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Assertiveness skills

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Assertiveness skills

  1. 1. Assertiveness Skills By Yanky Fachler, author of Fire in the Belly - An exploration of the entrepreneurial spirit and The Selling Conversation Message Receiver Sender deciphers: embeds decodes meaning: encodesWe dont encode properly because:• We assume that if we said it, the receiver will understand it.• We forget that our message has to be decoded• We use the wrong delivery mechanism• Our body language doesnt match our verbal messageWe dont decode properly because:• We dont listen properly• We misunderstand the senders meaning• We make wrong assumptions about the senders meaning• We misinterpret the senders body language• Every time the sender wants to send a message to the receiver, he/she must choose the appropriate delivery mechanism (direct conversation, email, phone call, etc.)• Most misunderstandings lie in the gap between what the sender encoded, and what the receiver decoded.• There is a responsibility as an encoder in smartly and clearly framing the communication.• There is a responsibility as a decoder not to make too many assumptions.• Before you start a communication you need to decide what you want from it and how to get the outcome you desire.• Dont just blurt out words.
  2. 2. The senders responsibilities:• Remember that while you always know what you mean, you might not say what you mean or mean what you say.• When you embed the meaning into your message make sure you articulate your message with maximum clarity and impact• Avoid any ambiguity that opens the door to time wasting misunderstanding.• Every time you communicate, you are faced with a choice of delivery mechanisms for your message. Make sure you choose the most effective method.• Find a way of checking that your message got through and was understood.• Address the receivers WIIFM (Whats In It For Me?) - get to the point quickly.• Use shorter words, shorter sentences, shorter messages without compromising clarity.• Avoid wordiness, padding and repetition.• Dont overwhelm with knowledge – distinguish between need to know and nice to know• If youre sending an angry message, sleep on it before you send it.• Align your body language with your verbal message. If there is a clash between verbal and non-verbal messages, people will believe the non-verbal.The receivers responsibilities• When you are on the receiving end of someone elses communication, listen attentively.• Use your decoding skills to decipher the senders meaning, nuances and intentions.• Dont assume you understand. If in doubt, double check.• The sender must always check whether the receiver has received the message, by asking for feedback• Body language can conflict with the message you give.Body language is the cues and clues of the message and it includes:• Tone• Posture• Demeanor• Eye contact• Gaze• Spatial distance• If there is a clash between what you say and how you say it, we always believe what we see.• The body language speaks more louder than what we verbally say.• If I see something different from what I hear, I discount what I hear.
  3. 3. • You can say everything right but your body language cancels everything you say.• 93% of what you say does not come out your mouth.• How we say things matters even more than what we say.• “Hello.” “What’s wrong?” Tone of voice.• If the tone is not right the alarm goes off.• Your message will be dismissed because of your tone.• Are we making sure that our communication will get the response that we want.• Eye contact: lighthouse effect: that is moving your eyes to meet all people around you in the meeting.• Hands, clothes, feet, face, eye contact are on display all the time.• People judge based on body language: hair style, clothes, posture, smile, hands, feet, sounds (not words).• There is no such thing as not communicating.• You cannot not communicate• You are sending messages all the time.• Most decisions (and opinions) about you are made before you even talk.• Blink moment: in two seconds you build your judgment about a person.• Your body is speaking volumes.• Since you are doing it anyway why not actually do it. Why not have control over it.• The two obvious examples are: smiling and eye contact.• believe me, you all look nicer with a smile.• You control the way you come across. This has to do with what you wear, your hairstyle, and how you talk.• We exercise far more choices in life.• Communication is multi-layered.• It is up to you to create a picture of yourself.• You do control the process of communication.• Assertiveness is a choice, not in the genes.• If you expect people to respect you, you have to respect them.• De-personalize the situation. Dont talk to people as John, but as a researcher, a journalist, a department manager, etc.• A perpetually angry person is a problem. He/she is an awful drain of resources. A lot of energy is wasted with such a person.• You should not let anybody make you less assertive.• Assertiveness is not about popularity, but about clarity.• Assertive people do not fight fire with fire, but they are reasonable in their verbal and non-verbal messages.• Size and height are not criteria for assertiveness.• Temporarily aggressive or temporarily passive attitude is not the real problem.• How you handle the situation is even more important than the outcome.• Match your body language and your tone of voice with your verbal message.
  4. 4. Body Talk • Your bodytalk expresses what your attitudes and thoughts really are. • It is not just what you say, its how you say it. • When your body language is in sync with your verbal message, your message is reinforced. • When there is a conflict between verbal and non-verbal messages, people believe the non-verbal messagePositive Body Language: Negative Body Language:open and affirming closed, shaky and resistantDirect eye contact Shifty eyes – refusal to make eye contactWarm, open smile (teeth revealed) Tight or no smileLeaning forward Leaning awayUpright but relaxed posture Too-stiff postureFirm handshake Weak handshakeChin up Chin into chestUncrossed legs Legs cross or outstretchedFeet firmly planted YawningEyebrow flash upon greeting Dropping glancesNodding up and down Blank stare, absent-minded gazeOpen, inclusive gestures (palms showing) Arms folded to protect heart or stomachSmile often Frowning, shaking head, pursed lipsFully facing others Not fully facing, at an angleLaugh appropriately Hands in pocketsShoulders back Hunched or sagging shouldersLooking comfortable Grim-faced, stony expressionGenerous facial expression and hand Limited facial expression and handgestures gesturesFaster speech Fidgeting, glancing at exit, hand wringing, looking at floor Scratching head, touching nose Jangling keys or coins in your pockets Personality Types
