Being Assertive: Yay or Nay?

Building communication is not an easy thing. Have you ever said something that turned out to be misunderstood by others? Or, did someone feel offended by your words when you do not mean it? That’s because communication itself cannot satisfy all parties.

Also, not everyone can communicate openly and decisively without having to hurt the feelings of others. Therefore, assertive communication is needed to solve this problem. To find out more about this communication skill, and how to use it for your own good, get the answers below.

What Is Assertive Communication?

Assertive communication is the ability to express opinions effectively without having to look aggressive. In general, assertive people can communicate their opinions and feelings honestly, but their words do not make others feel patronized or demeaned.

Sure, applying this type of communication would make you an authentic person because “Yes” will always mean “Yes”, and so does for “No”. Even so, other people may not always agree or follow you, but at least they will trust you.

Characteristics of Assertive Communication Style

Specifically, the communication style refers to how you express feelings and thoughts through indirect messages and behavior. And in assertive communication, they usually show these following behaviors:

  1. Assertive personality can explain feelings and opinion clearly. And usually, their opinions are always accepted by related parties.
  2. Assertive people can express their opinions or feelings patiently, without intending to attack others.
  3. The firm is one of the communication styles occupied by an assertive character. But still, they also do not like to impose their will on others.
  4. When building good communication, assertive people only want to hold in clear and rational conditions.
  5. Assertive people always try to maintain the truth in their words. Although in the end, it may trigger conflict, they may still try to maintain the feelings of others.
  6. A positive approach is also another advantage of an assertive communicator. When faced with problems, they always put aside negative emotions that can complicate the problem.
  7. Confidence and open-minded are other good points of assertive people, which make them quite respected in their social network.
  8. Assertive personality is always open to receive feedback from others, both positive and negative.
  9. A positive and optimistic vision is always put forward by an assertive communicator.
  10. Known to be good at negotiating, assertive people always adhered to the concept of a win-win solution.

Assertive Communication Techniques

Having assertive communication to work effectively, you can apply the following techniques.

  • Learn to use proper body language. First, maintain your eye contact and then keep your posture relaxed. Also, be sure that your facial expressions are in line with the message delivered.
  • Always focus on the topic being discussed. Don’t focus on trying to blame or corner the other person.
  • When expressing some opinions, better use facts and not just assumptions.
  • If the topic is out of line, do a repetition of what you are discussing at that time. You have to do it to return the focus on the right dialogue.
  • Perform a fogging technique. Fogging is the ability of an assertive speaker to respond defensively, without making others feels rejected.
  • Before opening further discussion, give others time to calm down, especially if the discussion was tinged with heated debate.
  • Always maintain your intonation while conveying firmness. Thus, conflict can be avoided.

Why Being Assertive Important?

Being assertive may certainly give you many benefits. If you succeed in using it for your own good, that skill may help you in building a large social network. So, here are the reasons why this communication skill is very important to develop:

  • Assertiveness makes you not hesitate to ask for what you want. Most people don’t succeed in getting what they want just because they don’t dare to express it directly. Therefore, you need assertive communication skill.
  • Assertiveness also makes it easier for you to build a broad social network. By mastering an assertive communication style, you may easily build better relationships, whether with colleagues or in personal life.
  • Being assertive would also make you more confident and authentic. Sure, this skill will make you a true version of yourself.

Final Thoughts

If you do it properly, assertive communication can provide many benefits. For instance, with this communication style, you can build better relationships and be able to express opinions honestly.

However, the application of assertive communication can be conceptual. In certain situations, your assertive behavior may be considered as an act of aggressiveness by others. Even so, assertive communication is still a good choice for building a better personal or career life.

“To be passive is to let others decide for you. To be aggressive is to decide for others. To be assertive is to decide for yourself. And to trust that there is enough, that you are enough. “

—By Edith Eva Eger, in the book of The Choice: Embrace the Possible.

A Big Question in Life: Why is Empathy Important?

In the high-technology era, the world has been even crazier that you and I may sit next to each other in public transportation without saying a single thing at all. Even if we knew each other, it could happen as well. With a smart phone in each of our hands, no more interaction is needed. Not to mention empathy.

Have you seen a pregnant woman standing up in a crowded commuter-line as nobody wants to give their seats to her? No worries, you’re not the only one who has seen it. This is a big mad world with very small empathy. So, why is empathy important? I’ve given you some clues in the first two paragraphs; now find out the answer below.

What is Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to feel what others feel. Empathy supports social senses of a human being that really comes from his/her heart, not from any enforcement. That will lead you and me to act more compassionately with each other. Furthermore, there have been many studies that show the possibility to improve one’s empathic ability.

In the past few years, neuroscientists have been developing the “mirror neurons” concept aimed to promote the capacity to scan and imitate signals of human emotions through gestures, facial expressions, and other types of body language.

The concept may be a help for a person to share his/her experiences of emotions and show more empathy to others. The importance of mirror neurons is still an argument between the pros and cons, though.

So, Why is Empathy Important?

Yes, the next question will be: why is empathy important? Before I begin to answer it, I’ll give you another clue, i.e. we’re not talking about a small scope here. Some of us still think empathy is a small factor that leads humans to do good deeds to others. Nope, I’m afraid that’s not what I’m going to bring up. Empathy is more than meets the eye.

1. Humans are social beings

Our perspectives towards humans as social beings may be different, but it’s undeniable that most activities we do involve interactions among all of us. Thus, the ability to comprehend others better as well as read their emotions and feelings are excellence to the ones who possess them.

The perks of having better empathy are to read the others’ real motives, understand the ways the others look at you, be more objective in solving problems—as you get to see both positive and bad sides of every story, be wiser in making decisions, and finally get respects from the others as you always try to treat them decently.

2. It may enhance your career and business

No matter what career or business you have been running and whether you work as an employee or an entrepreneur, empathy can widely open your opportunities—especially the good ones.

Good cooperation both in business and among colleagues are usually built on trust and trust is what you get when you understand the needs and expectations of the other parties well. To do so, what you need in the first place is not more or less than empathy.

3. It puts aside the boundaries between you and the people with non-verbal communication

With empathy, you will be able to read between the lines within the conversations you are having with those who cannot really express their feelings with words. That’s because you are speaking to them through your heart.

4. Convincing and motivating the others have never been easier

Having empathy means you are able to look at the world from many other people’s points of view as you have given your best efforts to “put yourselves in their shoes.” This also means you can master in convincing and motivating others in different ways to see your perspectives or goals. This personal approach is very important in life—especially if you are a leader, commander, preacher, motivator, or trainer.

5. It lets you live your life to the fullest

Being strong at empathy allows you to get to perceive the world through many points of view. Once you reach that, don’t be surprised to see the unexpected—like a prediction or even premonition. No worries, though, it only means that you have broadened your horizons and lived your life to the fullest.

Being Too Empathetic will Kill You?

While sympathy just means feeling the sorrow or grief that someone is going through, empathy encourages you to take compassionate actions to the others—no matter how they treat you. I know, it sounds too positive and right, doesn’t it? In fact, it is actually too naive to show your empathy without being rational at all.

Furthermore, too much empathy will definitely interfere with your logic in making decisions, resulting in you following only your heart rather than your brain, and finally endangering yourself with many risks you are unaware exist—because you are thinking too positive.

So, now that you have found the answer to a big question in life: “why is empathy important?”, you have also known the downsides of being too empathetic. Empathy is basically something that makes us human, so simply be a human. You’re not an angel; don’t ever take it too far. Enjoy every second of your life!