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What is Assertive Communication?

Elizabeth Scott, MS describes assertiveness as "the ability to express one’s feelings and assert one’s rights while respecting the feelings and rights of others" and says that assertive communication is "appropriately direct, open and honest, and clarifies one’s needs to the other person".

Assertiveness is sometimes confused with aggressiveness since both emphasize standing up for yourself, but in reality the two are quite different. Assertive individuals respect the person that they are dealing with, assume the best, and compromise while individuals with an aggressive communication style tend to be disrespectful, manipulative, and even abusive.

Clearly one of these styles will get you much farther in life and the workplace.

The Benefits of Assertiveness Training

Studies have shown that assertiveness training actually reduces stress. This alone is a pretty big deal as over three quarters of American workers have reported physical symptoms as a result of workplace stress that costs businesses an estimated $200 - $300 billion in lost productivity per year.

While now a more common training area for business professionals, assertiveness training used to be a proven stand-alone treatment within clinical psychology. Assertiveness training has the potential to significantly improve your life and that of your employees. Check out the studies linked above for more information, or get in touch with training providers to find out how their training has positively influenced former participants.

Who Benefits Most from Assertiveness Training?

While some are lucky enough to be naturally assertive, many of us need practice and reinforcement to reach our full potential in this area. If you recognize yourself in the one of the following, you might want to consider an assertiveness training course:

  • You always say "yes" to taking on new projects, even when you know you don't have time
  • You often put aside your own needs in favor of others
  • You feel like others are not on your side

Of course, you can work on being assertive by yourself. The Mayo clinic suggests that you practice the following:

  • Use "I" statements like "I disagree" rather than "You're wrong"
  • Say "no"
  • Rehearse scenarios in which you have a hard time saying what you think
  • Practice confident body language
  • Control your emotions
  • Start practicing assertiveness with a friend or partner rather than in the workplace

However, if you feel that your assertiveness skills really need some work, then a course with an expert, trusted instructor can really speed up and facilitate the process. They will help you identify your areas for improvement, and give you constant feedback. You will also have the opportunity to practice your new skills in a safe environment with others who want to grow.

Navigating Find the Best Assertiveness Course for You

As you go through the list of assertiveness courses above, remember to use the filters to narrow your choices based on what you are looking for.

If you are looking for a live assertiveness training course near you, use the place filter to choose a city nearby. For an online course, set the format as e-learning, and to find a course to bring to the whole team, filtering by on-site options.

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