Top Ten Assertiveness Techniques

by John Blosse
Is assertiveness a natural trait of some people? Can it be learned? How? Here are ten top assertiveness techniques that if practiced often will lead you towards becoming more assertive.
While it may be true that some people are naturally more assertive than others, this doesn't mean that assertiveness skills can't be learned. Here are ten top assertiveness techniques that if practiced often will lead you towards becoming more assertive.
  1. Distance and personal space
    No one likes someone else invading their space. It's important not to let someone you don't know very well invade your space (known as passive aggressive behaviour and is a form of manipulation). You know when your space has been invaded because you'll feel uncomfortable - it's important to set boundaries there and then, either verbally or non-verbally, e.g stepping back to give yourself more space or using another form of non-verbal assertive behaviour.

  2. Good time management
    Books have been written on this 'subject'. Being consistently late for meetings or appointments nearly always points to a lack of self-worth. This also goes for giving other people too much of your time - to value one's time is to value oneself.

  3. Broken Record Technique
    Sometimes difficult to do but when used correctly the Broken Record Technique can be very effective. You state clearly what you want (or don't want) and when you meet with resistance repeat again and again and...A good time to use the Broken Record Technique could be when a salesman calls and presses you for a sale, try something like "I'm not interested, thank you." A disadvantage with the Broken Record Technique is that the more you use it the weaker its effect will be.

  4. Disclosure
    A disclosure can be very effective when you want to honest and upfront about something you feel the listener may not fully be aware of or understand. An example of this could be a person who is a hard of hearing asking the other person to speak up a little because they are a little hard of hearing. It's sometimes amazing how much better you can feel when using the disclosure method, something that was once seen as a handicap can be seen in a more positive light.

  5. Fogging
    You agree with your 'critic', and like a clear fog you let the criticism go in through one ear and out the other. When someone criticizes you you agree by saying something like "You're right, my dress doesn't really match my purse," or "You know, you probably have a point there, my hair is a little messy, I like it this way though." When you use the fogging technique it's best to see all criticism as feedback. You let it ride over you and don't get involved with what's being said. It can be a fantastic way to defuse a verbal attack and shows your critic just how assertive you are.

  6. Maintain eye contact
    Good eye contact does two things - it makes the listener feel that you respect them and it makes you look more confident to the other person. Too much looking down or looking away will make you come across as either nervous or worse still as if you don't respect what the listener is saying. Another thing to remember is that too much eye contact and it may look as if you are staring them out and so can appear quite aggressive.

  7. Stand upright
    When you slouch you can appear less confident to the observer, you may also appear lazy or shy. Of course, standing too erect and military-like, among other things will probably lead to an aching back. Stand upright and walk slowly when entering a room and you will look assertive.

  8. Sit up
    When you sit make sure you are sitting upright. Don't cross you legs or fold your arms - two signs of nervousness. Sitting up makes you look more alert, interested in the listener and interesting to the listener.

  9. Active listening
    Repeating briefly what the other person has said when appropriate is a good assertiveness skill to learn. Make sure you keep it short and don't interrupt the speaker when they're in full flow. You can use phrases like "So if I'm hearing you correctly your view is..." or "So you're saying... is this correct?"

  10. Tone of voice
    When we are nervous we tend to speak higher, softer and quicker. If you have a tendency to speak quickly in stressful situations then mentally counting to two each time before you speak will help. Taking a few deep breaths before you speak helps has a calming effect. If your voice tends to get higher pitched then imagining the sound coming out of your chest will help to keep it at a deeper tone making you sound more confident.
John Blosse is an advanced level 3 Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practitioner. He provides EFT for Assertiveness to local people in Brighton, UK and to clients worldwide by phone.

John runs regular workshops and an EFT support group in the Brighton area.

You can visit John's website at http://www.emoshift.com/assertiveness.htm

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