Assertive communications

It’s important that your communications aren’t aggressive (demanding and dominating) or passive (unable to clearly articulate wants or needs) but assertive. Assertive communication skills can be learned. Here are some tips on assertive communications.


Body language

Balance: Put feet flat and evenly on the floor hip-width apart. Crossed legs look passive, feet too wide apart looks aggressive.


Breathing: Breathe from your diaphragm. Shallow breathing leads to passive voice, over compensation can make voice aggressive.


Posture: Adopt an ‘open’ posture, hands at the sides.


Hands: Keep hands open, not a clenched fist.


Eyes: Make eye contact, but don’t stare!


Space: Standing too close can intimidate, standing too far away can look passive.



Tone of voice

Clear: Be loud and clear enough to be heard, but don’t shout


Firm: Be decisive and straight forward


Controlled: Be confident in what you are saying and how you say it



Words to use

Speak personally: Say ‘I’ not ‘you’ (for example, ‘I’d rather you didn’t do that’ not ‘You always do that’)


Be direct: Say what you mean, don’t expect the other person to be able to guess what you mean


Be specific: Address the point at hand rather than making generalisations


Say what you feel: Be honest about how you are feeling


Ask questions: Say what you need to say and then ask how the other person feels about that