The Entrepreneur In Heels

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5 Steps To Being Assertive and Getting More Of What You Want

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If you know what you want, but don’t go after it, your biggest liability is you. Be assertive and get out of your own way.

As an entrepreneur being assertive is very important when communicating on behave of your business.  Assertiveness and confidence is produced when you are certain of your purpose and skills.  Although you ultimately want to get to “yes”, you don’t want to come across as arrogant. It’s necessary to be fair to your team, customers and business peers. One of the greatest leadership skills successful entrepreneurs have is the ability to be assertive in a way that shows strength and confidence without tearing others down.

Being assertive means being direct about what you want. It’s the verbal expression of how you feel about something.  In business, assertiveness should always be used as a communication skill to reduce conflict, build confidence and grow your business. When you’re not assertive, you live a life that is beneath your true capabilities.  Over time you will find yourself overwhelmed with regret and lack of self-confidence.  As a business leader it’s important that you are able to stand alone and fight for what you deserve. Leaders must to be able to say “Yes” when it’s yes, and “No” when it’s No.

Here are 5 steps to being more assertive 

1.  Clarity

Be very clear and ask for exactly what you want. Never assume people can read your mind or figure out what you mean. Be sure to communicate using specific words that define what you want to achieve. Leave no room for error. Leave all judgments and perceptions behind. State the facts and stick with the facts.

    • Practice what you are going to say so that it will flow easily
    • Choose words that help the listener visualize a positive situation

2. Body Language

Be sure that your body language in consistent with what you are saying.  Sit up straight, look the other person in the eye. Always use a tone of voice and physical manner that exudes confidence. Avoid being apologetic or statements that make you appear self-doubting.

    • Use facial expressions to show your excitement and reenforce positivity
    • Engage the listener with subtle hand gestures that break up the space between you

3. Be Present

Be present in the conversation. Listen actively while the other person is talking. Show that you hear and understand the other person’s point of view. When you fully understand how the other person feels you can speak to those concerns and remain in control of the conversation. Use “I” statements. I language constructively keeps the focus on what your intentions are and brings clarity to who you really are inside.

    • Use “I” to show  ownership of what you are saying
    • Repeat what the other person says to show you are listening and understand

4. Focus

Stay focused on your objective and in control.  If the conversation strays, always bring it back on track by asking for what you want over and over.  Ignore distractions, continue to express what your ultimate goal is and what you want.

    • Be prepared to answer potential questions on the subject matter
    • Refrain from open-ended questions that will not cause the listener to react with a yes or no

5. Draw The Line

Being assertive does not mean being aggressive. Aggressive behavior is produced from lack of confidence and uncertainty. Aggressive people are seen as bullies who force their opinion on others. Know where to draw the line with your approach.  Assertive entrepreneurs know the value they are offering customers and approach them with positive attitudes and solutions to problems.

    • Show confidence with kindness
    • Listen and validate the other persons opinion

Assertiveness typically has not been known as a “good” trait, but  recently it’s been established that in today’s business world it takes a certain amount of  “umph” to be effective. Being assertive won’t come easy to everyone. Start with small daily steps and incorporate assertiveness gradually. The key is to be able to communicate what you want, while still being considerate and respectful to others. Most importantly, do not imitate anyone but incorporate assertiveness, while still being true to yourself.

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Written by Beverly S. Davis

October 11, 2012 at 10:04 am

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