Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year, New Voice: Tips to Speak Up for Yourself

By April Fischer, Public Relations,

Why do we choose just one time a year to reinvent ourselves? The stress of our daily lives and commitments often leaves us little time to focus on ourselves. No matter what your New Year’s resolution is, one of the most important changes you can make is learning to speak up for yourself.

Assertiveness can make you a stronger person in both your personal and professional life. It doesn’t mean being rude or inconsiderate of others, but instead learning your values and morals and making those known.

People can confuse being aggressive with being assertive. Aggressiveness is defined as, “behavior between people that is intended to cause pain or harm.” On the contrary, assertiveness is a behavior that displays confidence on your part while giving equal respect to the other person.

There are numerous benefits to being assertive. In the professional world, it will help you deal successfully with difficult people. In your personal life, it can lead to calm discussions with friends, spouses or children about your wants and needs in the relationship.

Being assertive is a process. The first step to making it a successful one is figuring out what you would like to convey to the other person. Say for example that you’re angry with your spouse because he is continually coming home later than promised and spending less time with you. Instead of getting angry and yelling, take five minutes during your day to write down how this scenario makes you feel.

After you have your list of feelings, tell your spouse that you would like to sit down and talk when both of you are free from distractions. The key to assertiveness is discussing how a situation makes you feel rather than blaming the other person. Say things like:
• “I feel angry when you do this…”
• “It hurts me when you…”
• “I want you too….”

Using these phrases successfully conveys how you feel while still acknowledging that others may have a different opinion. Through calm discussions and introspection, you can realize more about how you feel and even discover the reason behind those feelings.

Oftentimes people aren’t assertive because we are afraid of hurting feelings or of being hurt ourselves. In order to start standing up for yourself, you have to remember that everyone in this world has a different opinion and it is not your job to agree with him or her.

Being assertive will open a world of possibilities. It will help you to become more confident and comfortable with yourself, improve your relationships, and even lead to that big pay raise you’ve been dreaming about at the workplace.

Want more tips on communicating more effectivley at both work and at home? Check out our fabulous courses including Communicating With Difficult People, Developing Healthy Boundaries and What is Your Body Language Communicating. Log-on to to take our free assessment and access these amazing courses.

About the Author:
April Fischer is junior at Arizona State University. She is majoring in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and hopes to do PR for athletes after she graduates. She is currently a communications & PR intern for Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and is an active member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. April also has written for a local teen magazine, AZTeen, and has articles published in ASU’s student newspaper, The State Press.

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