Boss Lady

Assertiveness in communication: The ultimate confidence boost


This guide outlines why assertiveness in communication will give you confidence, and how to achieve it without being a jerk

Looking back on the past eighteen years of my life, I discovered that I had been very passive. This was mostly due to several hellish years in a ‘Mean Girls’-style high school where I was the focus of many ill-hearted jokes and was mostly ignored whenever I drew a breath to speak. In University, I found the opportunities to flex my assertiveness in communication muscles and I found endless benefits socially, personally and professionally that made me question how I had been so hesitant to stand up for myself sooner.

Why assertiveness in communication is such a confidence boost

YOU TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO TREAT YOU and by being assertive, acting as if you deserve common respect and by proclaiming a strong, humble confidence, people will respond accordingly. How people interact with you creates the aesthetic of your environment, whether it be work, school or a social gathering. If you’re disrespected and looked down upon, your self-esteem will obviously take a beating. However, if you’re treated with respect and dignity, you’ll feel more secure in yourself.

Other benefits of assertiveness in communication

Assertiveness also encourages effective communication in a professional or even social environment.  Being straightforward and saying exactly what you want or how you want to be treated can create a positive environment as everyone knows how to go by things. It also encourages other people to be straightforward and honest with you (hopefully in a good way, who knows with some people).

Be careful – there is a difference between being a leader and being a pain

Of course, there is still a difference between being Assertive and an ‘Ass’ertive. This is what my main concern was, that I’d be coming off as a bossy perfectionist. However, there is a difference between being a good leader/teammate and just being a jerk. It’s all about how you carry yourself. This graph is a perfect example of the approach one should take, using encouragement and respect in any leadership or group environment.

Assertiveness: The ultimate confidence boost


Still, don’t hesitate

However, it is still important that you stand up for yourself as some people are just ‘ass’ertive and prefer to be on top of everyone else and don’t like to be told what to do regardless of how politely and professionally it is served to them. Of course, there is also the stigma that women are just bossy when they try to be a leader and they’re ‘too emotional’ to lead. Feel free to prove them wrong.

Improve your assertiveness in communication

Of course, assertiveness in communication isn’t about kill-or-die rhetoric. Nor is it about physical violence. You definitely need a certain mental flexibility and willingness to compromise – at least you should signal this for tactical reasons. You should also believe in the goals you represent. Or then the assertiveness in communication is over in a moment.

In addition, your project should be understandable for others and the intention should be transparent . Anyone who suspects a trap will hardly be convinced. As in any negotiation, credibility and trust also play a key role in assertiveness in communication. The more detailed you formulate your concern, the greater the chance of asserting yourself.

In addition, the following tips will help assertiveness in communication:

Prioritize your arguments.

After you have made yourself aware of your goals, please come up with a few solid arguments in favor of them. Anyone entering the discussion unprepared here offers too many points of attack. Actually a matter of course. The trick for more assertiveness here, however, is to anticipate possible objections and, like a chess player, think a few moves in advance.

Particularly shrewd tacticians even use the first (weaker) argument to provoke potential adversaries to an expected reaction and thus let them fall into a trap that has already been argued. Otherwise, the classic triad applies: strongest argument at the beginning, weakest second, second strongest argument at the end. This is how you keep an ace up your sleeve and wear down critics.

This is particularly convincing if you remain calm, relaxed and exceptionally friendly all the time . By the way, you can learn a lot of assertiveness in communication from classic presentation techniques.

Train your body language.

Very few know how to convince in an argument with non-verbal signals. This is a particularly important aspect of the art of persuasion, which, when used correctly (and dosed), avoids misunderstandings, provides advantages and saves time.

Cramped shoulders, an unsteady gait, a lack of eye contact , a lack of smile – all of this reveals nervousness and insecurity. The assertiveness in communication is then over. The following gestures, on the other hand, are more likely to show strength, power and high status : Slow, elegant movements; relaxed smile; upright, still head position; strong voice. Eye contact is also crucial. Contrary to expectations, however, power is not expressed by those who fearlessly and incessantly staring into the eyes of the other person, but rather by those who look away after the first change of gaze: they can afford to ignore the other person.

Learn to say no

Everyone likes the nice, helpful colleagues because they make their own (!) Life easier. Those who are only too willing to give their help or ideas to others pay a high price: increasing frustration, increasing overload and decreasing respect.

The phenomenon has long had a relevant name: the courtesy trap . First one is ensnared with compliments, then the understanding for the needs of the colleague is awakened, sometimes this is followed by gentle pressure and an appeal to reciprocity.

Better: set limits and learn to say no with assertiveness in communication. It is the law of supply and demand: what is easy to get is automatically of less value. Those who, on the other hand, hold back elegantly, make themselves scarce and occasionally refuse, are more often surrounded and respected by supplicants.

Do not use the subjunctive.

Language not only reveals awareness – it also shapes it in your counterpart and thus subtly influences whether you have assertiveness in communication or not. Formulations like: I would have … I would like to … I could also … Actually … immediately signal uncertainty through the subjunctive. It is better to formulate your goals and wishes unambiguously, clearly and precisely using assertiveness in communication – without further ado. Garnished with a smile, this is still polite, but shows a will to assert yourself.

Show understanding.

That sounds paradoxical at first glance. But just by showing your counterpart that you understand their arguments, motives and interests, you increase the acceptance of your assertiveness in communication. So don’t just listen attentively, but actively. Develop empathy and emotional intelligence to intercept and better parry the emotions of the other.

Especially when the other person has long left the factual level, you can win them back on an emotional level and win them over to your project.

The most important tip to improve your assertiveness in communication, however, is: practice, practice, practice . Do not avoid confrontations and train yourself to stand up for your ideas – and you will gain new strength even from defeat.


Overall, there is no need to be afraid of being assertive and being heard. Whether it be expressing an idea at work or telling a friend that their joke went too far. There is nothing wrong with respectfully expressing yourself, boosting your self-esteem and contributing to a group.

About Claire L. Smith

Claire L. Smith is an Australian poet, creative writer and artist. Most of her essays have been featured in the alternative feminist bulletin, ( Twitter:

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