Assertiveness: Gain Respect and Personal Power | Michele Poff, PhD | Skillshare

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Assertiveness: Gain Respect and Personal Power

teacher avatar Michele Poff, PhD, Communication Expert

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Introduction to Assertive Communication

    • 2. Definitions

    • 3. Characteristics Clusters Intro

    • 4. Directiveness

    • 5. Social Assertiveness

    • 6. Defense of Rights

    • 7. Independence

    • 8. Clusters, conclusion

    • 9. Nonverbal Cues, Intro

    • 10. Nonverbals: vocalics, proxemics

    • 11. Nonverbals: haptics, kinesics

    • 12. Nonverbals: face, gaze

    • 13. Conclusion

    • 14. Passive Communication

    • 15. Aggressive Communication

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About This Class

Assertive people ask for what they want and don’t let others either intimidate them or enrage them. They speak up to express their needs and desires. They hold true to their internal power and the little voice inside that asks to be heard. They speak calmly and diplomatically, carefully and firmly, without offending reasonable people. They comfortably say “no” when they need to, without belittling or insulting others.

Assertive people are neither passive nor aggressive. Passive people know they need assertiveness training to find their voice and not allow others to take advantage of them or dismiss them. They need help finding ways to stand up for themselves and be heard!  

Aggressive people don’t usually think they need assertiveness training because they believe they get their needs met just fine. The thing is, aggressive people roll over others, bullying them into submission. Even if they cover their aggression with humor, they bully others without concern for other people’s feelings or needs. This isn’t okay either. Aggressive people need help finding ways to be more respectful of others during moments of conflict, and to behave appropriately.

This course helps both passive people and aggressive people find their voice within the appropriate expressions of assertiveness. It helps passive people find the strength to speak up, and it helps aggressive people stop bullying.  

The material for this course comes entirely from science. Investigators and researchers have spent their lives examining assertive communication and how it differs from both passive and aggressive communication. That’s one thing that makes this course different from the others out there. It’s not about the instructor’s individual perspectives at all, but tested and proven strategies and techniques.  

Another thing that sets this course apart from other assertiveness courses is that we are not interested in why people are passive or aggressive at all. In fact, communication research says that for some people these characteristics are in their DNA while for others it’s in their conditioning. We simply don’t care about that. We only care about the communication behaviors that make assertiveness happen. We start with definitions about assertive communication and how it differs from passive and aggressive communication, then work through many ways that assertiveness can show in your communication behaviors. Exercises help reinforce your learning and give you practice for when certain situations arise in your real life. Quizzes make sure you’re following along properly.  

So stop getting walked on, and stop walking on people to get your way! Learn assertive communication and improve your own well-being and communication appropriateness. Just a couple of hours can change your life for the better. Becoming more assertive is just a matter of learning what that looks like. This course shows you how!


- Develop assertive communication skills

- Articulate characteristics of assertive people

- Discern differences between assertive, aggressive, and passive communication

- Focus on individual characteristics for overall assertive communication development

- Draw from a variety of assertive phrases

- Articulate nonverbal cues of assertive people

- Internalize assertive practices

- Incorporate more assertive communication into your daily life

- Improve communication competence


- A willing attitude

Intended for:

- For anyone who wishes to be more assertive, as opposed to passive or aggressive.

- For anyone who wants to develop a more balanced outlook on life.

- For anyone who wants to use communication respectfully to achieve personal and professional goals.


Meet Your Teacher

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Michele Poff, PhD

Communication Expert


Hello, I'm Michele. I have a PhD in Communication from University of Washington, MA in Applied Linguistics, and BA in English from UC Berkeley. I have worked with communication and language, studying and teaching, my entire career.

After a rewarding career in academics, today I offer courses to the general public. My aim is to help people improve their lives with very small, yet quite effective adjustments in their communication. Most of my courses are firmly rooted in scientific research.

With my courses here on Skillshare, it is an honor and a privilege for me to be able to help people all over the world to live happier, healthier, more peaceful lives. I hope that I can help you too!

