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Assertive communication

Updated on September 23, 2015

It is a communication style, in which people clearly state their opinions, feelings and needs without ignoring the opinions, feelings and needs of others. They firmly advocate their rights without violating the rights of others. Since assertive communication is born out of self-esteem, they value themselves as well as their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. But, simultaneously, they give value that is due to others without reluctance even if they carry an emotional load of past differences.

Basically, there are four types of communication:

  1. Passive, in which one keeps one’s feelings, needs and opinions to oneself and fails to express them adequately;
  2. Aggressive, in which one screams and yells at others in order to make a point;
  3. Assertive, which is midway between two; and
  4. Passive aggressive communication, in which one appears passive on the surface, but is actually acting out of fear in a subtle and indirect way. They plan behind-the-scene strategies to express their anger for others. They strategize surreptitiously to harm others to give vent to their resentments; they smile at you while setting booby traps all around you.

The assertive communication has primarily three crucial elements:

  1. Credibility, which means that people believe you know what you are talking about;
  2. Emotional connect, which means that you are able to connect emotionally with the people; and
  3. Logic, which means that you have the necessary logic based on a situation.

The assertive communication involves four steps:

  1. It describes the problem objectively stating when, where and why it occurred;
  2. It expresses calmly with restraint focusing on the problem, not the person who is contributing to it;
  3. It specifies carefully how to solve the problem with a willingness to compromise a bit to reach a solution; and
  4. It tells the target person about the positive consequences, resulting from the equitable solution of the problem and negative consequences, resulting from not doing so.

Signs of assertive communicator – They are enumerated below:

  • He or she will state needs and wants clearly, appropriately, and respectfully.
  • He or she will express feelings clearly, appropriately, and respectfully.
  • He or she will use “I” statements more than “you” ones.
  • Such a person will express respect for others during communications.
  • He or she will listen well without interrupting others while communicating.
  • Such a person has a control of oneself.
  • Such a person keeps good eye contact while speaking with others.
  • Such a person will speak in a calm and clear tone of voice.
  • He or she will have a relaxed body posture.
  • He or she will feel connected to others
  • Such a person has self-confidence and feels competent to handle situations.
  • Such a person will not allow others to abuse or manipulate them.
  • He or she will stand up for their own rights and those of others.

Signs of assertive communication – They are enumerated below:

  • It involves everyone concerned in a communication so that all feel connected to each other.
  • It makes all concerned to give full expression to their views and opinions but at the same time does not allow the communication to go out of track or get adrift.
  • Because of maturity of assertive communicators, issues and problems are addressed adequately as quickly as they arise.
  • An assertive communication creates a respectful environment for others to grow and mature.
  • It leaves everyone satisfied or nearly satisfied since the equitable solution is reached in which all take active participation.
  • Such a communications raises respect of everyone concerned in the eyes of each others. If someone had bruised ones’ respect earlier due to any reason, one can restore it by showing assertive communication skills in future. If anyone harps on something unpleasant that happened in the past communications, the current communication will lose the edge of its assertiveness. So, assertive communication has no room for mentioning of past mistakes but makes use of what the communicators learned from those mistakes.
  • It makes all concerned stress free and relaxed.

The bottom line –

The experts agree across the board that assertive communication is the best type of communication since it keeps all pleased, who are involved in it. Additionally, such a communication is always successful because the persons involved are quite mature and competent. It is noteworthy that the skill of assertive communication is learnable; with consistent practice, people can achieve mastery over it to varying extents and bring about many positive changes in their life by practicing assertive communication.


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    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      3 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks for your encouraging comments. I agree that our communication skills have a lot to do with our wiring. But we can always change our wiring if we sincerely want to. Our communications skills can affect our success to a large extent.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Loved reading your hub and you really made me think. I like to think that I do listen well without interrupting others while communicating. Your post took me back to the Human design decoding. Our communication skills have a lot to do with our 'wiring' and over the years if one can observe oneself how we communicate, we can improve on it if needed.

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      3 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks Dana for your encouraging comments.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      3 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      Another great and well informed hub.


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