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Being assertive: 3 steps to assertiveness

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Many of us lack the confidence to ask for what we want, especially in a corporate setting. However, there are a few steps everyone can take to stand our ground, be more assertive and get what we want. Check out the top 3 steps to becoming more assertive.


Get into a confident frame of mind. The root of most people’s lack of confidence is is fear and feeling somehow not good enough, particularly highlighted when you’re dealing with people in authority. So, get yourself into a positive, focussed frame of mind. Use positive self-talk (“I can do this”) and recall a time when you felt really good about yourself, full of confidence and on top of your game. Or perhaps you can think of a good role model and imagine stepping into their shoes. Fake it until you feel it, and it will get easier! Plan what you will say, and rehearse various scenarios.

Speak up

Say what you think and feel, and above all say what you want! Be clear and concise. Prepare what you want to say and repeat yourself if necessary. Be prepared to listen. Remember your body language: posture, voice, eye contact, facial expression. It’s important not to take things personally, particularly at work, so if you begin to feel anxious or defensive, relax, breathe, and take your time. Be ready to ask for time to think things over.

Sell the benefits

If you can, why not suggest an incentive that will encourage cooperation? For example, “If I’m given overall responsibility for the project it’s going to be much easier to make decisions on the ground, rather than bothering you with every detail”. Or “If you help me now we can get out sooner!” You owe it to yourself to speak up, and amazingly enough nothing dreadful happens when you do! Instead you will earn respect and even a degree of admiration!

Learn more about overcoming self-doubt and asserting yourself in the workplace with our eBook, Managing Anxiety at Work here.