See full profile

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1. Introduction to Assertive Communication: Hello and welcome. This is a course on assertiveness training, and we take a communication perspective in this course. What that means is that we're not going to dig into the psychology of assertiveness versus passiveness or aggressiveness or what makes people assertive or what holds people back from being assertive. We're not doing that. We're just going to focus on assertive communication. In that respect. This is pretty easy just to go through this course and identify what a sort of communication is and then simply adopted for yourself. We look at assertive communication, verbally nonverbally and behavioral ble, which is arguably a subset of non verbal communication. We isolate assertive characteristics in this course, and I offer assertive phrases that you can adapt and adopt for your own usage. In communicating more assertively, we then look at nonverbal communication cues and the main ones that you can pay attention to when attempting to communicate war assertively. Finally, I offer tips for saying no and tips for developing an assertive mindset for optimal assertiveness development for yourself. The tools and this course are intended to be incorporated individually and as the learner feels comfortable. In other words, feel free to work your way through all lectures in one sitting, if you like, but then to actually develop your assertive communication skills, go back and focus on one or two areas at a time, then move on to another area or two for your focus. In this way, you can internalize the characteristics of assertive communication. This course is grounded and academic research in communication and taught by a communication. PhD so welcome. I'm so glad to have you on board. If we could all communicate more assertively and therefore less passively and less aggressively, I'm pretty sure the world would be a happier place. I hope you enjoy this course, and by all means, let me know if you have any questions or if there's anything good like to chat about. 2. Definitions: this lecture is on definitions, and here we're going to talk about what assertiveness is and how it's different from other forms of communication. Assertiveness is defined in research as the effort of one person to influence another person's thoughts or actions. Assertiveness goes together with responsiveness, and responsiveness is the individual's ability to express feelings and emotions. These two characteristics work together and are both important facets of communication competence. So if you want to develop your communication competence or improve it, it is a good idea to pay some attention to your assertiveness and responsiveness skills. So there are basically three categories of communicators. These are aggressive, passive and assertive. Aggressive people tend to run over other people, the 10 to attack people's personal characteristics rather than sticking with the issue and aggressive people aim to win. They will pull out all the stops. They will insult you. They will try to run over you. That's what aggressiveness is. The second category is passive. These are the people that don't speak up for themselves. They let others do as they wish. They aim for no conflict there. Quiet, they go along their followers. That doesn't mean that they don't disagree just that. They don't speak up about it, which can be difficult and somewhat dangerous as it can manifest in other uncomfortable ways. If someone is angry but doesn't voice it, then that person can easily become passive aggressive, which means that they appear to be appropriate on the surface but are undermining their appearance with some underhanded behavior. It's manipulative behavior. In any case, so far we have aggressive and passive. If you are an assertive communicator, you respect other people as yourself, and you respect their opinions and their wishes as equally valid to your own. You make yourself heard and you argue your point, but you don't run over other people. Your argument. Stick to the issue that you're arguing about her that you're talking about, and you don't attack others personally. When we talk about differences between assertiveness and passiveness and assertiveness and aggressiveness, the locus of the difference is in the concern for the self visa. Be concerned. For other, the key difference between assertiveness and passiveness is the concern for the self and assertiveness. You have enough self respect and self value to make your voice heard in passiveness. You do not in passiveness you deem others wishes and desires is more important than your own. This reflects the low level with which you value yourself, also known as low self esteem. The key difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness is in the concern for other in assertiveness that you make your voice heard, which you were willing to bend with the flow of circumstances in aggressiveness. You make yourself heard and fight to bend others to your will. This reflects the low value that you hold for others and a worldview that you are somehow better than others and entitled to disrespect them. Assertiveness isn't about winning all the time. It's about holding genuine respect for yourself and for your communication partners. At about equal quantity. You realize that you can't always have your way, and you realize that your communication