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Top 10 Tips To Be More Assertive

Life Coach Rebekah Fensome shares the journey her client made as she learnt how to be more assertive and shares some of the assertiveness techniques they developed together and which were put into practice.

Tracey, 31 from London, has come a long way. When she first came to see me she knew she was lacking in assertiveness but her excuse for not wanting to change was that she was worried about people seeing her as arrogant.

However, once I helped her see how her lack of assertive behaviour was affecting her, she realised that it was causing problems in all areas of her life and ultimately making her unhappy.

“People are always taking advantage of me, my friends, family and work colleagues. I know it’s my fault as I allow them to see me as a pushover. I’m a nice person though and I don’t like to let people down. However, I find that I don’t have time for myself as I’m always helping other people out.”

After having a couple of sessions with Tracey, we together agreed that she needed to start putting herself first and not feeling guilty or worried if she wasn’t able to help one of her friends, or family members. She also had to start saying ‘No’ more at work.

Here are 10 assertiveness tips and techniques that you can put into practice:

1. Clear Communication

When communicating your opinion, complaint, etc ensure that you are being direct, clear and precise.

2. Take Responsibility

Don’t shy away from the point you want to make or action you want to take. Commit to it and take full responsibility. For example, say “I think” rather than “we think”.

3. Don’t apologise when you don’t need to

Don’t apologise before of after you talk to someone about something as again this takes away any strength or emphasis from you.

4. Use strong verbal and body language

Use the correct tone of voice and body language when talking. For example, don’t talk into yourself or have a tremble in your voice. Maintain eye contact and use a solid strong voice but with normal volume.

5. Are you being listened to?

Check with people that they have listened to what you have said by encouraging them to summarise your opinion, complaint, request, etc.

Don’t allow people to make excuses for having misunderstood and stick to what you’ve said.

6. Get out your comfort zone

Don’t avoid particular people or situations that you don’t feel confident in. In fact push yourself into as many of these situations as possible and practise your new assertive self.

If there are certain people you find difficult to approach then walk up to them confidently and smile at them before you start talking.

7. Stick to the facts

Being assertive doesn’t mean making things up to support your opinions, complaints, etc. You should stick to the facts and not exaggerate. It’s good to be seen as objective rather than emotional.

8. Keep it objective

When you’re in a difficult situation with people don’t make personal references. For example, don’t say “I find you really annoying”, say instead “Please refrain from talking to me like that.”

9. Observe assertive role models

Watch assertive people and pick up words, tones and body language that you think makes them successful at being assertive. Keep a list of these attributes and add them to your portfolio.

10. Reward yourself

Each time you’re successfully assertive, note this down and reward yourself. Try and exhibit your new assertive behaviour so much that people start giving you feedback. This is your ultimate reward!

Also, don’t get disheartened when you’re not successful. Just realise where you went wrong and correct it next time.

by Rebekah Fensome

Want to find out more about assertiveness and confidence coaching? Attend workshops on Power Persuasion and Power Pitching as part of The Coaching Academy’s CPD For Coaches programme.


For further details visit or call our team on 0208 4399 440.

1 Response to "Top 10 Tips To Be More Assertive by Rebekah Fensome"

1 | cherry nzekwu

January 22nd, 2012 at 10:18 pm


nice one!

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