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Assertive Style of Communication | How to Master Assertiveness? [Series 4/4]

Welcome to the final chapter of our mini-series "The Styles of Communication": passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, assertive. Assertive communication is a powerful skill that will transform how you interact with others, handle conflicts, and advocate for your needs effectively. Let's study the assertive style and explore practical strategies to master assertiveness in various contexts, including challenging situations.

Assertive Communication Style for a handsome worker
Assertive Communication Style

The 4 Styles of Communication Series:

Assertive Communication: The Balanced Approach

Assertive communication balance by New Reflections APAC

Assertive communication is about expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in a direct, honest, and respectful manner. It involves standing up for yourself while considering the rights and feelings of others. Unlike passive or aggressive styles, assertiveness fosters mutual respect, clear boundaries, and effective problem-solving.

Assertive people successfully consider their needs, desires and expectations as well as the needs, desires and expectations of others while communicating in a kind and considerate way for both parties.

Why Does Assertive Communication Matter?

Mastering assertive communication brings numerous benefits both personally and professionally. By becoming more assertive you can:

  • Improve your self-esteem and self-confidence: Developing your assertiveness will help you feel empowered to express yourself authentically and assert your rights and needs.

  • Enhance your relationships: Assertive communication fosters open, honest, and respectful interactions, leading to stronger relationships and mutual trust.

  • Effectively work on conflict resolution: Developing your assertiveness helps you address conflicts constructively, focusing on finding solutions rather than escalating tensions.

  • Increase your influence and impact: Assertive communication helps you convey your ideas persuasively, gain cooperation, and influence positive outcomes. 

  • Reduce your stress and anxiety: By expressing yourself assertively and setting clear boundaries, you can minimise internal conflicts and reduce stress in relationships.

Developing An Assertive Style Of Communication

Assertiveness is not just about speaking up; it encompasses a set of skills and attitudes that promote clarity, respect, and confidence in your interactions. The key elements of assertive communication include clear and direct expression of thoughts and feelings, the ability to set and maintain boundaries, active listening, assertive body language, and a focus on win-win outcomes. 

By mastering these elements, you will navigate conversations with authenticity, assert your needs and preferences confidently, and build strong, mutually beneficial relationships.

The 5 Key Elements Of Assertive Communication Are:

Clear communication

Express yourself clearly and directly without ambiguity or vagueness. Use "I" statements to convey your thoughts and feelings without blaming or accusing others. Always aim to be kind and considerate of all parties involved (remember that it includes yourself if you are coming from a more passive background).

Respect for self and others

Value your own opinions, needs, and boundaries while also respecting the opinions and boundaries of others. Assertiveness is not about dominating or disregarding others but finding a balance between assertiveness and empathy.

Confidence and self-assurance

Project confidence in your communication, body language, and tone of voice. Assertive individuals believe in their worth and capabilities without arrogance or insecurity. Consult the other articles from our mini-series to find out more.

Active listening

Being an active and empathetic listener is crucial in assertive communication. Pay attention to others' perspectives, validate their feelings, and seek mutual understanding. Ask more questions, paraphrase and clarify to reinforce your listening skills.

Healthy boundaries

Establish and maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships and interactions. Assertiveness helps you say "no" when necessary and set limits without feeling guilty or obligated.

Assertive style of communication diagram by New Reflections

10 Keys To Master Assertive Communication

I compiled ten key strategies to help you navigate conversations with confidence, express your thoughts and needs clearly, and foster healthy relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. By focusing on these ten keys, you will develop the tools and mindset necessary to communicate assertively in various situations, whether at work, in personal relationships, or during challenging discussions. 


Start by understanding your communication style, identifying areas where you struggle to be assertive, and recognising your rights and boundaries. The first 3 articles of this mini-series will highly assist you in the process.

2. Practise assertive language

Use assertive language that is clear, direct, and respectful. Avoid passive or aggressive language patterns and focus on expressing your thoughts and needs assertively. Understand the elements of your communication that currently betray your passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive tendency.

3. Assertive body language

Pay attention to your body language, posture, eye contact, and facial expressions. Develop awareness of the verbal and non-verbal elements of your current style of communication to best understand your specific opportunities. Assertive body language conveys confidence, openness, and respect. 

4. Active listening skills

Cultivate active listening skills by giving your full attention to others, paraphrasing their statements to show understanding, and asking clarifying questions. Refrain your tendency to interrupt or speak over people.

5. Conflict resolution

Learn assertive conflict resolution techniques such as using "I" statements, focusing on facts rather than assumptions, seeking win-win solutions, and becoming a “Yes-and” person as opposed to a “No-but” person.

6. Set boundaries

Practice setting and maintaining healthy boundaries in your personal and professional life. Learn to say "no" when necessary and prioritise self-care. If you come from an aggressive background, aim to become more respectful of others’ boundaries and try to step into their shoes.

7. Positive self-talk

Challenge negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs that hinder your assertiveness. Replace them with positive affirmations and beliefs in your abilities. Apply the same strategies to avoid nasty thoughts and quick judgment about others by giving them the benefit of the doubt.

8. Role-playing and feedback

Engage in role-playing exercises to practice assertive communication in different scenarios. Seek feedback from trusted individuals to identify areas for improvement. Leverage real-life scenarios and difficult situations to strengthen your skills.

9. Mindfulness and emotional regulation

Develop mindfulness practices to stay present, manage emotions effectively, and respond thoughtfully rather than reactively in challenging situations. Develop an awareness of your inner state and emotions to offer better responses.

10. Continuous learning

Assertive communication is a skill that evolves with practice and learning. Stay open to feedback, attend workshops or seminars, and keep refining your assertiveness skills.

By mastering assertive communication, you will build stronger relationships, navigate conflicts with more confidence, and achieve your goals effectively while respecting the rights and feelings of others.

Stay empowered and assertive in your communication journey, and remember that assertiveness is a key ingredient in creating harmonious and fulfilling interactions in all aspects of life!

Maud Vanhoutte

Explore 3 Training Courses Promoting Assertive Communication

Click on a course below to learn more and take the next step in improving communication skills:


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