partners really have Justus much say in the outcome of circumstances. As you dio you're on equal footing, you also realize that your own needs matter and the only way to get the Met is to speak up . So these were some basic definitions of assertiveness and how it differs from both passiveness and aggressiveness 3. Characteristics Clusters Intro: when we talk about traits of assertiveness, Research has identified many traits of a sort of people. Some research has organized or clustered these characteristics of a sort of people into four categories or clusters. These are direct, iveness social assertiveness, defense of rights and interests and independence indirect iveness. You take charge of situations in social assertiveness, your feel comfortable around people, and you can initiate conversations with a wide variety of people, including strangers in defense of rights and interests. You stand up for your own rights, such as being able to confront others who are taking advantage of you. And in independence you have the ability to maintain your own personal convictions or positions even when you receive pressure from other people to conform. There are a lot of individual characteristics that we're going to talk about, and I have organized these characteristics within these four clusters just for organizational purposes. Different researchers have found different things, but I'm I'm just sort of reorganizing what's out there to make it easier for you to understand. So this introduction lecture here on the clusters of assertiveness characteristics is just that, and what follows then is individual lectures on each of these four clusters. Each of these lectures on these clusters includes a section on characteristics, as are noted in research. And then it's followed by a section of key phrases or ways that ways that you can express these characteristics and thes key phrases. Or, in one case, key behaviours will get there or sort of a tool kit for you to use and draw from, so that you have some assertive phrases ready at your fingertips for those situations when you need them. So that's what this section is about. 4. Directiveness: the first cluster of assertiveness characteristics is direct iveness, and this is taking charge of situations. These are the characteristics of direct iveness. The person acts as a leader has a strong personality, dominant, forceful, competitive and precise. In each of these ways, the assertive person can take charge of a situation. Key phrases here are as follows. I actually have some background in this. Perhaps I could take a stab at it or ex seems like a reasonable approach. Or if no one minds, I could manage this portion of this project also. So who wants to do what? Kevin, you're good at this. So how about you handle this part and Margaret, you're really strong at that. So why don't you handle that part and my strengths air here and definitely not there or there. So why don't I take on this part or I can handle this If that's okay with everyone or finally, you can certainly do it that way if you want. I just don't see how that way is better than this way. Can you help me understand? In these ways, you are expressing directive nous you are acting as a leader being dominant forceful, demonstrating a strong personality, perhaps being a little bit competitive, with others as faras, taking the lead and assigning rules and also precise. And these are the characteristics of direct iveness and some key phrases that you can use to demonstrate this. 5. Social Assertiveness: The next characteristic of clusters under assertiveness is social assertiveness, and this means feeling comfortable around people and the ability to initiate conversations with a wide variety of people, including strangers. The characteristics in this category are a predisposition to verbal behavior, as opposed to anxiety and communication situations and talkative, also leaving an impression on others with whom you communicate and being likely to be remembered by others and finally holding your own in personal relationships. This area doesn't really have a list of key phrases because social assertiveness is just being comfortable or being comfortable interacting with people. So there aren't a lot of key phrases that I can offer you here, but I can are for use in key behaviours, and I've got five of thumb here. The 1st 1 is to approach strangers with ease and understand that we all share the same human experience at the same time and same place wherever you are. That person is crossing your path and is also in your life so you can recognize this joining if you will, Second characteristics that is a respectful communication at all times. Always communicate respectfully with whomever it is that you're speaking with Third is to share stories and add humor whenever possible. So simply be an engaged conversation partner. Contribute to the conversation, but not only the conversation or the discussion with your ideas, but also contribute to the social climate by sharing funny stories. Funny things that happened to you. We're making some jokes or adding some humor along the way. The fourth idea is to be pleasant and positive. Smile and acknowledge the other people around you. You are sharing this moment in this life, so recognize and honor that. And finally, when you're in relationships and I mean all kinds of relationships not only the romantic kind of relationship which we normally think of when