much. They have a belief that something bad will happen whether or not they choose to speak. To come out of this confusion, one needs to know the skill of assertive communication.
Assertive communication refers to the practice of expressing your views effectively and stand up for your point of view, while also respecting the rights and beliefs of others. When we are assertive, we are neither being aggressive nor passive in our communication. On the contrary, being assertive makes us calm and positive, thus giving us the power to present our point of view effectively. It creates a win-win for both the parties involved.
So now let’s discuss five main benefits of assertive communication:
- Control on feelings as well as conversations – The assertive people rule the room, because they are able to manage, they reactions and hence take control of their conversation. They respond and not react of others opinion. For people who choose to be passive speakers, people often start taking them for granted and which often, directly or indirectly, hampers their self-esteem. Over the long run, these people get tired of being treated a particular way and then instead of being assertive, they unknowingly become aggressive. They start confronting and revolting to people’s opinion. Both the cases work against them. Thus leaving them with no choice. They need to practice communicating in an assertive manner and ensure they are being heard and they hear others.
- Save you from manipulators – In certain scenarios, you might encounter people who just seem to know everyone’s button. They just know what to say when and manipulate the conversation in their favor. If you are someone who becomes aggressive, then you are yourself handling your keys to these manipulators. They will say the right thing at the right time, thus making sure you are reacting as they want and hence losing the game. However, such people cannot easily manipulate an assertive communicator. The assertive communicator ensures he never gets passive or aggressive by controlling their tonality and facial expressions. This would save from the manipulators.
- Ability to say “NO” – Being assertive helps you in recognizing your own feelings and politely communicating the same to others. They are able say “NO” to things they don’t want without hurting others. This saves them time and energy for doing things they would love to do, spend time with their loved ones, or just relax. A lot of people are simply unable to say no to anything that is offered to them, just for the fear of being disliked or losing their friends. Remember, your success is not determined by the things you do, but the things you choose not to do.
- Create lasting friendships – The one best perk of being assertive is that the manipulators stay away from you. They know they can’t get the benefits from you and hence might decide to just invest their time and energy somewhere else. This would save you a lot of time and energy to find real friends, who would stay with you just because they enjoy your company and not because of the perks that come with it. You would be able to create bonds that work both ways and hence creating lasting friendships.
- Earning respect – Remember, the first way to earn respect is by respecting yourself. Assertive people respect themselves enough to value their feelings and point of view and at the same time they respect others enough to respect and values their point of view. This helps in building brand in the long run as you give a clear message to people how you would like them to treat you.
So, one needs to know the art of assertive communication. I would be sharing tips for assertive communication in the next article.