In our various roles, we need to exercise influence on people so that we achieve desirable outcomes. We all begin asserting ourselves humbly but at times we find ourselves becoming pushy and arrogant.
- Assertive communication is a skill you can master with practice. Think clearly and speak humbly. Choose fewer and right words to state your opinion. Be confident and respectful. Focus on achieving a goal rather than “winning” the conversation.
- Remember that you’re speaking to another pure being, not to a role or position. The other person may resist, oppose or question your views. They may even be rude. Have compassion for their behaviours. You be your respectful self and listen patiently.
- Detach from your point of view to understand their perspective. Identify their concerns and address them. When they feel valued, they respect you and become more receptive.
- Once everyone agrees, calmly communicate responsibilities, set timelines, establish rules and discipline people with dignity.
- Do not compromise on your values. Stand by them firmly, without fearing consequences.
The CEO walked into the room for the meeting with a client. He saw that a fan had been put on by the client. He asked for the fan to be shut off as he found it a distraction. The client had to increase the air conditioning.
Then, he began the conversation by introducing himself as the CEO of his company (a big pause after the CEO bit) and then proceeded to extol the virtues of himself and his company.
The client quietly listened. Then, the CEO asked his client very arrogantly if he wishes to be the company’s client. The client quietly considered the offer and decided to forego it. The CEO was taken aback. He said that he has come himself all the way. For the business. He doesn’t usually do that.
The client quietly asked then what is it that the CEO does!
The CEO had no answer to that.
The MD of the company came to know of the incident and the CEO was sacked.
Then, the MD went back to the client. He humbly folded hands and accepted his mistake. He listened quietly to all that the client had to say. He clearly spoke about his company’s ability. They spoke about the commercials involved. He was respectful and in return he got a lot of respect from the client.
They got the deal.
Assertive Communication needs to be respectful to achieve stated goals.
Unlike the CEO, assertive communication is a skill that is used sparingly, discerningly and confidently. Fewer words are used with dollops of respect. You achieve the goal. Not just win a conversation.
Appeal to a person’s goodness and listen patiently. Most problems finish there itself.
The person you meet and speak to is another pure being. He is to be respected. You appeal to his goodness. He could be resistant, pushy, rude and off handed. But that shouldn’t throw you off course. You still listen patiently and interact with total compassion. Remember, you need the good result.
See all conversations from their point of view too. Look at their perspective. Their concerns should be addressed. Then, they feel good, valued, the respect and appreciate your work too. You are received well.
There is to be no compromise on values and no fear of consequences in your conversation.
And when everyone agrees to a certain viewpoint, push across the next agenda about work, responsibility, timelines, rules of engagement and transactions where necessary. Don’t compromise on values. Allow values to lead you to great solutions. Stand by them and don’t fear consequences.
Being assertive without being arrogant is the keyword going forth. Remind yourself that you are a pure being and others are too. Humility, respect, clear understanding, values and endearing engagement will create your influence in meetings, talks and arguments. Then, you will be a winner.
The MD brought in a new CEO who is an affable and experienced person. He smiles a lot and has every end clearly written down as he speaks. There’s no trouble, for now.