we say we're in a relationship, but I mean actually, all of the relationships that we have in our lives, whether that be with family members or business associates or bosses or employees, whoever it might be, these are all relationships. So in your relationships, you speak up to get your needs met and be willing to openly and honestly discuss your own behaviors as well as your relational partners. So these air some ideas on how to express social assertiveness and some areas where you can focus if you feel that you need to improve in this area, you're taking this course because you would like to be more assertive. So these air some areas where you can practice assertiveness socially. And if you're not comfortable around strangers, just try to be more comfortable around them. And one way that you can do that is to recognize the experience that you're sharing in this moment, which means you are breathing the same air. You're walking on the same ground. Even if you don't know this person. You are sharing this moment of life experience, so maybe that can help you relax a little bit and put you a little bit more on even ground if you feel intimidated by talking to people or whatever it might be. But social assertiveness is a cluster of characteristics of assertiveness. So if you want to be assertive, this is one piece of that 6. Defense of Rights: The third cluster of characteristics of a sort of people is defensive rights and interests , and this category is standing up for your rights, such as being able to confront others who are taking advantage of you. Characteristics in this category include you're not easily persuadable. You defend your own beliefs and a tendency toward contentiousness, which is overly quarrelsome. So you might be willing to argue your points here if it means something to you. And if they're issues that matter, you'll get in there and argue with whoever it is that seems to be disagreeing with you and not necessarily in a bad way or a disrespectful way, but simply stating your position and not backing down. Key phrases in this category to help you out include the following, and I have quite a few a list of 10 or so here. I'm not sure that's a fair assessment of that situation. Some sort of bias might be creeping in there, or I'll gladly take care of that for you once have taken care of this, or you can certainly think that way if you want to, but I'm gonna have to disagree. That perspective just doesn't work for me or I'm going to disagree with you on that or I understand where you're coming from. And I actually think it's more a matter of this than of that, or I'm going to remain skeptical as to what you said, at least for now. But I'll think about it for I'm not convinced all of the facts are on the table for all of us to make a reasonable assessment here, or I hear what you're saying. I just don't agree. We have different ways of viewing the world, and that's okay. Differences keep life interesting. And finally, I haven't heard that perspective before. Where did it come from? It might have some merit. I'm just not sure I buy it. So these key phrases are simply a tool kit for you to recognize and maybe pull a couple out a couple that you like, so that you can use one of them or alter one of them for your purpose is in the moment. A lot of times what happens and the reason that people aren't necessarily as a sort of as they could be is because there's an intimidation factor in the face of some sort of confrontation or some sort of conflict, So it's much easier to just back down and walk away than it is to stand there and say something and stand up for yourself. So these airways, that you can stand up for yourself and defend your own beliefs and not let other people push you around or get you to agree with them just because they want you to. 7. Independence: the final cluster of characteristics for a sort of people is independence, and this is the ability to maintain one's own personal convictions or positions even when you receive pressure from other people to conform to theirs. Characteristics under this category include a willingness to take a stand and simply being independent. Key phrases might include. It seems to me that or I realized that you will all disagree with what I'm about to say, but that's OK. I feel it needs to be said, and I hope I can get your attention even though you may disagree, or why are you giving me pressure to do it your way? I don't understand or well, I'm looking at all of the angles that I know off. And as far as I can tell, it's a matter of that. In this characteristic, you demonstrate that you can think for yourself. You have your own ideas and you're willing to take a stand and argue those ideas if you want to, or if you need to 8. Clusters, conclusion: So these are the four clusters of characteristics of assertiveness. Once again, they are direct, iveness social assertiveness, defense of rights and interests and independence. I recommend that you work on each one of these areas individually. Try one for a while. Get comfortable with that. Then try another area. Get comfortable with that and work your way up until eventually. You're comfortable with inter changing characteristics from each of these areas easily and seamlessly. I think that if you try to tackle each of the areas all at once, it will be overwhelming for you and a little bit confusing. So I would certainly recommend that you pick one to start with and work with that one and then eventually add the others into so that you can gain your skills in each of these areas and increase your assertiveness. 