What exactly is meant by the term “assertive communication,” and why is it beneficial?
There is a widespread misunderstanding regarding assertive communication, namely the idea that assertiveness leads to problems or conflicts. However, in my experience as a Mediation Weymouth mediator, I have found that the majority of the disagreements in which I have been requested to mediate involve a lack of assertiveness on the part of either party. And it seems likely that the argument would either have been settled or would have been less complicated if there had been some communication that was a bit more forceful.
Why, therefore, does the trait known as ‘assertiveness’ sometimes have a poor reputation?
The reason for this is frequently that the behaviour that has been described as assertiveness is not, in fact, assertive.
The kind of behaviour that most people regard to be excessively irritating or too confrontational is often aggressive communication, which can include things like unnecessary volume, an accusing tone, shouting over other people, not listening, and a lack of displaying curiosity in communication.
What exactly does it mean to communicate assertively?
My understanding of the term “assertive communication” is that it refers to communicating in a confident and straightforward manner.
The delivery of a message is only one aspect of effective communication; just as important is making sure the person on the receiving end of the communication has the same understanding of what was said as you did.
According to the words of George Bernard Shaw, “The single largest obstacle in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” [Citation needed]
A unified delivery and understanding of the message are essential components of assertive communication, which requires attention to both aspects.
Affirmative stances and logical arguments:
There will always be tension in your life. As a Mediation Weymouth mediator, my goal is not to eliminate all potential sources of contention; rather, I want to provide individuals with the tools necessary to engage in fruitful debate while avoiding the introduction of extraneous factors that might exacerbate tensions. My observations have led me to the conclusion that unpleasant disagreements and misunderstandings are more likely to arise when there is a “gap.”
There is a “gap” in terms of knowledge, comprehension, and the capacity for communication. This void is then filled by assumptions, conclusions that are not helpful, and a search for support or direction from those who have a perspective that is prejudiced. When one person does not get communication that is clear and confident (assertiveness) from the other, the first person begins to draw their own conclusions, which may or may not be impacted by the perspectives of individuals who are in their immediate environment.
When participants arrive for a Mediation in Weymouth session, I spend the most of the first half of the session deconstructing the assumptions and misunderstandings that have been brought into the conversation. The vast majority of which would not have taken place if one or all of the parties had felt confidence and been able to interact directly with the other parties.
I have not yet been involved in a Mediation Weymouth session when there was not at least one occasion in which one party shared something with the other that was considered “new knowledge.” In my experience, despite the fact that a lot of individuals are convinced they can read other people’s minds, their predictions are almost never accurate.
The strength that comes from being aggressive
Being perceived as a “clear communicator” is not the only aspect of assertiveness that is important. It is a potent instrument for establishing constructive patterns of communication in interpersonal interactions. When people make the conscious decision to engage in talks that are uncomfortable but necessary, they open the door to a chance for clarity between themselves and other people. Because of this clarity, it is possible to put an end to wondering about the other person’s motives, making false assumptions, and letting the views and perspectives of others to influence how you perceive them. In essence, it can prevent unneeded disputes.
Being assertive helps prevent feelings of resentment from ever emerging. Even if a person does not voice their viewpoint on a topic, their wish to be included in a project, or the fact that they feel misunderstood or disregarded, this does not mean that they do not experience feelings of resentment. If, on the other hand, they believe that they have the resources and the ability to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and wants, then they will have a greater chance of being in a position in which they are listened to, understood, and have their needs addressed.
The ability to set and uphold appropriate boundaries in personal and professional relationships, as well as in other aspects of one’s life, requires a level of assertiveness that is often lacking. It is far more probable that other people will respect your limits if you are able to convey them with confidence and clarity.
Being assertive might require expressing your message in a clear and concise manner, but it can also involve asking insightful questions to achieve clarity for yourself. This makes assertiveness an effective strategy for dispute resolution. In addition, this indicates a curiosity about the other person’s ideas or feelings, which is a very admirable trait. When there is an expression of wanting to understand each other, it tears down walls that people have built up to defend themselves and gives a doorway to empathy and connection.
A failure to communicate in a direct and aggressive manner can result in a number of negative outcomes, including misunderstandings regarding one’s intentions and ideas, the accumulation of grudges, the escalation of conflicts to more complicated levels, and the formation of wrong assumptions.
On the other hand, having the tools and the confidence to speak assertively leads to communication that is open and honest, clarity around healthy boundaries, rapid and effective conflict resolution, empathy, and trust.
Why, therefore, would you decide against acquiring the skills necessary to communicate in a more forceful manner?