  5. 5. There are three personality types: aggressive, passive/submissive and passive/aggressive people Aggressive People (Bulldozers) • Frequently get into arguments • Frequently get angry and act impatiently • Frequently think that others need to be put in their place • Bully and intimidate • Enjoy complaining about poor quality or services • Expect everyone to accommodate their needs • Hold strong and strident views on many subjects • Blame others • Rarely notice or acknowledge the needs or feelings of others • Use judgments or emotions to sway someone to their point of view • Are manipulative. • They think they are absolutely right. How to deal with angry people • An angry person is like a wind-up toy that needs to wind all the way down. • Your job is to calm angry people down, not fire them up. • Respect the other persons right to be angry – even if you dont see what the fuss is all about. • Be conciliatory: be willing to make concessions. • Dont argue • Dont counter-attack • Dont defend • Dont justify • You dont need to be right. You need to be smart. • Dont take it personally. • Take on board criticism in an adult and assertive way. • Dont react like a reprimanded child. • Dont allow anyone to drain you of your energy and confidence.Phrases to avoid when confronting an Helpful phrases when confronting an angryangry person person • You are … • I feel … • You never … • I believe … • You always … • I want … • You should … • Id prefer … • You dont … • Id like … • You make me feel … • I need …
  6. 6. • You make me think … • My concern is … • You make me do … • As I see it … • You are wrong. • I can / Im able to see … • Why cant you … • I understand … • Why dont you … • Im sorry … • I didnt realize ... Passive/submissive People (doormats) • Overly emotional • Are reluctant to express or acknowledge their own opinions and feelings. • Are wishy-washy and beat about the bush. • Allow others to take advantage of them. • Refrain from complaining when services or products are not up to standard. • Find it difficult to refuse the requests of others for time or resources. • Are too eager to make compromises in the interests of harmony and conflict avoidance. • Are unwilling to inconvenience others. • Sublimate their own needs and pay too much attention to pleasing others. • Dont stand up for themselves or their rights. • Bottle up their feelings. • Feel inadequate and guilty for not having coped properly. • Allow themselves to become a doormat in the guise of niceness. • Slip into negative self-talk: “Im not good enough,” “Im not smart enough.” • Believe that no one wants to hear their opinions. • Are over-compliant, over conciliatory and self-efacing • Cant say no. • Feel inferior or insecure • Give in easily. Passive/aggressive People • Believe they are nice people and believe that they are easy to please. • Believe that they are eager to help. • Seem willing to take on more than their fair share of the workload. • Are professional martyrs. • Are hungry for approval. • Need to look good. • Need to appear never to put themselves firstIn reality, passive aggressive people are also good at: • Manipulating others emotionally and indulging in emotional backmail. • Sigh and roll their eyes.
  7. 7. • Give back-handed compliments.• Sulk.• Say one thing but mean the opposite.• Act passively, while aggressively getting their own way by not doing what is wanted.• Schedule an appointment but dont show up.• Creatively get out of doing their fare share.Assertive People• Clearly, confidently and respectfully communicate their needs, wants and feelings to colleagues, clients and others.• Know what they want.• Ask clearly for what they want.• Take responsibility for their feelings and thoughts.• Articulate exactly what they want and what they believe.• Take their power in their own hands.• Express their own thoughts and feelings, honestly and openly, without rancour.• Communicate and work well with people at all levels.• Give and take compliments and fair criticism.• Accept views that appear more reasonable than their own.• Can disagree with someone without losing their friendship or respect.• Acknowledge and appreciate the desires, needs and views of others.• Can give in without feeling weak.• Can express a need or concern without causing embarrassment to either party.• Separate the personal and the professional.• Can say no without feeling guilty.• believe that their opinions are worthwhile.• Offer their opinions with authority but not with arrogance.• Assume that others will listen to them.• Express emotions without becoming emotional.• Ask for feedback to make sure that they are being understood.• Suggest a constructive way forward when problems arise.• Stand up for themselves when they feel they are being put down.• Do not feel threatened or undermined. They do not feel under attack.• Do not feel cowed or put upon.• Taking the ego out of the situation is the first step towards real communication.Your Rights as an Assertive Person: You have the right to:• Ask for what you want (while acknowledging that the other person has the right to say no)• Hold and express opinions, feelings and emotions.• Stand up for what you want.
  8. 8. • You make me think … • My concern is … • You make me do … • As I see it … • You are wrong. • I can / Im able to see … • Why cant you … • I understand … • Why dont you … • Im sorry … • I didnt realize ... Passive/submissive People (doormats) • Overly emotional • Are reluctant to express or acknowledge their own opinions and feelings. • Are wishy-washy and beat about the bush. • Allow others to take advantage of them. • Refrain from complaining when services or products are not up to standard. • Find it difficult to refuse the requests of others for time or resources. • Are too eager to make compromises in the interests of harmony and conflict avoidance. • Are unwilling to inconvenience others. • Sublimate their own needs and pay too much attention to pleasing others. • Dont stand up for themselves or their rights. • Bottle up their feelings. • Feel inadequate and guilty for not having coped properly. • Allow themselves to become a doormat in the guise of niceness. • Slip into negative self-talk: “Im not good enough,” “Im not smart enough.” • Believe that no one wants to hear their opinions. • Are over-compliant, over conciliatory and self-efacing • Cant say no. • Feel inferior or insecure • Give in easily. Passive/aggressive People • Believe they are nice people and believe that they are easy to please. • Believe that they are eager to help. • Seem willing to take on more than their fair share of the workload. • Are professional martyrs. • Are hungry for approval. • Need to look good. • Need to appear never to put themselves firstIn reality, passive aggressive people are also good at: • Manipulating others emotionally and indulging in emotional backmail. • Sigh and roll their eyes.

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