Communication in work, school, and personal relationships is an essential part of personal and academic success and well-being. By learning how to communicate clearly and effectively, you can make connections with others, accomplish goals, and plan for future endeavors. Assertiveness is an important characteristic of good communication skills. The following are common characteristics of assertive communicators:

  • they express their views clearly and articulately without being aggressive,
  • they initiate and maintain comfortable relationships with others,
  • they stand up for their own and other people’s rights,
  • they allow others to express their opinions without allowing them to dominate conversation,
  • and they express their own views confidently.

When trying to determine if you are an assertive communicator, ask yourself these questions about your communication style and comfort level with others:

  • Do you ask for help if you need it?
  • Do you express anger and annoyance appropriately?
  • Do you volunteer your opinions when you think or feel differently from others?
  • Do you speak up in class?
  • Are you able to say ‘no’ when you don’t want to do something?
  • Do you look at people when you talk to them?
  • Do you generally speak in a confident manner, conveying strength and caring?

Considering your communication patterns can help you determine how much change you need to make in order to have a healthy, assertive communication style. If you feel like you need to make some changes to the way you communicate in order to be an assertive communicator, here are some things to think about:

  • think about yourself in a positive manner,
  • recognize the belief system that is part of your life and where your opinions come from,
  • write down some potential advantages in your work, school, and personal life of becoming an assertive communicator,
  • maintain eye contact when speaking to someone,
  • be sure that your facial expression matches your intended message,
  • do not be fearful of displeasing others by expressing your needs, wants, or opinions,
  • and be sure to keep your communication style assertive without becoming aggressive.

Below is a list of resources that provides more information on how to become an assertive communicator, the differences between assertiveness and aggression, and the benefits of changing your communication style.

Last Updated: 6/13/2011