Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
When communicating with others, it’s essential to be assertive. Assertive communication is confident, self-assured, and direct. It allows you to state your needs clearly and respectfully without being aggressive or passive. Assertive communication is a vital element of effective negotiation strategies.
This blog post explores how to work through personal development and negotiation strategies for assertive communication.
Table of Contents
- Assertive Communication
- Assertive Communication Helps Develop Healthy Relationships
- How to Communicate Assertively
- Assertiveness is Not Negative
- Value of Assertive Communication
- Assertive Communication and Negotiation
- Preparing for Negotiation
- Setting Up for Success
- Assertive Communication When Triggered
- Plan to Negotiate Effectively Using Assertive Communication
- Preparing to Negotiate
- Related Topics
Assertive communication is the key to having healthier relationships. Negotiation skills help with assertiveness and building confidence when communicating with others.
Assertiveness shows that you respect yourself and value your own opinion, as well as the views of others. When assertive, you are more likely to reach a resolution that satisfies everyone involved.
Assertive Communication Helps Develop Healthy Relationships
Assertive communication is characterized by confidence, self-assured, and directness when expressing one’s thoughts or feelings. It is the ability to speak up for oneself in a way that is respectful of others and their viewpoints while still being honest about one’s own needs and wants.
Being assertive helps build healthier relationships because it fosters an environment of mutual respect wherein both parties feel heard and valued.
How to Communicate Assertively
Communication is a two-way process, and when we communicate assertively, it involves speaking up for ourselves and listening to others in a way that acknowledges our shared humanity.
Active listening by being present and aware of what others say is one of the critical components of assertive communication. An effective way to become more assertive is to practice active listening during conversations with family members and friends.
Assertiveness is Not Negative
Being assertive is not the same thing as being demanding or rude. Instead, being assertive is about being transparent and respectful in communicating needs while caring about the other person’s needs.
Examples of assertive communication:
- using statements of facts or opinions, not questions
- acknowledging how one feels and what one wants without being hostile or disrespectful
- respecting oneself while also respecting others
Assertive communication helps you take control of your life and feel more confident in social situations. It teaches you to express your needs and feelings while respecting other people’s rights and opinions.
For some people, using assertiveness might be an unfamiliar manner of communicating. However, becoming more assertive is a learned skill we can accomplish with practice and dedication.
Value of Assertive Communication
Assertiveness is essential for anyone because it can help foster healthy relationships and help people overcome personal issues they find challenging. Assertive people do not allow others to walk all over them and do not tolerate abusive behaviors in their relationships.
An essential factor of assertiveness is setting boundaries or clearly defining one’s standards and expectations.
For instance, it is assertive not to agree to cut your weekend short to accommodate a friend going through a difficult time. In contrast, it is aggressive to demand that your friend reschedule their situation to accommodate your plans.
The distinction is being assertive involves the creation of healthy boundaries that protect one’s own time, energy, and interests.
Negotiation is a vital part of assertive communication. When you negotiate effectively, you build healthier relationships with the people in your life. To negotiate effectively using assertive communication, there are a few crucial steps to consider:
- Goal Setting
- Action Planning
Assertive Communication and Negotiation
Assertive communication is confident, self-assured, and direct. Negotiation is a vital part of assertive communication. When you negotiate effectively, you build healthier relationships with the people in your life.
Keep in mind that negotiation is not the same thing as arguing. In an argument, you and the other person try to prove your point and make the other person see it your way. In negotiation, you’re working together to reach a solution that meets the needs of everyone involved.
Preparing for Negotiation
When it comes to negotiation, the most crucial aspect is preparation. You must consider how to resolve the situation and prepare yourself for any possible outcome. Your resolution’s success depends on your preparation and ability to guide others through the process.
Doing the Internal Work
Preparation requires personal development work to uncover underlying needs, interests, and reactions. Preparing with these considerations helps ensure you are ready for negotiation and are aware of your own experiences.
The internal work involves uncovering how you think and feel about the negotiation and each other and how you perceive what is going on between you and the other party.
Our attitudes, beliefs, values, perceptions, and interpretations of a conflict situation can differ from person to person. What happens to one person may not be the same as what happens to another. But it’s not what happens to us; how we react or respond to what happens counts.
Setting Up for Success
To succeed in negotiation, it is crucial to prepare emotionally and cognitively. Therefore, we must manage emotions and think logically to be effective.
It is also essential to respond instead of reacting to get what we want without undermining our relationship with the other person.
When preparing for a negotiation, there are four areas to consider:
Unpacking our emotional and cognitive willingness to negotiate helps to build confidence to practice assertive communication.
To get started, grab a journal and ask yourself some of the following questions in each of the four areas.
- How aware am I of myself concerning conflict?
- What tells you there is a conflict?
- What specific actions and verbal cues have you heard and observed?
- What is your perception of the situation?
- What are you feeling?
- What do you fear, or what are your concerns?