9. Nonverbal Cues, Intro: the last section talked about things that you can say. It talked about assertiveness, characteristics and tips on phrases that you can use to demonstrate assertiveness. This section talks about nonverbal cues that you can pay attention to to demonstrate nonverbally, a sort of behaviors. I've broken this down for you into seven areas of non verbal communication. These are vocal ICS, which is use of voice proxy mix, which is use of space haptics. Use of touch Kenny six. Use of movement, face gays and clothing. The lectures in this section discuss each of these areas in turn and assertiveness behaviors that you can pay attention to in each of these areas. 10. Nonverbals: vocalics, proxemics: this lecture discusses folk Alex or use of voice and proxy mix or use of space when it comes to a sort of communication. So let's talk about Coke. Alex. The voice has many different features, and we're going to talk about some of those as they relate to a sort of communication. The first is inflection. Your inflection is the amount that your voice goes up and down. When you want to communicate assertively, try to hold your voice steady and firm. Do not let it tremble. Hang in there. The next area is volume. Be sure to speak loudly enough to be clearly heard, and don't let your voice trail off at the end of your sentences. Be firm and what you have to say and finish your sentences in terms of pacing or speed. Speak slowly enough to be fully understood. Don't rush through what it is you have to say that undermines your credibility. Intonation is where we often demonstrate our emotion in our voice, so make sure that your intonation is emotion neutral and does not express anger, sadness or pleasure. It should be pleasant but emotion free. Also, articulation is important. Be sure to articulate, clearly enunciate all of the syllables of all of your words and pronounce all of the sounds in all of the words completely, at least in English. When you take the time and care enough to formulate your words completely and your sentences completely, it demonstrates that you care about what you're saying, and if you care about it and you take it seriously, you give a signal to the other person that he or she should also take it seriously. So those are some tips on use of voice in terms of use of space. As you might guess, hold a respectable distance from your conversation partner. Don't go too close to them. For them to be uncomfortable, make sure that your distance is a comfortable one for you both, so that the issue of somebody being too close doesn't cloud your ability to speak clearly or your conversation partners ability to focus on what it is that you're saying. You don't want any interference, so those are some tips on assertiveness, in the voice and in the use of space 11. Nonverbals: haptics, kinesics: continuing our discussion of nonverbal cues to demonstrate assertive communication. This lecture talks about haptics, which is use of touch, and Connie six, which is use of movement. When we talk about touch when appropriate, touch the arm or the shoulder of the person you're talking to, gently and briefly. This decreases distance, increases solidarity and increases intimacy. When you increase solidarity and intimacy, you decrease uncertainty. When you decrease uncertainty, you increase comfort. I hope you follow that. In any case, use touch to your advantage. Use it purposefully and intentionally touch your conversation partner or the hand or on the arm when you're making an important point. That also indicates that this is an important point for you and you definitely want them to pay attention. Otherwise, keep your hands and your feet to yourself. The next area of this lecture is Kenny six, which is the use of movement. This is a really big area. It covers gesture, posture, gait. This is how your body moves. So these are some tips to demonstrate a sort of communication with your body. Lean in while you're speaking to someone is that demonstrates confidence and also that you're paying attention check your posture. Try to put your shoulders back, your spine straight and your chin level in your gate. Walk with regular to large sized steps. Not really small ones. When you take a lot of small steps, it appears like you're running when it appears that you're running every place it that does not come across as assertive. Move through the day as though you're comfortable in your own skin and comfortable with your own outlook on the world. This is how you exude confidence just to demonstrate that you're comfortable with who you are. And if you're not comfortable with who you are, try to fake it because that kind of stuff comes across. Take time for normal things that take time. Don't rush. So when you're at the grocery line, for example, in the clerk hands or your change, take the time to put it away. Don't rush and feel like you have to get out of the next person's way. The next tip is on gestures. Use your gestures intentionally. If you have a tendency to give a flourish of gestures when you're nervous, keep your hands folded. Work something in them or keep them in your pockets. Use your gestures intentionally to reinforce and support what it is that you're saying. If your gestures indicate your nervous, you need to stop your hands. Finally hold your feet Firm in your stance. Hold your stands firm. Don't shift your weight pace or otherwise fidget. So these were some tips for you to demonstrate a sort of communication in the areas of touch and movement. 