Can I at least have a chance to speak?
As an individual, you are influenced on a daily basis, whether you like it or not, by various factors that can leave a serious mark on you. But what about you? Are you aware of what influence you have on those around you or at least how you are perceived?
It is said that any form of communication is actually an act of influence,so regardless of the fact that you only want to persuade a person to do something or you just want to make them understand a certain idea. So, your main weapons in this case, in addition to words, are: your voice,more precisely the tone that you are using and the non-verbal component (facial expressions, gestures, etc.).
How aware are you of the way you generally express yourself?
Many times, it is not necessarily the words you say that do you injustice but also the tone you use and if you apply it in a wrong way, you can end up in an extremely uncomfortable situation.
And because no one likes to be scolded (with or without reason) or to be blamed for random things happening, a misplaced comment is perceived even more intensely if the tone is accusing or even sarcastic. So regardless of the situation, the tone of voice should be controlled and as calm as possible because otherwise you risk being perceived as a difficult person with an aggressive communication style,which is totally different from an assertive style,which is generally recommended, especially when you are dealing with many people, colleagues, subordinates, etc.
What is assertiveness?
Assertiveness is a communication technique through which the user shows: “a behavior that allows a person to act as best as possible in their own interest, to defend their point of view without exaggerated anxiety, to express their feelings sincerely and to use their own rights without denying those of the other".
– Jean Cottraux
What isn't assertiveness?
- An aggressive behaviour in which one punches the table while asking for explanations.
- To be indignant and to have an air of superiority when someone does not know a certain subject, instead of thinking that maybe that person has not had contact with that field so far. No one is born learned. It's like starting to scold a child and make him feel stupid because he didn't think about the exact explanation you did. Think about the insecurities that the child and the future adult will face only because his parent wanted to prove that they were superiors (to answer the question about what influence you can have on those around you).
- To leave the room while a topic is being debated because the world has not taken what you said for granted and you don't want to listen to the opinion of others. How is it possible that other people have opinions as well? How dare they?
- To be extremely bossy with those around you and to only see your side of the story.
The above examples fall into the category of verbal aggression, not assertiveness. Verbal aggression is not limited to the use of obscene words or curse, it can manifest itself in various ways, including the desire to dominate the conversation, without caring about the other person's opinion or feelings.
In "scientific" terms we have the following communication types:
Passive communication:those who communicate passively are excessively kind in any situation, ready to fulfill any request from someone so as not to spoil relationships with these people. Those who use this communication method do not have the courage to defend their rights or do not know them.
Aggressive communication:involves the use of coercion and intimidation, communicating in bossy and hostile tone of their own desires and needs. It involves the satisfaction of one's own rights without regard to the feelings and rights of others.
Passive-aggressive communication:even though they do not show their aggression directly, these people show an indirect resistance to the requests of others (for example, postponing the performance of tasks with which they do not agree);
Manipulators:these people pose as victims and make those around them feel guilty or compassionate towards them to get what they want.
If we come to think about it, we will certainly find some examples from our everyday life that we could fit into each category presented. In theory, we should have got a first glance of assertiveness from the education we receive from our parents, through the little advice they give us, such as: to behave nicely with those around us, to actively listen to other, but also to support our point of view, without disregarding those around us.
Unfortunately, because these things are not actually taught in schools, at least not in our country, many people overlook them, either because they do not consider them important or because they may not even know about their existence.
I hope I managed to make you at least a bit curios about this topic. There are quite a few online references and books to help you educate yourself and develop yourself more gracefully further on, regardless of your age.
I invite you to watch a video from the TED Talks series which explains how assertiveness can be applied: