Assertive speech is a style of communication in which individuals clearly state their opinions and feelings, and firmly advocate for their rights and needs without violating the rights of others. Assertive communication is born of high self-esteem and is a primary tool for effective communication in relationships when coupled with respecting the rights of others.
Benefits of Regularly Using Assertive Speech and Behaviors
- Reduces anxiety and stress often caused by misunderstandings and conflicts.
- Allows you to express your thoughts and feelings clearly and effectively.
- Self-esteem and self-confidence is enhanced and you have better control over your own life.
- Others have more respect for your ideas and opinions by knowing where you stand.
- Relationships with others are greatly improved by disagreeing without being hostile.
- Having the ability to say “no” when you mean “no” without feeling self-conscious.
- Motivates others to clearly state their own opinions and ideas.
- Allows you to ask for help when needed without fear and stress.
- Productive communication and positive assertiveness create good relationships.
- Allowing others to manipulate your behavior sacrifices your self-respect and sense of personal responsibility.
- In addition to the “fight or flight” response to challenges, humans can solve problems verbally.
- People can make you feel guilty by labeling your behavior “good” or “bad,” just like your parents did when you were a child.
- The right to be the judge of your behavior is the foundation of all the other rights.
- People use manipulative behavior to make you believe that you should live by their rules.
- To thwart manipulation, use the “broken record” behavioral response: Repeat what you want in a calm, collected manner, with no explanations.
- Respond to criticism by asking open ended questions that address the criticism.
- “You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior.”
- “You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself for any reason or no reason at all.”
- “You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other
people’s problems for any reason or no reason at all.”
- “You have the right to change your mind for any reason or no reason at all.” see consent.
- “You have the right to make mistakes – and be responsible for them for any reason or no reason at all.”
- “You have the right to say, ‘I don’t know’ for any reason or no reason at all.”
- “You have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them for any reason or no reason at all.”
- “You have the right to be illogical in making decisions for any reason or no reason at all.”
- “You have the right to say, ‘I don’t understand’ for any reason or no reason at all.”
- “You have the right to say, ‘I don’t care’ for any reason or no reason at all.”
How to Speak Assertively
- use “I” statements to state your thoughts clearly and concisely
- state needs and wants clearly, appropriately, and respectfully
- express feelings clearly, appropriately, and respectfully
- communicate respect for others
- listen well without interrupting
- feel in control of yourself
- have good eye contact
- speak in a calm and clear tone of voice
- have a relaxed body posture, be warm and open with gesturing
- feel connected to others
- feel competent and use a tones that conveys confidence in yourself
- do not allow others to abuse or manipulate you or others
- stand up for your rights
- utilize silence rather than "umm", "like", "uhhhh" and similar speech delay tactics
- admit to mistakes openly and seek to learn from, remedy, and prevent them in the future
- practice assertive speech on your own, with a mirror; be mindful to be respectful if practicing a confrontation.
The impact of a pattern of assertive communication is that these individuals:
- feel connected to others
- feel in control of their lives
- are able to mature because they address issues and problems as they arise
- create a respectful environment for others to grow and mature
The assertive communicator will say, believe, or behave in a way that says:
- “We are equally entitled to express ourselves respectfully to one another.”
- “I am confident about who I am.”
- “I realize I have choices in my life and I consider my options.”
- “I speak clearly, honestly, and to the point.”
- “I can’t control others but I can control myself.”
- “I place a high priority on having my rights respected.”
- “I am responsible for getting my needs met in a respectful manner.”
- “I respect the rights of others.”
- “Nobody owes me anything unless they’ve agreed to give it to me.”
- “I’m 100% responsible for my own happiness.”Cateogry:Psychological Disciplines