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Learning assertive communication

Posted on February 10, 2024

Learning assertive communication

Assertive communication is a way of communicating with others that expresses the communicator’s view in a clear and direct manner, while still remaining respectful and aware of the opinions of those around them.

This is a good skill to learn as it allows the individual to express and get their own thoughts and feelings across in a way that is understandable to others, does not offend others, and is a great way to maintain control and calm over a situation.

This could help minimize conflict, such as in a workplace or school environment.

This is also a good skill to learn for specific groups of people. For example, individuals who struggle with confidence and self-esteem may want to consider learning this style of communication, as well as those who may have been in controlling or guarded environments for a long period of time.

Find out everything you need to know about assertive communication by calling us today on 0800 088 66 86

Characteristics of Assertive Communication

Two women talking one-to-one at a table

When an individual is communicating assertively they will have an air of confidence, with good eye contact, body language, and a good sense of personal boundaries.

This is how an individual can maintain effective communication skills and still be respectful.

Assertive people will be confident in what they are going to say, how they are going to say it, and who they are saying it to. This will allow for the greatest method of communication in a range of different situations.

Get the help you need to take control of your life again by calling us again on 0800 088 66 86

Benefits of Assertive Communication

Two men in 1-1 therapy

With all the factors mentioned above (e.g., eye contact and positive relationships), an individual is able to use their assertive communication styles and skills effectively.

This means that they will be able to control a situation, reduce conflict, express their opinions in a way that means others listen, and generally improve the quality of a conversation overall.

Depending on the styles of communication used by others, an individual may also be able to gain positive insights from those around them based on their responses and reactions to what is being said.

Being assertive in oneself, and therefore having confidence in assertive communication techniques, will allow an individual to feel more confident in themselves, as well as feeling more confident in their communication skills and talking to others in general.

Assertive communication may also improve relationships and reduce stress [1] across the individual’s life as a whole.

Experience all the benefits of assertive communication for yourself by giving us a call on 0800 088 66 86

Assertive vs. Aggressive vs. Passive Communication

A male patient talking to a female therapist

Assertive communication refers to what has been mentioned thus far – the method of communicating in which an individual can considerately express their own opinions while remaining respectful of others and their personal boundaries.

Aggressive communication is somewhat different. This is where an individual communicates their opinions, but in a way that may seem threatening or disrespectful to the other parties involved in the conversation.

Aspects of assertiveness may be present in this form of communication, but it is generally considered as aggressive and the individual communicating in this way may be considered an aggressive person.

Passive communication is the opposite to assertive communication in the fact that the individual is avoiding actively saying how they think and feel, and is instead ignoring their own needs, perhaps requiring the guidance of others.

In addition, these individuals may also be very apologetic (even when they don’t need to be), self-deprecating, and require others to make decisions for them.

Learn more about different communication styles and how they can help you by talking to our team on 0800 088 66 86

How to be more assertive in 10 steps


If an individual is seeking to be more assertive in their communication, then there are some steps that they can take toward a more positive and effective communication tip.

Though it may also be effective to attend external courses, if an individual is truly struggling with the concept of assertive communication, practising these simple concepts at home or with a close friend can be effective in gaining a sense of the key concepts.

The following subheadings outline the 10 top tips for communicating more effectively with those around you and in difficult situations.

1. Identify your communication style

This is the first step that an individual should take at the beginning of their journey toward greater assertive communication and involves the identification of the individual’s current way of communicating with those around them.

There are many ways in which this could be measured, but having a general summary of how you believe that you communicate can be a great starting point for making positive changes.

Some studies, [2] for example, have studied communication styles in relation to preciseness, reflectiveness, expressiveness, supportiveness, emotionality, niceness, and threateningness, though this only scratches the surface of a variety of different communication methods and further research is needed.

2. Develop confident body language

As mentioned previously, body language can be a great way to express your intentions and opinions. This is because it supports the strong image that an individual should be trying to portray when presenting their own opinion, especially in a situation of conflict.

For example, if an individual is slouching or unsteady in themselves, then they may not be taken seriously, even if they have a good point to make.

However, if someone stands up straight, gestures appropriately, and appears generally steady and confident in themselves, they are likely to be taken far more seriously and their opinion may be considered for a longer period of time by those around them.

3. Speak loudly and clearly

One of the first steps of being listened to is being heard. If an individual is making the greatest speech the world has ever experienced, it would not matter if no one could hear it.

This is another reason why good body language and posture are good for assertive communication. It allows the individual to stand up straight and get the best airflow through their lungs, allowing them to use it more effectively in their speech.

However, speaking loudly is not the same as shouting. Too far the other way on the spectrum, and an individual will be left looking like a shouting unhappy toddler rather than someone with something important to say.

A balance between being heard and not deafening anyone should be found when attempting assertive communication in any situation.

4. Express strong opinions calmly

Instead of getting worked up or over-excited in a situation, an individual who is trying to express their opinion – no matter how strong – should always do so in a calm and collected manner.

If someone is trying to present their opinion in a manic and stressed manner, others are not as likely to listen due to the implications of their appearance and what this may mean for what they are saying.

