Assertive Communication

Assertive Communication

How to Use Assertive Communication

Assertive communication involves stating your feelings and needs clearly and directly while being respectful of others. Being assertive ensures that your feelings are clearly communicated, but it also avoids belittling or dismissing other people’s thoughts or opinions.

Communicating assertively can strengthen your relationships by reducing stress from conflict and providing social support when facing difficult times. Saying “no” (politely but assertively, of course!) can help you avoid getting overwhelmed.

Assertive communication is all about stating your needs clearly but respectfully. By being assertive, you let others know where you stand while also acknowledging their position.

You can become more assertive by being honest, avoiding judgment, and focusing on your feelings. It may take practice, but over time, you may find that being assertive helps ensure you and others are respected.

Characteristics of Assertive Communication

Being assertive isn’t always easy, and there may be obstacles that make it much more difficult. For example, it’s harder to be assertive when you lack the skills to communicate your needs or you fear that there will be repercussions if you speak your mind.

Communicating assertively involves both what you say with words as well as what you convey through nonverbal signals. Some key characteristics of assertive communication include:

  • Good eye contact that shows you are paying attention
  • Confident posture that shows you are comfortable and strong in your position
  • Honest and open, conveying your opinion without manipulation or deceit
  • Clear messages that accurately convey what you are trying to say
  • Positive, non-threatening language that doesn’t try to blame or shame the other person
  • Well-timed messages that are delivered in the right time and place
  • Respectful words that acknowledge the feelings of others.
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Learning to speak assertively enables you to respect everyone’s needs and rights—including your own—and to maintain boundaries in relationships while helping others feel respected at the same time.


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