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Assertiveness

Assertiveness does not mean being aggressive or angry, I prefer to call it "clear communication". It means trying to keep emotion under control and speaking clearly and rationally, letting the other person know where you are coming from and how you feel. It also involves listening to the other person, even if you don't agree with what they are saying. It really helps to speak as an expert, and that means using the word "I" more than the word "you". When we use "I" we are speaking as an expert, we know how we feel. When we use "You" we are effectively trying to tell people how they feel and who they are, and appearing hostile in the process. The reaction we are likely to get is defensive followed by hostility or passivity. As a result we are not communicating.

We all know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of aggression, passive aggression (stony silence with glaring and monosyllabic responses), and to be passive in the face of aggression. Assertive, adult to adult communication means we can talk to each other and listen to each other in a spirit of openness and honesty.

Assertiveness is an underrated skill, and it can make a real difference.

 
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