How Can You Be More Assertive?

WRITTEN June 21, 2018 Author: Jen Glantz

While leading an Improving Communications workshop recently, I asked a question that had hands flying up toward the sky from participants in the room:

“How many of you have ever wanted to be more assertive in the workplace but didn’t know how?”

To be more assertive was something everyone wanted to work on. But the first step was breaking down what that phrase really meant.

If I said to you right now, “Hey, you! Be more assertive!” – What would you do? You may confuse assertive with aggressive and raise your voice loud during meetings or talk with exaggerated hand gestures.

Aggressive and assertive are not the same thing. Being assertive means standing up for who and what is right without offending others, whereas being aggressive means to behave in an actively hostile fashion.

Here are three ways you can display assertive behavior in the workplace:


Focus on Body Language

Nonverbal signs account for 60-90% of communication. When you express yourself, pay attention to your body language. Hold eye contact to show the person you’re speaking to that you are confident. Have good posture to give off a professional and alert impression. Hold your head high to speak with clarity and look self-assured.


Choose Your Words Wisely

Plan out your words before you say them. Change questions to statements to show certainty in your request or opinion. Avoid verbal tics so your message can be heard uninterrupted. Catch yourself when you are rambling so you don’t lose your audience’s attention.


Use Accuracy Over Exaggeration

Stick with the facts. When preparing for a conversation, jot down specific instances and situations that you want to bring up. Using exaggeration will diminish your credibility. Being accurate will help you back up your opinion or statement.


The next time you find yourself in a workplace situation where you want to be more assertive, remember to focus on your body language, choose your words wisely, and stick to facts. That way, you’ll represent yourself in a confident, effective, and direct way.


This content is a part of our Speakers Bureau catalog. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.


More Resources:

Assertive – the Definition

6 Ways You Can Be More Assertive In The Workplace

How to Be More Assertive at Work (Without Being a Jerk)

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