How to be assertive

It can be hard standing up for yourself, say authors Conrad and Suzanne Potts, but you can learn to be stronger


How to be assertive

Assertive behaviour is when you make a stand for your rights in a way that does not violate another person’s rights, say the authors. Try these techniques:

Avoid I win/you lose. This world view assumes that we live in a hostile place and the way to survive is to be stronger – strike first; the best defence is attack.

Avoid I lose/you win. This world view assumes that your needs are not as important as those of others. You’re anxious about standing up for what you want and you assert yourself by making other people feel guilty or sorry for you.

Adopt I win/you win. This world view assumes that your rights are equally as important as others. You’re responsible for your own behaviour and its consequences.

How to get your point across:

  • Own your ideas, views and feelings: ‘This is how I see the situation…’
  • State what you want: ‘What I would prefer is…’
  • Focus on behaviour and facts versus opinions. ‘When I saw you do…’
  • Distinguish opinion from fact: ‘In my view…’
  • Be clear: ‘I don’t have a preference what we do…’
  • Ask open questions that invite others to give their views.
  • Focus on what can be done: ‘I know it must be difficult, but we can take that into consideration…’

‘Assertiveness: How To Be Strong In Every Situation’ by Conrad and Suzanne Potts (Capstone, £10.99)

Image: Getty

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