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How to Communicate More Assertively and Confidently at Work

Ever watched on in awe at people who communicate with assertiveness and confidence and wondered how you could be more like them? Confidence and assertiveness can be learned. Check out the following 20 useful tips to help you start speaking with more confidence!

The assertive communicator is the style we all aspire to! An assertive communicator expresses themselves in a confident and respectful manner and conveys a high level of self-esteem and self-confidence. They don’t intentionally try to control or manipulate the conversation or resort to bullying tactics to get their point across. An assertive communicator balances their communication style, neither leaning towards aggression nor passiveness. Assertive communicators are inclusive communicators. They listen attentively, ask compelling and clarifying questions, show empathy, and value and respect the contributions of others. Their presence is a positive and uplifting one in any workplace setting.

Do you feel that you are not as assertive or as confident as you would like to be? The following 20 practical and useful tips will help you be a more confident, assertive and effective communicator at work.

Pay attention to the volume, pace and tone of your voice. Speak clearly, calmly and audibly and at a normal conversational pace.

Pay attention to your language choices to avoid sounding submissive or aggressive. Avoid emotionally charged or culturally insensitive words and expressions.

Be aware of your body language and how you relate to others socially. Avoid both aggressive and submissive non-verbals and maintain a socially acceptable distance between yourself and others.

Be a good, attentive listener and ask compelling, clarifying questions. Learn how to summarise and re-phrase back.

Believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish tasks and succeed. Be proud of your achievements and contributions.

Know your workplace rights and how and when to exercise them. Be aware of your responsibilities as well. Abide by your workplace’s Code of Conduct and model good conduct for others.

Know and respect personal and professional boundaries. Be aware that you may not share the same boundaries as others in the workplace – what may be acceptable you may not be to your colleagues.

Keep an open mind and be prepared to listen to the views of others. Refrain from judging others or jumping to conclusions until you have all the facts.

Show transparency and a willingness to open up and share with others. This will encourage others to share with you.

Be open to receiving feedback and willing to give constructive feedback if asked.

Be open to receiving and giving compliments. Give compliments generously and receive compliments graciously.

Be sincere. Stay genuine and true to yourself. Speak and act with candour and impartiality. Say what you mean – mean what you say.

Develop your self-awareness and social awareness. Learn to better regulate and manage your emotions. Develop empathy for others.

Be a problem solver. Look at solving problems rather than creating or adding to workplace problems. Try to think creatively and critically when solving problems.

Learn to say no and be choosier about what you say yes to. Learn to delegate without guilt. Learn to prioritise.

Search for a win-win. Don’t go for a win at all cost approach, try to go for a win-win solution. Avoid humiliating others. Seek instead solutions that benefit all players and that leave everyone’s dignity intact.

Be adaptively assertive – adapt to the situation at hand. Read the “temperature in the rom” and know now when to be assertive and when to concede or back off. Consider the situation and the possible ramifications and exercise your assertiveness judiciously.

Control what you can. Understand that you can’t control the thoughts, feelings or actions of others. Control what you can within your sphere of influence and accept the limits of things outside your control.

Voice your needs and wants in a respectful, professional and intelligent manner. Don’t use apologetic language if the situation doesn’t demand it.

Explain your reasons why. Don’t demand without giving some justification for your request. You don’t need, however, to labour the point. Just state your request in a calm, professional, measured and considered way.

If you enjoyed those tips and would like to know more about how you can be a confident, assertive and effective communicator at work, visit to find more information and links to courses, workshops and individual coaching services.

Wendy De Munari

Wendy De Munari

Wendy De Munari is the Director of Work Ready NQ, a professional skills training business in North Queensland. She specialises in workplace communication and interpersonal skills training and has worked in the public service, as a corporate trainer, and as a small business owner.