Remaining calm, even when presenting something that may be considered controversial, is a great way to maintain control and direction of the conversation, minimizing the chance of people reacting negatively in an instant and instead giving the individual the opportunity to speak.

Two men, one with his hand on the other's shoulder

5. Practice saying no

In all situations that an individual feels uncomfortable in, it is always acceptable to say “no”.

This is something that many individuals may struggle with, either due to their past or their conceptions of being rude.

In fact, if someone or something has put you in a position where you feel uncomfortable, it is the perfect opportunity to exercise assertive communication and use the word “no” or something similar to express your true opinions.

Though a person may be initially taken aback or offended by the communication style the individual has chosen, they will hopefully eventually work out that they may have been in the wrong or understand that the situation they are in may not be one that others are comfortable with.

If they do not make this realisation, then they are probably not worth recommunicating with.

6. Express your feelings

As a key part of assertive communication, individuals are sharing their true opinions and feelings and not sugar-coating them for those around them who may not hold the same opinions.

This is also a difficult concept for some individuals, as they may have been taught to keep their thoughts to themselves, either in childhood or within a toxic relationship.

By sharing your opinions exactly as they are to others, you are able to form far more meaningful relationships and understandings as you are being authentically yourself and not editing things you may like or dislike for the sake of others.

In all situations, however, respect should be maintained at all times. Finding a balance between honesty and respect is also essential in assertive communication.

7. Use “I” statements

In order to make the most effective communication between individuals, it is important that individuals not only express their opinions honestly but also that they make it specific to them – not attempting to dilute their thoughts behind other pronouns.

For example, the sentence “your manner is making me nervous” could cause conflict in some situations as it is a personally directed message.

However, the sentence “I feel uncomfortable in this position right now” is far less direct and may cause the other individual to realise that they have been causing discomfort without causing further conflict.

This is also useful in a number of other situations and is a great way for individuals to ensure that their opinions are expressed clearly, in relation to them and directly referencing themselves.

8. Learn how to address and resolve conflicts

If there is conflict, it is essential that individuals are aware of it and know how to address it in the event that it does occur.

This can involve some of the points already mentioned above i.e., using “I” statements, as well as understanding how to express recognition of the individual’s emotions and behaviours without directly blaming them.

Being confident, having good body language, and speaking clearly and loudly enough to be listened to in these situations are also great skills to practise.

9. Practice with the people closest to you

If an individual is practising assertive communication for the first few times, it may be beneficial for them to practise with those around them i.e., close friends and/or family.

If these individuals also have a base knowledge of what the individual is trying to express and practise, this will also help them greatly to give feedback and help them progress further.

Practising with close friends and family can reduce a lot of the pressure, stress, and nervousness that may occur when it comes to communicating with people you are less familiar with or have never met before.

10. Expect to need to re-assert yourself

In the first few instances of practising assertive communication, as well as throughout the individual’s life, every person can expect to have to re-assert themselves at some point.

This may be due to the time between communication opportunities, leading to a loss of respect from one or both sides, as well as a number of other factors that an individual can expect to deal with when considering long-term communication.

Re-assertion can be a little jarring for some individuals, especially if they feel as though they are improving over time, but it is a vital practice for those who want to maintain this skill in the long term.

Get all the help you need to learn how to be more assertive by giving us a call today on 0800 088 66 86

Addiction and assertion

A common situation in which an individual may need to display assertive communication skills is between those who may be struggling with addiction (also known as a substance use disorder).

For example, if an individual has been living in a situation in which they are constantly exposed to substances, co-dependent with another individual, or wanting to break away from a life of addiction and substance consumption, they may be able to use assertive communication to get the help they need.

Breaking connections with individuals who may have been related to addiction-related behaviours i.e., a dealer or someone who constantly consumes substances with the individual, is one of the first steps of recovery and can require a firm communication style.

Though it may seem hard, there are many sources of support and individuals can ask for support in these instances by contacting Rehab Recovery today.

Get the help you need by calling our expert addiction team on 0800 088 66 86

Reduce stress, communicate better


The main benefit of assertive communication is that it reduces stress on the overall conversation, not just on the individuals separately.

With a strong communication style set up between a group of people, communication will become more efficient, effective, and beneficial for those involved.

This can be especially helpful in workplace environments, as well as environments in which there is a lot of responsibility and pressure on different areas, creating less stress in trying to get information and share information with others.

Find your way to being more self-assertive and enjoying a happier, healthier life – give our team a call on 0800 088 66 86

Final Thoughts on ​Assertive Communication

Women talking 1-1

Assertive communication is not something that comes naturally to all individuals, so do not expect to get to grips with it straight away.

Instead, individuals should celebrate small victories, as well as look at the positives of what they have gained from conversations in which they communicated assertively.

To learn more about how assertive addiction can help those who may be struggling with addiction, get in contact with Rehab Recovery today. We are here to help you.

No matter how serious, trivial, relevant, or irrelevant a problem may seem, get in touch with our addiction support line on 0800 088 66 86




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