Saying yes to people when we want to say no. Letting our frustration get the better of us when dealing with a difficult relative. Assertiveness is a skill that we all need at Christmas – but what are the ways that you can we learn to behave more assertively?
The first of these is to listen to the other person without interrupting. Not only will this encourage them to let you speak, but it will let you check what they’re saying, and not just assume that you know what they’re going to say.
When you speak, talk clearly and slowly, and use the word “I” to make it about your response instead of about their actions. When you talk about yourself use the phrases “I could” or “I might” – these are less aggressive than “I must” or “I should”, as is making requests instead of making demands when talking to them.
Finally how you stand or sit can have a direct effect on how confident and assertive you are. Standing in the classic “Superman” pose for two minutes – feet apart, chest lifted, hands on hips, and head held high – drops your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, by 25%.
Try standing in that position for two minutes just before you go and speak to someone to help you feel more confident. If you’ll be sitting then there is an equivalent pose that you can adopt – legs spread, chest lifted, hands spread on the table, and head held high.