We explain what assertive communication is and what are its main characteristics. In addition, its classification, techniques and examples.
What is assertive communication?
We call assertive communication to the forms of communication designed or thought to convey a message much more effectively , taking advantage of factors of the communicative process and others that, even being external to it, accompany it and influence its effectiveness.
Remember that communication is the process that transmits a message or information between a sender (creates the message) and one or more receivers (receives the message), through a physical medium (such as sound waves in the air ) and using a specific code (such as language). This process is inherent in living beings and reaches its highest level of complexity in humans, the only animal endowed with structured language .
However, communication can often face difficulties in realizing, such as deficiencies in the interlocutors, environmental noise and, often, poor communicative assertiveness on the part of the issuer, that is, little capacity to promote an optimal communicative act.
Thus, assertive communication takes into account elements inherent in verbal communication such as tone of voice , rhythm of speech, but also other aspects such as body language, to develop certain communicative intelligence in the issuer that is in substantial improvement of Your ability to convey the message.
Characteristics of assertive communication
For communication to be assertive, a series of elements that characterize it and that have to do with psychological, emotional and pragmatic aspects of the communicative act must be taken into account. Thus, for example, assertive communication takes into account the following:
- Body posture . A positioning of the body when speaking that is open, frank, generates trust in the interlocutor, conveys interest and sincerity . Looking at the other when speaking is key to it.
- Gestuality . The gestures with which we accompany speech can play in favor (reinforcing or accompanying what has been said) or against, transmitting the opposite of what we say or distracting from listening.
- Joint . The way to pronounce the words, the cadence of the sentence and the tone of voice have a great impact on communication. Entredicted, whispered or half-spoken words are difficult to understand, both as an unstoppable and fast prayer as a locomotive, that exhausts the other and discourages him from listening to us.
- Reciprocity . Attention should be paid to how much time we invest in speaking and how much in listening, so as not to run the risk of monologing or transmitting indifference to the other. Do we really listen when listening or just wait for the turn to say something again? Do we respect the silences or run over the other?
- Location . Where do you choose to have an important conversation? In a safe and peaceful place, people tend to be more understanding than in another noisy and full of distractions, or worse, threats, like in a street in the middle of the crowd.
Types of assertive communication
Broadly speaking, we can talk about three categories of assertiveness in communication, which are:
- Verbal . Verbal communication has to do with what has been said, so assertiveness in this case involves the choice of words, the construction of sentences and the linguistic proper.
- Nonverbally . Nonverbal communication has to do with the aspects surrounding language during the communicative act, which affect it but do not have to do with its linguistic processes. The body posture, for example, or the place chosen to have a conversation.
- Paraverbal . Paraverbal communication is that intermediate between verbal and nonverbal, that is, it encompasses the elements that accompany the formulation of the message and that are part of the communicative fact, that is, how to say what is said. The tone of voice, the articulation, the rhythm, are examples of this.
Techniques to develop assertiveness
Some techniques to develop communicative assertiveness are:
- The scratched disk . It is about repeating, in the same tone and cadence, a message that was not received ideally, without encouraging confrontations. “No, I don’t need that product”
- The fog bank . The opposite is proved right in an argument, kindly but vaguely, but without giving rise to new confrontations. “Maybe you are right”.
- Assertive question . Instead of stating a defect or making a reproach, the question is asked of what is missing or how the situation can be improved or the desired result obtained. “How do I help you finish the job?”
- Floating tension . Every time the other says something that bothers us or with which we disagree, instead of fighting, we ignore that part of the message and attend to the rest.
- Speak from the self . It will always be better to state things from subjectivity, than to affirm them as absolute truths. Better is a “I don’t agree” than a “You’re wrong.”
Examples of assertive communication
Two examples to illustrate assertive communication are:
- An obfuscated customer claims a bank teller. The latter chooses how to say things so as not to frustrate the client more, putting all the time on his side and listening to his complaint with attention and seriousness, adding small accompanying phrases that let the client know that it is not his direct fault, but that he It is there to help you solve the problem.
- A man wants to propose marriage. He is not sure of the answer he is going to receive, so plan the place to do it, based on the tastes of your partner, and choose the best time for it, because if you do it by stepping out anywhere you may reject.