- What are you hoping for or expecting to happen?
- What beliefs and attitudes around conflict can you focus on to help you maintain your equilibrium as you work to resolve the dispute?
- What can I do to prepare myself?
- Where is there an appropriate place to discuss the issues in conflict?
- What mental mind shifts might I wish to invoke?
Blame to Empathy
Judgment to Curiosity
Position to Interests
General to Specific
Past to Future
Adversarial to Collaborative
- Am I ready in terms of timing/ what is an appropriate time?
- Can I handle this and maintain my equilibrium, remaining objective and logical versus becoming overpowered with emotions? What do I need to feel successful?
- What do I need to understand about myself?
- What negative attitudes might I have that may impair my ability to be objective and open to understanding another’s perspective?
- What assumptions might I be making?
- What do I have in common with the other party to bridge us when resolving the conflict?
- What negative feelings or distorted perceptions might impede me from having empathy for the other party?
- What happened, and how did I contribute to the conflict?
- How does this play into, or what is the big picture here?
- What did I do to contribute to the conflict?
- What am I willing to take responsibility for?
- How and why was there a conflict?
- What are my goals and objectives regarding the overall conflict and the outcome of resolving this conflict?
Assertive Communication When Triggered
Preparing our mindset for assertive communication involves tabling our triggers. We can effectively work through our reactions and responses by exploring our triggers in conflict situations. This ensures we communicate from a space of personal power using assertive communication and not reacting defensively.
- What events and experiences trigger strong emotions or angry feelings in you and those around you (family, friends, co-workers, etc.)?
- What behaviors do you notice in them?
- How do you avoid these triggers?
- How do you use them?
- How do you try to resolve them?
- How do you react to these triggers?
- What level of arousal do you experience during a conflict situation?
- What physiological cues do you experience?
- Do others know how upset you are feeling?
- How would others know when you feel triggered?
- How can you become more aware of the physical stress level you are experiencing in a conflict situation?
- What will you look for?
- How will you use this information?
Plan to Negotiate Effectively Using Assertive Communication
Starting with a clear plan is essential when negotiating effectively using assertive communication. Feeling prepared with a plan ensures you both get what you want from the relationship. In addition, it allows you to feel good about yourself and the others around you.
Preparing to Negotiate
Before looking into how your conflict will be resolved, evaluating the situation and its possible outcomes is essential. Before any action is taken, consider asking yourself these questions:
What is my level of commitment?
The extent we are willing to get involved in life determines our life. When we under-commit, we have challenges, but we also miss opportunities to grow and be open to receiving more extraordinary things (e.g., relationships and opportunities for advancement).
What is the worst thing that can happen?
Enhancing our appetite for creative success is an excellent way to motivate ourselves to act on anything. But then, imagine the worst possible consequences if we do not act.
e.g., You had a deadline for a proposal. Your boss has insulted you by assigning someone else to do it. You were concerned about how you would finish it in the limited time. Still, now you feel very insulted that he appointed someone else, who happens to be your competition within the department. Suppose you approach him about it, and he tells you to go ahead and do it. What if you submit a poor proposal that insults the client, who fires your company, which in turn fires you? You watch your company go out of business, and your friends lose their jobs. You don’t get another job, lose your house, and then you’re forced to live with your mother-in-law.
What is the best thing that can happen?
Often, we encounter people who focus on problems and limitations. Visionaries concentrate on the possible or, better yet, the impossible. Imagine what would happen if things turned out as you wanted. In other words, expect positive outcomes.
e.g., You submit the proposal on time, your boss is thrilled, the company gets the proposal, and you sustain everyone’s job, including your competition. You receive a raise and a bonus. You get a promotion and are recognized at the company’s annual social function.
What questions should I be asking myself?
Start your questions with the following: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
- What are my concerns?
- How does this affect me?
- How does this affect them?
- What is important to me? …. to them?
- What suspicions or assumptions might I be making?
- What would make the situation better?
- Who should be involved?
- Where would I like this to take place?
- When would be the most appropriate time?
- Why do I want to do this?
- Who else could I consult?
There are times when there are better strategies than negotiation. For example, sometimes situations have rules or ways of doing things that you can’t change. In those cases, you can ask for more time or suggest another way that you would like to handle the situation.
Negotiating is essential in any relationship, whether with a family member, friend, or co-worker. Communicating assertively helps build healthier relationships by teaching people how to respect others and their viewpoints while being honest about their needs and wants.
It can be challenging to communicate effectively, especially when it comes to sensitive topics or areas where you may need to see eye-to-eye with the other person. However, learning how to negotiate assertively can help build healthier relationships by ensuring both parties feel respected and heard.
Negotiation doesn’t need to be complicated. Both parties will only sometimes agree on everything. But learning how to communicate effectively to come to an understanding that works for everyone involved.
Using assertive communication helps to build healthy relationships by fostering an environment of mutual respect wherein both parties feel heard and valued.
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Until next time,