Often we find it difficult to express what is on our mind when we are at work, especially if you are quiet when you are in social situations or lack confidence. However, being assertive at work is an important communication skill. Psychologists say that people who can express their opinions productively have better performance at work, more free time, and healthier personal relationships. Even if you're not a naturally assertive person, this skill can be learned, and this article will give you a head start.
Part 1 of 3: Building Confidence
Step 1. Start with small steps
If you don't feel confident expressing your opinion at work, it's not a good way to jump right in by volunteering to give a big presentation or asking your boss for a raise. Instead, start with something smaller.
- For example, if your supervisor promises you new equipment, such as a new monitor for your desk, but he forgets about it or hasn't had time to act on it, politely ask and gently remind you that everything was promised to you.
- Small wins will build confidence and help you feel compelled to speak up on bigger issues.
Step 2. Celebrate success
When you achieve an important achievement at work, don't keep it to yourself. There's no need to brag too much, but acknowledging your own success (and letting others know about it) is important for building self-confidence.
Getting into the habit of rewarding and acknowledging your own abilities will help you realize your worth and self-worth
Step 3. Show confidence
Even if you don't really believe in yourself, pretending that you believe in yourself can trigger even more self-confidence, especially if you make it a habit.
- For example, when meeting with coworkers, try to smile and make eye contact. Walk with a carefree pace, as if you were heading to an important meeting.
- Wearing clothes that convey a strong impression can also make you feel more authoritative. Choose clothes that match your style and personality, while displaying a professional image.
- This strategy can make you more confident, and get others to treat you with more respect, which can help boost your self-confidence.
Step 4. Practice every day
Think about what everyday situations often cause you to feel insecure or hesitant about expressing your opinion, and look for opportunities to practice being confident and speaking up every day.
- You may find it awkward the first time you do it, but that's how you learn new skills. You will master it with constant practice.
- Repeating it over and over again and achieving success will eventually allow you to do it naturally.
Step 5. Do some self-reflection
It's important to spend some time thinking about assignments or discussions that could provide an opportunity for you to make a greater contribution, areas where you are a strong point, and areas where you can improve.
Being assertive doesn't mean you have to act like you and your ideas alone are perfect. True self-confidence comes from emphasizing your strengths, but also by understanding your own weaknesses and applying your abilities to improve on those weaknesses
Step 6. Ignore unfounded criticism
If a coworker criticizes you by saying something untrue or dishonest, try not to think about it.
Spending time thinking about non-constructive criticism can damage self-confidence. In addition, energy will be wasted
Part 2 of 3: Projecting Confidence
Step 1. Speak
One of the factors that make you more assertive at work is to show and convey confidence in what you say. You can do this by ensuring that your opinions and perspectives will be heard in situations where they are considered appropriate. Don't wait to be given a chance to speak, instead take the opportunity and speak up so everyone can hear.
- However, don't think that your opinion should always be heard first. Sometimes it's okay to give the other person a chance to speak first, then find a way to use their opinion to support your idea. This will increase the chances of your idea being approved.
- For example, it might be a good idea to wait until two or three people have spoken in a meeting, then express your idea by saying something like, “My idea, which goes along with Yeni's, is…”
Step 2. Say no
If you're asked to do something that's not in the job description, or you don't have time because you're working on another job, you should feel comfortable refusing the coworker's request. This action does not necessarily make you a selfish person.
Step 3. Don't be aggressive
Being assertive doesn't mean you'll always get what you want, and it doesn't mean you have the right to silence others.
- The goal of assertiveness is to be confident and persuasive, not demanding, harsh, or self-serving.
- Show empathy. Pay attention to the attitude of the people around you, and give them the opportunity to express their opinion as well.
- Respecting other people's opinions will create a more positive atmosphere so that everyone can feel more comfortable expressing their opinion. Not only will this create a more harmonious work environment, but it will also allow you to feel more comfortable speaking your mind without fear of undue judgment or criticism.
- Being aggressive actually makes it less likely that your ideas will be heard because your coworkers are fed up or their attention is being distracted by aggressive behavior.
Step 4. Try to earn respect, not friendship
Professional relationships are different from social relationships. In the workplace, earning the respect of an authoritative and worthy employee is more important than being popular with coworkers.
- Gaining respect is very important, especially if you have subordinates. Giving honest and constructive feedback to subordinates about their work may not be well received by people, but it is a way to get efficient and effective staff.
- Not everyone can accept honest opinions or judgments, but in a professional setting, this is a secondary consideration.
Part 3 of 3: Speak Effectively
Step 1. Think about what you want to say
Clear communication is an important part of assertiveness. Whether you're speaking in a meeting, having a private discussion with your boss, or participating in a team project, you'll communicate more clearly and effectively if you think about what you want to say in advance.
- Planning in advance what you want to say before starting to speak will make your thoughts and ideas sound clearer and more confident.
- If you must present your idea in a meeting or similar forum, do some research on the topic first. Having adequate information on the topic will make you more likely to appear more authoritative, and perhaps feel more confident.
Step 2. Don't beat around the bush
When considering what to say, make sure you convey it in such a way that it gets to the point, without adding unnecessary information to the main idea.
Going off topic can cause listeners to no longer focus on what you have to say
Step 3. Practice coming up with ideas
You may not be able to anticipate every situation that occurs at work, but if you know you have to give a presentation to convey a certain idea or information, practicing beforehand is a smart move.
- The ideas you have in your head may seem obvious, but when spoken aloud they can sound muddled and confusing. Practicing expressing your thoughts gives you the opportunity to make sure the sentences that come out of your mouth are clear and organized before they are spoken.
- Practice is also a good way to cut down on “filler”, distracting words or phrases that you might use to fill in the blanks as you think about what to say next (e.g., “ng”, “hmm”, “what is that”, “for example”, and so on). Filling the gaps can make you appear less confident and not well-versed in the topic. If you practice saying what you want to say first, chances are you won't use it.
Step 4. Adjust the volume
A soft, calm voice for some people is considered to reflect a lack of confidence and authority. Try to speak loudly so that your words will be taken more seriously.
- You have to practice to do it.
- Don't scream. It's important to make your voice heard, but you don't have to come across as harassing or arrogant.
Step 5. Set the speaking speed
Talking too fast can make you look nervous and also make it difficult for the listener to follow the conversation. Speaking too slowly can make you look boring and cause the listener to lose interest.
- It doesn't matter if you stop for a drink while thinking about the next sentence or give the listener a chance to catch up.
- If you have to make frequent public appearances to speak, consider recording your presentation as you rehearse. That way, you will know if your speaking speed is effective.
Step 6. Don't belittle yourself
It's best not to use language that makes you look unsure or suggests your ideas are unimportant.
- For example, don't use the word "only," for example, "I just thought we might need to consider a more ambitious plan." This action gives the impression that you don't think your idea is important enough.
- Likewise, don't start sentences with phrases like "I may be wrong, but…" or “This is just my opinion, but…” This kind of opening immediately gives the impression that they don't need to take your opinion seriously.
- Remember that developing assertiveness, like any other skill, will take time.
- There is nothing wrong if you record the success you have achieved. That way, you can reread them when you're not satisfied with your accomplishments. This “winning file” can help you boost your self-confidence, and can sometimes be a useful resource if you're looking to apply for a job in the future.
- Passive behavior, over time, can lead to resentment and, over time, lead to aggressive behavior. Most people might think "playing it safe" is better than expressing an opinion, but in the long run, suppressing ideas and feelings can cause more problems than prevent them.