Assertiveness is a skill that some people are born with, and others learn. If you’re a quiet type, you might find it difficult to be assertive. Take note that being assertive and being rude or aggressive are not the same things. To break it down, assertiveness is all about confidence. It can set you up for success and take you where you want to be. No matter what your goals are, learning to be assertive will help you get there.
When you look people in the eye it tells them that you are confident and serious. You can practice doing this anywhere you go if eye contact is a challenge for you. Walk up to the cashier at the grocery store and say hello while making eye contact. You can greet the bus driver and hold your head high while looking them square in the eye. Be sure to appear friendly so that they don’t think you’re trying to kill them in their sleep though. The more you practice this the easier it will become. Don’t worry, people can’t actually shoot daggers with their eyes. You have nothing to lose here.
You can learn a lot about a person through their posture. Typically, people with poor posture are trying to make themselves appear smaller. The thing about body language is that it works. Those that want to be invisible will be, but if you stand up straight and proud you will be respected more readily. Communicating with your body is a big part of being assertive. Standing with confidence will let others know that you have something to be confident about; you won’t easily back down from a challenge and will work hard for what you want. If you need some extra help there are many stretches you can do to improve posture. Having good posture is not just how straight your spine is. You have to hold your head up high, as well as straighten your back and walk tall. It might feel a little bit uncomfortable for the first little while but as you loosen and change the way you use those back muscles the more natural it is going to feel.
Speak up! Here is a scene for you: You walk into your boss’s office asking for that promotion they promised you ages ago. Your head is held high, posture is good, and you make eye contact. But your voice comes out as an unsure mumble. Will you get the promotion? The answer is not likely. So instead, walk in and speak up. There is no need to shout or be inappropriately loud but do be sure of yourself. It helps to practice what you’re going to say ahead of time and to picture people with underwear on their heads.
Being assertive can help you to set positive boundaries, earn a promotion or raise, create strong healthy relationships and help you to feel more confident within your own abilities.