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Assertive Behavior: Ideas to Keep in Mind

Assertive body language includes the following:

  • Maintaining direct eye contact
  • Erect, attentive posture
  • Speaking clearly and audibly
  • Appropriate voice tone, inflection, and volume
  • Using facial expressions to reinforce your words
  • Using appropriate gestures to add emphasis to what you say
  1. Assertive behavior is sometimes confused with aggressive behavior; however, assertion does not involve intentionally hurting the other person physically or emotionally, although there is always the risk that some emotional hurt may result.
  2. Assertive behavior assumes that you have a right to express your own wants, needs, feelings, and ideas.
  3. Remember: Other individuals have a right to respond to your assertiveness with their own wants, needs, feelings, and ideas.
  4. Assertive behavior aims at equalizing the balance of power, not in “winning the battle” by putting the other person down or rendering her/him helpless. As assertive encounter may involve negotiating an agreeable compromise.
  5. By behaving assertively, you open the way for honest relationships with others. In contrast, aggressive or unassertive behavior may limit this potential.
  6. Because assertive behavior is not only concerned with what you say but how you say it, it is important that assertive words be accompanied by assertive “body language” in order to deliver a message with greater clarity and impact.
  7. Anger can be expressed assertively without humiliating the other person. Angry feelings should be expressed as soon after the incident as possible to avoid an aggressive reaction resulting from a build-up of angry emotions.
  8. You have the right to take time to ask for time to formulate an assertive response to a particular situation.
  9. By being assertive and telling other people how their behavior affects you, you are giving them an opportunity to change their behavior, and you are showing respect for their right to know where they stand with you.

Assertive behavior is a skill that can be learned and maintained by frequent practice!

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