How to Become More Assertive

Being assertive doesn’t mean being aggressive.  Assertive personalities sometimes get a bad rap for being aggressive, intimidating, or demanding.  However, being assertive is a healthy practice.  When you’re assertive, you give yourself the support you deserve.  Being assertive is about being firm and holding your ground.

Not only is assertiveness a healthy practice to incorporate into your life, but also you will find that you gain more respect from others when you’re assertive.  Assertiveness brings a confidence with it, and confidence is always respected.

Here are a few tips that you can use in your professional and personal life for becoming a more assertive person.

Be Unwavering

In many ways, being assertive is about being unwavering.  Hold your ground, and don’t let anyone push you around.  For more shy or timid people, this can be especially difficult.  In no way does this unwavering attitude correspond with rudeness or arrogance.  Different personality types exhibit unwavering behavior in different ways.  For the best results, try being firm and polite.  You can sympathize with the person’s request or their side of the conflict.  Oftentimes this can help lessen the strained relation.  But, make sure you hold your ground.

Saying No

Saying no can be a difficult thing for many people.   If you like to constantly please people, no is a hard word, and you may feel like people will dislike you if you don’t always acquiesce their requests.  However, you have to learn to say no to people when you don’t want to give them whatever it is they ask of you.  Saying no is especially important if their request is taking advantage of you.

How to Answer

When you do have to tell someone no, tell them firmly and unwavering.  You don’t owe them a detailed reason as to why you have to say no, but if you would like to give a reason, explain it rationally and demonstrate your unwillingness to change your answer.  Being polite, maintaining eye contact, and saying no with a smile also helps.  Remember, assertive is not aggressive.

Confidence Language

There is an entire language of confidence that can be useful to you when you need to be assertive.  Trying to stand up for yourself with phrases like, “I think,” and “I feel,” won’t drive your point home no matter how assertive you try to be with body language or other tools.  Use phrases like “I know,” and “I realize.”  Making a few of these simple changes in your language can produce powerful changes in the outcome of your assertive conversations.


Practice these new skills.  When you are put in a position where you have to be assertive, try to remember all of these tips in the moment.  It can be hard to keep all of this information in your mind while answering a difficult request.  Practicing your assertiveness in leaving a voicemail or sending an email can be easier as you start out.  These more passive forms of communication give you a little extra time to compose your thoughts and deliver them in clear and effective ways.  Once you get the hang of communicating with an assertive voice, your on-the-spot communications will begin to flow more easily.

Try incorporating these tips in your next conversation that requires assertiveness.  Being firm and assertive will make you a happier person, as well as help you get the results you deserve from your relationships with others.  Never feel like you are rude or asking for too much when you are assertive.  Assertiveness is key to having a healthy life, and when used effectively, it will earn you respect from others.

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