Start by accepting that your opinions and needs are important and you have the right to express them.
Use an assertive style of behaviour - Standing up for your own rights without violating those of others. Expressing your own needs, wants, feelings and beliefs in a direct, honest and appropriate way.
Assertive behaviour is based on the belief that:
- You have needs as have others
- You have rights as have others
- You have something to contribute as have others
The aim of assertive behaviour is to satisfy the needs and wants of both parties, in other words a 'win-win' situation.
Accept responsibility for your own actions and use 'I' statements - I feel (emotion) when you (behaviour). I would prefer that you (alternate behaviour).
Use assertive verbal skills such as
- Broken record - In a calm voice quietly repeat what it is you want until the other person listens and responds to your need. Stick to your point and keep it short. This will avoid the need to rehearse arguments until you run out of steam and give in.
- Fogging - This skill allows you to accept manipulative criticism without becoming anxious or defensive. By acknowledging to the critic the possibility that there may be some truth in what s/he says you can disarm them. Yet, you remain your own judge of what you do. It involves you staying calm in the face of criticism and agreeing what ever may be fair and useful in it. By refusing to be provoked and upset by criticism, you remove its destructive power
Make the most of your listening skills. Ask open questions and check out your assumptions and understanding.
Take control of your inner voice. Listen to the positive enabling voice and turn off the critic.
Think about the language you use. Move from 'I should' 'I must' to 'I choose'.
Think about how you manage your time. If you are constantly responding to other people's crisis then learn to say 'no' without feeling guilty.
Practice a couple of quick stress management techniques that you can use when you are feeling challenged.
Identify your strengths and promote them. Identify your learning needs and make a SMART plan to address them.
… And SMART objectives are those that are
- Specific - is the objective clear
- Measurable - can I measure the success or failure of my objective?
- Achievable - realistically, do I have enough resources and time to carry out this objective successfully?
- Relevant - does this objective help me achieve progress for my project?
- Time-bounded and trackable - do I have a firm end date for my project and milestones along the way to help me check on progress?
Get used to change by challenging your self with small changes that place you outside your comfort zone.
When seeking to influence others prepare well. First put yourself in their shoes and think about:
- What they might need from you?
- What agenda they might have?
- What are the weaknesses in your idea they'll try to exploit
- What are the strengths they'll try to avoid?
Then prepare your response. Consequently, you will feel much more confident going into a negotiation or influencing situation. When you feel confident you will behave in a confident manner and people will see a confident person.