It’s important that your communications aren’t aggressive (demanding and dominating) or passive (unable to clearly articulate wants or needs) but assertive. Assertive communication skills can be learned. There are six elements that contribute to assertive communication. These are:
Posture: your posture should be confident but not aggressive. The body should be open with the torso face on, arms uncrossed and head up. Both feet should be evenly on the ground, hip width apart. Care should be taken not to stand too close.
Eye contact: it’s important to make eye contact whilst not making the other person feel uncomfortable or threatened. Look directly at the other person but don’t stare. Looking down can appear passive.
Gestures: open hand gestures can show engagement and emphasise important points. It’s important not to have clenched fists, to point or display other aggressive hand gestures.
Tone of voice: the right tone of voice is critical to communicating assertively. The voice should be calm but confident, easily audible but not loud and the breathing should be slow and from the diaphragm.
Timing: it’s important to speak at the appropriate time. Listen to the other person, avoid interrupting wherever possible and concentrate on saying the appropriate thing at the appropriate time - don’t be distracted.
Content: stick to the subject. Be clear about what you want but don’t demand.
Read more about assertive communications from Ezine