Here are the final four steps in assertive communication. Hopefully, these will help with both speaking up and listening.
- Provide clarification. If the receiver doesn’t understand what you’re saying, clarify it. However, just because you say things clearly, doesn’t mean that’s how they’ll be heard. If problems persist, make certain that you’re communicating openly and non-defensively and suggest resuming the conversation later if you want.
- Create a new opportunity. As long as we’re alive, we can have a follow-up or “recovery conversation” when we’re not satisfied with a prior outcome. First, all parties must agree to this. Next, remember that each person is responsible for approaching the “recovery” conversation in an open-minded, non-defensive way intending to listen and be heard. With this goal, everyone wins.
- Ending the conversation. If the other person becomes attacking or abusive, it’s time to stop. If you want, you can offer to have a “recovery conversation” later. Whatever the choice, it’s yours. Being assertive doesn’t mean tolerating abusive behavior or language. It does mean standing up for yourself and setting limits.
- Be clear about your intentions. Assertivenes requires admitting to yourself whether you’re genuinely interested in open and honest communication or proving you’re right and other self-serving motives. If intentions aren’t aligned with what’s best for the relationship , you won’t succeed. When aligned, there are limitless possibilities for positive results.
Next week we’ll be discussing the new 7-week self-care challenge starting March 21. If you participated in our October 21-day self-care challenge, we’d appreciate your comments and ideas on how to improve your experience.