Assertiveness Training

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Assertiveness training can help smart, resourceful--but passive--people make tremendous breakthroughs in their personal and professional lives. So often it seems a great idea is credited to the wrong person simply because he or she had the gumption to step up and claim it as their own. Unfortunately, justice is not always meted out the way it should be, and the loudest voices are often the ones that are rewarded.

"If only my boss would listen to what I have to say." "If only my boyfriend would consider my point of view instead of dismissing my feelings out of hand." If these laments sound familiar, it's obviously not the quality of your ideas or the validity of your feelings that is in question. Rather, it's your presentation of them. Well, the good news is that assertiveness training from a personal coach can help you overcome your fear and articulate your needs and wants in a more forceful manner.

How Assertiveness Training Works

There are several key points that underlie assertiveness. The first of these is self-confidence. If you don't believe in the power of your own ideas, nobody else will either. But as you've undoubtedly learned, belief itself is no guarantee of successful communication. You must also present your ideas in a compelling manner. Here, a personal coach can help you with things such as vocal power, physical presence, eye contact, and other nonverbal cues. As many social scientists and psychologists have noted, only a tiny fraction of what we say actually comes from our mouths.

Sometimes, however, even strong ideas carefully worded and presented are dismissed or written off. If that's the case, you have a couple of options. If it's a friend or a mate who's routinely rejecting you, it might be smart to consider whether this is a relationship you ought to keep. If it's a boss, on the other hand, you might not be able to afford to sever your ties. Here your coach can help you formulate a strategy for getting through to him or her more effectively. If that doesn't work, you'll have to decide whether to stay and fight to be heard or seek out a new job.


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