12. Nonverbals: face, gaze: This is the final lecture on nonverbal communication cues that you can use to demonstrate assertive communication. This lecture discusses the face, gays and clothing. The face is extremely expressive, and a lot of times thes expressions that are face does are involuntary. We react to things, and we show something in our face. Surprise, worry, dislike whatever it might be. When you are being assertive, try to keep your face steady and firm. Try to manage the expressions. Be very aware of the expressions that your face is having and the impression that you're giving off with your facial expressions. Try to suppress all indications of emotion, at least in professional situations or situations with strangers. But in personal relationships, your emotional expression might be appropriate. You're gonna have to gauge that, but in any case, be aware of what your face is doing and use it intentionally. Give your face a smile or 1/2 smile while you're communicating assertively and personal communication. Personal relationships. This may or may not be optimal, but in any case, as I said, use your facial expressions intentionally and consciously in terms of the gays. In a sort of communication, at least in the United States. Make and keep your eye contact, especially at that moment. When you are expressing your assertiveness, you need to try to make and maintain eye contact. In terms of clothing. You want to dress in a way that is appropriate and acceptable for the situation. If you're asking for a raise today or you're trying to get out of some trouble at work, where something extra professional, if you're going to a meeting and intend to assert yourself, gauge the situation and how your assertions will be best received. Sometimes a power suit achieves gaining the respect of your peers, but sometimes that's too much, and that power suit builds resistance in your audience. Sometimes a softer approach, such as a sweater and khakis, is better for achieving and gaining your peers acceptance. But other times this attire allows people to not take you very seriously. However you dress, think about how you can maximize the possibility that others will listen to you, and that you will be met with neither strong resistance nor under dismissal. So you're gonna have to gauge your audience and figure out what is least threatening and most powerful at the same time, you have to find that balance. So these are the ways that you can use your face, your gaze and your clothing to demonstrate assertiveness. 13. Conclusion: in conclusion here. I hope that you have enjoyed these lectures, and I hope that you found them useful. Once again. I recommend that you work on each of these characteristics one at a time, focus on one for a week or two, then switched to another one and then mix them up, whatever it might be. But develop your assertiveness skills slowly. Don't expect to go out tomorrow and try to incorporate all of the's techniques into all of your communications. You will just be overwhelmed and probably give up. So don't do that. But do take a slower approach and really internalized the ideas that are being promoted here toward more assertive communication. I would also like to add that people don't always like it when you don't let them run all over you or when you speak up, especially when they're used to running all over you and you not speaking up. But that's okay. They don't have to like it. And that's also why it's really important to be respectful and polite at all times. Taking a step toward assertive communication is hard enough. Getting grief for it makes it all that much harder, so the more polite and respectful you can be while you're standing your ground and being firm and being a leader and being assertive, the better off you're gonna be in your own mind and in your own heart and in the eyes of everyone else. And finally, as a final comment and assertive approach to life brings you all of the greatest things that your life has to offer you. It lets you ask for what you want and to make sure that your needs are met without harming other people. If you want something, go for it. Go after it. Go get it. Stand up for yourself at all times, politely and respectfully. And don't let others bully you into submission. That's not good for you or for your well being. Good luck. 14. Passive Communication: this lecture talks about assertiveness for passive communicators. Passive people are generally challenged toe hold themselves and their own needs at an equal level. As they hold other people's assertive people need to first recognize that everyone on earth is on equal footing. Of course, there are social hierarchies, but assertive people treat everyone else as their equal when it comes to saying no and not letting others take advantage of them. This is a challenge for passive people. Passive people also often keep quiet when it comes to expressing their thoughts and their feelings, and have difficulty taking a position and defending it. Sometimes this silence is rooted in fear that others will disagree with um, which, in the passive person's mind might be a sort of equivalent to that other person telling them that they're wrong. And this just