How to Effectively Bring Your Voice to Difficult Conversations
Whether you are prone to feeling like an avoidant, shrinking violet in your interactions, or a dominant over-reacher, better ways of communicating are possible. One key is healthy assertiveness. First, let’s be clear. Assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness. Assertiveness is a skill that involves owning, valuing, and appropriately sharing your own thoughts, beliefs, and needs while respecting others. This article will provide you with tips on how to begin building assertiveness into your communication.
Please Keep in Mind: These steps pertain to interactions with mentally and emotionally healthy individuals. If you are in a dynamic where the person is dangerous, get appropriate help. If you are trying to engage with someone who is unwilling to engage in a reasonable and healthy manner, walking away from the conversation might be the best course of action. Use wisdom and discretion.
1. Build Rapport
Building rapport is an important first step. It allows for greater understanding in our exchanges with others. Here are some ways to build rapport.
2. Own and Share Your Thoughts/Concerns using "I" Statements
After having listened well as outlined above, share your thoughts, feelings, and wants about the situation: “I know that purchasing a new car is a big financial commitment. The reasons I think it would be worth it are....”
3. Respect Both Yourself and the Other Person as You Decide on Your Next Steps
The other person might disagree with you and might even handle the conversation poorly. The other person has agency over his/her own choices and actions. You are not in control of his view or his behavior, but you are in control of yours and of the decisions you make moving forward. Focus on your own next steps, not the other person's.
For additional help building assertiveness into your communication, visit here.
Dr. Dawn-Marie shares a refreshing blend of professional insights and personal stories in this encouraging blog.