- Body language: using neutral, confident body language. This typically looks like sitting with upright posture, keeping arms relaxed and at your sides, and feet planted with legs uncrossed. More details on body language.
- Make direct eye contact, but focus on maintaining eye contact while listening, and checking in and looking away when you are the speaker.
- Speak clearly and calmly.
- Keep your tone of voice even and normal. Avoid raising your voice, but speak loudly enough to be well heard.
- Use “I statements” to address the issue: “I can’t meet that deadline but would like to help you reach your goal.” "I can't accept that from the team, I need a higher productivity level."
- Identify the specific issue at hand and direct your comments to the issue. Avoid sidetracking the issue with unrelated or personal comments.
- Be specific and direct in making your point such as “I will need more hours to finish that task. Can you approve this?”
- Make your request direct and specific instead of non-direct and vague such as “Will you please have that completed by the end of the week.” instead of “Do you think it will be done soon?” More examples of direct language can be found here.
- Sum up the main point and your agreement. This helps everyone to be clear about the plan and outcome expected.
Understanding communication styles is a valuable tool for personal and professional interactions. Learning how to be assertive, without becoming aggressive, can be useful both as a leader and team member. Here are some of the elements of assertive communication.
Keys to Assertive Communication
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Americans usually use a stopped T for both /t/ sounds in the word important. Use the video above to hear how this sounds, and break the word down for correct pronunciation. If you find it difficult to use the stopped T, you can use an aspirated (normal) /t/ and you will still be understood.
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