makes the passive person feel bad. It's much easier, less contentious and more harmonious to just keep quiet to a passive person. There are two essential problems with communicating passively. First, passive communicators don't properly defend themselves. They allow others to take advantage of them because it is so difficult for them to say no. They end up absorbing others ideas as their own because they don't have the courage to formulate their own opinions, which they would also have to eventually defend. So it's much easier to just go along with everyone else. The second essential problem with communicating passively is that just because passive people don't outwardly express their wishes or needs, that doesn't mean that they don't have them. But when they can express their wishes and needs, outwardly, directly and honestly, these same wishes and needs rear their heads in ugly ways. On the surface, passive people are passive and appear to be always getting along with others. But underneath lurks an unsatisfied self who feels taken advantage of and pissed off. What happens then is an effort to defend themselves rather than broaching the subject directly and taking the bull by the horn, so to speak. Their anger and frustration emergen underhanded, manipulative ways. This is passive aggression. Very few people are so truly passive that there don't engage in passive aggressive behavior . Passive aggression undermines healthy and honest relationships and creates problems aimed at disrupting other people's peaceful lives. In this way, passive people are also highly manipulative people constantly engaging in subversive games of control and struggles for power. These problems that the passive person creates through inappropriate expression of his or her needs and wishes vanish when the person is communicating assertively. A sort of communication is the space where people express themselves honestly and directly without feeling guilty for thinking or feeling as they do, or for saying no to unreasonable requests. This is where you defend yourself in your ideas and you stand up for yourself when you have to, to ensure that others don't walk all over you. Passive communicators will fit naturally with the hedging and other politeness features of a sort of communication has offered. In this course, hedging is a linguistics term that means inserting uncertainty. So instead of saying it will rain tomorrow, which is a statement of 100% certainty, hedging includes language softener such as it might rain tomorrow, or according to the forecast, it will rain tomorrow. Both of these latter options give the speaker and out in case they're wrong. This is a comfortable space for passive communicators, because adopting this sort of hedged communication allows for the expression of the self, including saying no gently and not intrusively passive communicators are overly concerned with others responses. So it is a natural step to move into the politeness features of a sort of communication. Instead of saying no directly, it is a natural progression for passive communicators to express their no in ways such as, Ah, I'm not so sure about that. I personally understand the challenges to moving, passing communication into the realm of assertive communication. Because I used to be a passive communicator, I let people take advantage of me, and I couldn't say no. In fact, I often offered self sacrifice to benefit the group. For example, if there were five of us and only room in the car for four, I voluntarily backed out over time. And with a lot of internal work, I am no longer a passive communicator, much to the chagrin of those who wanted me to be a passive communicator for life. But that's OK through that experience, coupled with the research literature in this area, I offer the following specifically for passive communicators to become more assertive. There are two tips I have here. The first is to remember that no one else is better than you or has more value than you as a human being sharing space here on this planet, you're on the same level as every single other person. Internalizing This perspective is key to developing a sort of communication skills, because for me, it was the backdrop to everything else. When you see yourself as equally valuable to everyone else, assertive communication characteristics fall into place. You can more easily express yourself, ask for things you want or need force your opinions. Okay, depending on the audience and the opinion. Be smart about it. Express your feelings. Say no, hold your ground and all of the other characteristics that sort of people hold. Secondly, following number one remember that you matter what you want and what you need are important . Maybe not to other people, but they're important to you and to your well being. And thats enough reason to go after what you want and insist on receiving what you need. So these were some insights to passive communicators looking to be more assertive. It's a bit of a mindset shift, and it's also a language shift in using language that expresses less than 100% certainty. Even if you are 100% certain about what you're saying, Good luck 15. Aggressive Communication: this lecture is on assertiveness for aggressive people, the challenge for aggressive people gaining assertiveness skills is to back off a bit. Aggressive people tend to feel the need to win at whatever it is that they're playing or doing. They often