How to Improve Your Assertive Communication

Assertive communication

Assertive communication is a communication style in which you express your ideas, feelings, and needs clearly, confidently, calmly, and honestly while being empathetic and respectful of other people through active listening.

To be assertive, you don’t need to always agree with everyone but disagree without confronting others. In this way, a strong person has a high degree of empathy, good management of emotions, and control of body language.

What is assertive communication about?

It is a diplomatic and balanced way of communicating in which you share your point of view and defend your rights while considering the feelings of others and respecting their beliefs and rights. You do it by taking responsibility for your opinions without blaming or judging others.

Assertiveness is a tool that allows for optimizing human relationships. It is not just saying what you think, but understanding your needs, taking responsibility for your emotions, and ultimately connecting with others.

Purpose of assertive communication

Likewise, the main objective of assertiveness is to convey an idea in a clear, friendly and empathetic way, unlike passive or aggressive communication. Assertive communication is the most effective and contributes the most to healthy relationships.

Principles of assertive communication

  • Be clear and specific: Speak your mind not to be misunderstood.
  • Be brief: If you argue constantly, your arguments will lose weight.
  • Manage your feelings: Avoid aggressive or passive behaviors.
  • Apologize if needed: Always speak with respect and consider others’ feelings.
  • Speak with confidence: Belief in your ability to handle the situation.

Advantages of being assertive

Using assertive communication reduces stress since influential people know how to say “no.” It also improves coping skills, allowing you to express yourself effectively and stand for your point of view while respecting that of others. As well it will enable you to:

  • Boost your confidence.
  • Identify your feelings.
  • Earn the respect of others.
  • Improve your communication skills.
  • Make better decisions.
  • Build social and professional relationships based on trust and honesty.


  1. Identify your communication style. Evaluate the way you communicate. Do you express your opinions, or do you remain silent? Do you say yes to everything others tell you? Do you constantly judge or blame others?
  2. Express yourself. This will allow you to let others know what you think or feel honestly and calmly.
  3. Practice saying “no.” Set healthy boundaries.
  4. Use body language. Remember that communication is not just verbal. Maintain an upright posture, make regular eye contact, keep a neutral or positive facial expression, and do not cross your arms or legs.
  5. Keep your emotions in check. Conflict is difficult for most people. Although these feelings are normal, they can make it difficult for you to resolve conflicts. If you are emotionally affected, wait a bit. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and speak in an even, steady voice.
  6. Do it little by little. You must practice these skills with people close to you. This will allow you to evaluate yourself and make the corresponding adjustments if necessary.


Within the assertive style, there are verbal, non-verbal and para-verbal levels. Thus, solid communication in spoken language management uses the first person to refer to feelings, opinions and other formulas to express collaborative ideas.

Assertive communication in non-verbal behavior

Body language is vital in communication: 55% of your words are communicated nonverbally. Hence, one of the keys to this type of communication is that the body posture, gestures, tone of voice and gaze always accompany the attitude of respect and active listening.

Show confidence with your body while giving the message. Keep an upright posture, and don’t appear tense. When you are in a conversation, avoid crossing your arms. Maintain eye contact in a very subtle way while you listen and speak. This denotes interest and strengthens relationships.

Assertive communication in verbal behavior

For your verbal communication to be coherent with our non-verbal communication, ensure your voice is coherent with the message. Avoid using bad words, using an aggressive manner, and making grammatical mistakes while speaking.

Assertive communication in paraverbal behavior

Among the characteristics of recommended para-verbal behaviors that should be used in your message are: having a constant tone of voice, keeping the rhythm flowing, and respecting the silences in the conversation. 


‘Fog Bank’ technique

This technique consists of slowing down and dissipating the tension of the conversation. This is an excellent way to deal with criticism or to avoid direct conflict. Phrases like: “what you say here is true,” “on this point, you are right,” or “I agree with you that…” will help you reach an intermediate point before presenting your argument.

‘Assertive Question’ technique

This method assumes that the criticism they make of us is positive. This way, a question is asked to obtain more information. This technique allows you to turn the situation around without questioning the other and get on the same side to find a standard solution.

For example, imagine your business partner telling you that “this report is poorly done.” If you want to practice the powerful question technique, you can answer: “How do you think it should be approached so that the result is better?”

‘Broken Record’ technique

It is about maintaining your position by repeating the same phrase without verbal aggression and maintaining a calm tone. For example, let’s say you are negotiating vacations with a colleague, and he asks you: “would you mind changing the week in October? And you answer: “I’m sorry, but I already have everything planned for those days.” However, your partner insists, so you can repeat it without raising your voice: “I’m sorry, but I already have everything planned.”


Assertive communication at work is based on the need to explain yourself as well as possible to reduce misunderstandings. Assertive work communication is the only alternative to help companies create a good environment among colleagues and improve the work.

6 tips to improve assertive communication at work

  1. Ask instead of assuming: Avoid presumptions and ask directly to the point. No one is in the other’s mind to understand 100% what they are trying to say, so the best way to clarify is to speak. When there are doubts about a point, it is best to ask.
  2. Make eye contact: Assertive communication at work needs the non-verbal expressions of your body to consolidate what is meant. One of those elements is looking into the eyes. Thanks to non-verbal communication, you build confidence when speaking.
  3. Assume responsibilities from the self: Assertiveness at work seeks clarity and takes one’s faults. Someone who is empathetic doesn’t seek to blame others but accepts that they have been wrong and takes responsibility.
  4. Learn to set boundaries: If you want all these powerful communication techniques at work to work, you must first be clear about your ideas, your values and personal goals. Establish your limitations and deals so others don’t cross the lines.
  5. Ask for and give positive feedback: Positive feedback seeks to help others grow without detracting from their efforts or destroying their self-esteem just because there is something they can improve on.
  6. Clarify priorities and goals: Remembering your goals and preferences, you can understand when to give in and defend your judgment in certain circumstances..


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