Communication: Tips to being more assertive
Communication: Tips to being more assertive
Post written by Paragon Interiors   April 9, 2018

It’s Monday morning and you are ready to get into your work week. You work in an open space planning office which usually you don’t mind, but today is different. The person next to you has their headphones in and is playing music so loud you can hear every word. You try to concentrate but all you can hear are the tunes of a 90’s pop song. Agh! You didn’t even like that song when it came out! How do you respond?

Its Friday afternoon and you can’t wait to order your favourite dish from the café down the road. Word gets out and suddenly you have orders flying in from colleagues. Simon wants the pasta but says he doesn’t have the money and will pay you back on Monday. Simon is known for not paying people back. He always has an excuse! What do you do?

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? Have you been in a similar situation and could you confidently ask your colleague to turn down the volume or say no to Simon? If not, you may need to become more assertive.

Does being more assertive mean you should be more aggressive? Not at all.

What is assertive communication?

Assertive communication is a core communication skill. Being assertive means expressing yourself in an open, honest and direct way and standing up for your viewpoint. This doesn’t mean constantly stepping on other people’s toes, no, it’s about respecting the rights and beliefs of others as well as recognising your own rights. Being assertive means taking responsibility for our actions. Assertive communication helps us to confront the elephant in the room respectfully and with mutually satisfying solutions.

How do you benefit from being assertive?

  • Boosts self esteem
  • You earn respect form others
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Helps us to achieve our goals
  • Minimises hurt and alienating others
  • Protects us from being taken advantage of by others
  • Allows for better communication

How can I be assertive?

  1. Value yourself and your rights

Valuing yourself is having the self-confidence to stand up for your rights and defend them. For example, you have the right to work in a quiet and peaceful environment so you can get your much needed work done.

  1. Voice your needs and wants

Start identifying what your specific needs and wants are and then set yourself some goals. Identify what you need, to be productive and discuss this with your boss.

  1. Acknowledge that you can’t control other people’s behaviour

The only person you can control is yourself. Standing up for yourself can be tricky, when things get heated, work hard to stay calm and respectful of others around you.

  1. Express yourself in a positive way

Learn to control your emotions. Emotionally intelligent people have control over their own emotions as well as understanding others. It is okay to be angry if you express yourself in a way that is respectful. Give feedback to others without exaggerating or, minimizing the situation and don’t use sarcasm. Be respectful, realistic and honest. Express preferences and priorities.

Use “I statements”

For example, instead of saying “You always interrupt me when I am speaking.” Say “I would like to finish what I am saying without interruption”

Use factual descriptions

Instead of saying, “If you don’t change your attitude, you are going to be in real trouble.” Say “When you arrive late the meeting is disrupted and if this continues I will be required to give you a letter of warning about your conduct.”

Reflect ownership

Instead of “The way to win the pitch is to match the competition.” Say “I believe matching the competition is the way to win the pitch.

  1. Be open to constructive criticism and compliments

It’s not easy receiving criticism however, constructive criticism is helpful to achieve positive change.
By accepting compliments we show respect to others’ feedback and develop greater awareness of our strengths.

  1. Learn to say ‘No’

You want to be liked in the workplace. You don’t want to upset anyone. Is this realistic? Learning about your limits will help you manage your tasks more effectively. You can’t possibly do everything and be everywhere. Saying ‘no’ sometimes can really help you prioritise the important things. For example, saying ‘no’ to Simon politely and firmly can save you from being upset and hurt in the future and also helps Simon to learn to respect others and have the money ready to pay his colleagues on time when he wants his delicious pasta.

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At Paragon Interiors, we value being assertive, which means that we will present alternative solutions when we know an idea won’t work for a client in years to come. In situations where we work alongside an architect and a developer, we take care to represent our client’s interests and needs in such a way that results in the best quality outcome for all parties involved.

Contact Paragon Interiors today to find out how we can turn your offices into beautifully designed spaces that are suited to your requirements.


Assertive communication: 6 tips for effective use. (n.d.). Retrieved from Impact Factory :

How to be assertive. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mind Tools: