It is astonishing how often we try to guess what a person is thinking, and then get ourselves into trouble because of it. If, however, we put our mind-reading aside and simply ask the person what’s going on, we can fare a lot better.
If, for example, someone ignores you, don’t try to guess why. Ask why. ‘You seem to be avoiding me. If that’s the case I would like to know why. If I have offended you I would like to know. I might even be able to take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again with someone else.’
That’s good because you are asking the person for advice. People love giving advice. And you could discover that the person has not been ignoring you. Or, they have been ignoring you for good reason! Either way, you have information to digest.
It’s scary to ask for feedback, but it’s helpful. And assertive.
Bill could either keep guessing, or he could ask the question: ‘Boss, you have not given me a promotion in forty-five years. What do I need to do to get one?’
Asking why can give surprising results. Ask your questions diplomatically and with thought. Remember, the idea of being assertive is for both parties to feel respected.
And remember another key: politely but insistently ensure your question is answered.
Why do we need to be assertive? Find out why in ‘Don’t Live in Wimp City‘.
More assertiveness tips:
1. State what needs to happen from now on.
Don’t state the obvious. Focus on the future.
2. You are not obliged to give a reason.
We are taught to justify our decisions. Forget it!
3. Show the person you understand their point of view.
When they realise you understand them, they pressure you less.
4. Don’t run away.
Life isn’t like it is in the movies.
5. You don’t need to solve the other person’s problem.
If you do, there will be more pressure on you to be the solution.
6. You are not obligated to answer all questions.
Sometimes, people ask you questions to manipulate you.
7. Ensure your question is answered.
People are good at dodging questions, and most of the time they don’t realise it. Don’t let them get away with it.
8. Don’t be a citizen of Wimp City.
Are you a ‘sorry’?
9. Don’t be an ‘Are you sure?’.
Who is afraid of being a burden?
10. Don’t be a ‘Maybe’.
Have you ever said to a salesperson, “Maybe later?”
11. Get rid of the ums & ers.
Speak like you know what you are talking about.
13. Ask for help.
That’s one good way to take responsibility for yourself.
14. Learn to say ‘no’.
We are taught to be compliant and co-operative. But that can be a problem.
15. Ask for something in return.
Favours are not tradeable commodities.
16. Accept compliments.
It’s a classy, assertive way to respond.