feel that to not win or to not come out on top means to come out on the bottom. And they can't have that while passive people allow others to take advantage of them and have difficulty saying no aggressive people flipped to the exact opposite end and will make damn sure others don't take advantage of them. They don't have a much of a problem saying no, but they do have a problem being nice about it. Sometimes the key difference between aggressive communication and assertive communication is the locus of the attack. A sort of people will take issue with others ideas all day long, but never get personal and never intend to offend. Aggressive people get personal and whether or not they intend to offend. They certainly don't care if they dio it. Isn't this offensiveness that they often perceived that they have gained power if they could belittle others and make them feel inferior, if they can make others cower as they see it, they have gained respect and they will come out on top. Some people have to come out on top at all times and will fight viciously for that top position. What aggressive communicators lack is empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in other shoes and see the world through their eyes . It is also relating to others pain as if you're experiencing it yourself. This is different from sympathy, which is feeling bad for someone for their painful situation. Empathy is experiencing a situation as that other person would, for good or for bad and feeling what they must feel as a communicator. Empathy is important because it guides what you say and what you don't say and how you phrase things. If your intent is to retain empathy, you will focus on not offending and not offending will be a primary priority in whatever message you have to deliver. But if you lack empathy, you don't care. Whether or not you piss People off is long as your own agenda is met. Your attitude is too bad. If you don't like it in meeting your agenda with this attitude, you easily step on toes, be little, degrade, humiliate, ridicule, mock insult, offend and simply hurt others. Sometimes the harm you inflict goes far deeper than you have any idea, and you can leave lasting scars. Does it make you feel strong to know that you've inflicted so much pain on another person that they will carry this burden with them for a while after all that, remember you and they'll know better than to mess with you in the future. If so, then you need this course even more than passive communicators. It is not okay to go around spewing out verbal violence just because someone disagrees with you or doesn't want to do it your way. I know a little something about aggressive communication because I've been there myself and because I've known many, many very aggressive communicators along the way. Somewhere in my family, some of been employers and some used to be friends, the thinking seems to be consistent. They lack the empathy to be concerned about how their words land on others. If their words are harmful. The aggressive communicator tends to blame the victim for being oversensitive or for taking it. The wrong way. In truth, the onus lies on the communicator to not offend rather than on the communication recipients to not be offended. The aggressive communicator has some work to do to move into the assertive camp. It's not hard, though, and it boils down to one essential tip here. It ISS lighten up. Let people be human. Allow room for error and differences. Don't insist on coming out on top every time, but be reasonable about it. Consider that if you come out on top every time, it's not because you're actually better. It's because you're actually a bully. You make sure everyone else is out of your way. That's not cool. There are a couple of additional tips I can offer you to make the move from aggressive, too assertive communicator. Stop picking up people. Don't go for the jugular. Don't make insulting innuendoes. Stick to the issue whatever the issue is, and leave the personal assaults out of it entirely. That's the key difference between aggressive communication and assertive communication. Right there also gain empathy. Think about how your comments land. Think about being on the receiving end of what you're dishing out, knowing full well all of the layers of innuendo that you intend. How would you feel to be on the receiving end of what you're dishing up? Make sure what's coming out of your mouth is respectful of others and their needs, wishes and rights as human beings, such as being entitled to an opinion, for example, or choosing their own friends without your guidance or input. So this is a brief discussion of aggressive communication versus assertive communication, and it certainly isn't comprehensive. But this is the nuts and bolts of the differences between the two and, more importantly, how you can move from aggressive communication, too assertive communication. It's simple, really lighten up and care more about others, at least as far as this course is concerned. That's fine. Remember also that the more respect you give others, the more respect you earn from others. So if you won't lighten up on people for their sick, do it for the sake of your own reputation and social standing. Remember that how you treat others says more about you than it does about them, so to resort to ugly communication makes you look well, ugly. Let's leave that behind and move into a certain territory. Good luck