Assertive communication plays a crucial role in the foundation and enhancement of your professional career. It assists you in developing trust and respect, helps you solve differences and allows you to build important relationships. It’s important to know how to use your professional voice as a tool to create your own success.
I stumbled across a study that claims to offer a solution that will help women gain leadership positions in the workplace. The study suggests that women who can switch “masculine” behaviors on and off (acting aggressive, assertive and confident)—at the right times, get more promotions than men. You know I’m all for studies and statistics, but a powerful woman should not have to “self-monitor” her behavior to achieve her career goals. I strongly believe that confidence is gender-blind. Any individual who has the passion and drive to succeed can succeed.
With that said, these useful assertiveness techniques can help you enhance your professional communication skills:
Think Before You Speak
An assertive voice sounds confident, grounded and self-assured. Know what you want to say before you say it. Be in control of your communication style. Arrange your thoughts before important conversations or meetings. Develop a crystal clear picture of the message you’re trying to send so you can communicate it with clarity.
Look ’em in the Eye
Whether you are speaking with a co-worker or supervisor, maintain eye contact with that person. This conveys respect and creates direct and impactful communication. Be attentive and engaged in the conversation, even if it’s not the most intriguing conversation you’ve ever had.
Don’t Tip the Scale
Confidence and humility work well together when they are balanced. Accept praise for a job well done, but avoid being boastful or belittling to others in order to elevate yourself in the eyes of others. Stand for your own rights while respecting the rights and beliefs of others.
Stop . . . Collaborate and Listen
Having a collaborative attitude is productive and can open the door to new relationships and opportunities. Avoid disputing every comment that someone makes even if you think or know you’re right. Share your knowledge instead of preaching it and open yourself to the ideas of others.
Write it the Right Way
Word choice and construction play a large role in writing assertively. How you write something is just as important as what you write. Select the right tone in your business correspondence. Whether you are formatting a business email or letter, keep it succinct, unambiguous and direct.
Learn to Say “No”
Say it with me . . . “No.” Many women find it difficult to say “no” to requests in the workplace without feeling guilty or jeopardizing professional relationships. You take responsibility when you say, “yes,” but also when you say “no.” Offer a solution as a way of showing that you understand the importance of the request and care about the outcome.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Own the power of your words!
How have you used your professional voice assertively? What challenges have you faced as a powerful woman in business? Share your comments below.