Assertiveness is key to communication. It gives us the ability to speak up and express our point of view, without being disrespectful to others.

If you find yourself in a stressful place because you’ve said yes too many times and are left with an unmanageable workload, being assertive will help you avoid this situation.

Some people communicate in ways that are too passive. Other people have a style that is too aggressive. An assertive style is the happy medium between the two.

What does being assertive mean?

  • You can express your opinion
  • You can ask for what you want
  • You can offer ideas or suggestions
  • You can say no without feeling overwhelmed by guilt
  • You can disagree with someone in an honest and respectful way

Being passive

  • Not actively or readily participating
  • Letting things happen without doing anything or attempting to change it
  • Being peacefully resistant in response to injustice

Being aggressive

  • Expressing yourself in a way which is forceful or threatening
  • Aiming to get what you want at all costs
  • Being sarcastic, manipulative and spreading gossip

How does it help?

Being assertive can help you gain the respect of others and improve your self esteem. Some people are naturally assertive, but if you’re not, there’s lots of ways to learn.

Here are some of our top tips:

  • Be clear when communicating, stick to your point and be precise
  • Take responsibility for the point you want to make or the action you want to take
  • Don’t apologise if you don’t need to
  • Remember your body language and tone. The correct tone of voice and body language you use when talking is important when trying to keep your audience engaged
  • Test yourself. Don’t stick to your comfort zone, face people or situations where you don’t feel the most comfortable, it will help you develop
  • Back up your points with facts
  • Don’t make personal references, such as 'I don’t like her'
  • Observe others and learn!