How to be Assertive without Alienating Others
Imagine another customer pushes in front of you at the supermarket queue. How would you feel?
Or what if your rude co-worker keeps on whining like a spoiled brat about his miserable life while you are in the middle of a very important project due the next day?
Like majority of the normal population, you would probably feel strong emotions such as frustration and anger. Too strong that it might push you on the brink of losing your temper and letting off steam at unsuspecting individuals.
But you don't want this to happen, right? What you want is to let the other person know that you did not like what he did without coming across as combative, ready to brandish your high-powered firearms at the slightest hint of movement. You want to be assertive and not aggressive. And the way to do this is to employ the following steps. Try it for yourself and see the difference.
The first thing that you have to do is to be ready. This means that you have to prepare yourself for the meeting. Try to imagine how you would want the scene to play out. You should always remember that it should be a calm, peaceful and straight to the point discussion. Strictly no beating around the bush.
Next, keep an open mind to be able to understand the other person. Focus on his main idea. If there is something that you find erroneous in his statement, keep it in mind but don't interrupt. Let him have the floor and see the situation from his point of view. If you feel that you have been left hanging with his statements, ask him to elaborate.
Then, make sure you acknowledge the other person's point of view. In the classic diagram of the flow of communication, there should be a speaker, message, listener and feedback. Feedback or acknowledgment is essential in the sense that the communication process is gone if there is no response from the listener.
Now it's your turn to air your side. Remember the 4 C's. Clear, concise, coherent and complete. Use these C's while explaining your grievances point by point. Do not squeak or ramble. Maintain a steady tone all through the meeting, punctuating it only if the need arises.
Last but not the least, try to reach an agreement with the other person. You don't have to back down from your statements and apologize. Just be open. A compromise is not a bad word. It doesn't make you less of a mature individual. In fact, it is a win-win option for both sides. It only shows that you are mature enough and ready to meet the other halfway.