Steps to be more assertive

Steps to be more assertive


1. Know how to say no.

  • Presupposition :
  • o You have the right to say no to a request,

    o Others have the right to ask you anything.

“You have the right to ask me anything, just as I have the right to refuse you.” (Professor Robert Lieberman)
  • Identify the reasons for saying no or yes, and consider the consequences for self, other, organisation.
  • Steps for refusal: know how to say no to the request, and yes to the person.
  • o Announce the refusal clearly.

    o Express the reasons for your refusal without justification, without a defensive attitude. o Identify the person's needs behind the request and help them to build a solution that is adapted to them.

    E.g.: “I can see that it is difficult for you to finish this work alone. Phrase of acceptance of the other person preferable to You can manage on your own.”

    o Persist in your refusal with a calm, pleasant and firm tone.

    o Conclude positively by thanking the person.

    E.g.: "I appreciate it very much because I know that you wanted me to respond favourably to your request".

    o Look for a compromise where everyone benefits.

  • If necessary, give yourself time to reflect.
  • o Possibly postpone the response to the request to a time that is more convenient for you, giving yourself time to reflect.

    o Announce it and respect your commitment.

2. Express a request/need

  • Express yourself as "I": Be personally involved and start your sentences with "I" rather than with an accusatory "you" or "you".
  • Express your request, your needs by saying things in all authenticity. Be truthful about the substance.
  • Take into account the needs of the other person by ensuring that the form preserves the person's integrity, self-esteem and self-image, and reinforces their self-confidence.
  • o Make sure the other person is never offended.

    o Start by noting all the positive things the other person does.

    Express that you understand the positive intent of what the other person is doing or behaving.

    o Suggest ways of progress, improvement, effort or alternative behaviour.

    o If the other person is aggressive: clearly reject this aggressive behaviour. Ask for a win/win negotiation where each person respects the other.

3. Express your emotions

Being able to express one's emotions is fundamental to developing assertiveness, particularly with regard to respecting others.

  • Accept your emotions:
  • o Develop a perfect awareness of your emotional states generated by a given situation (4 basic emotions: fear, anger, sadness, joy. See appendix for a description of these emotions).

    o Evaluate the intensity of this emotion.

  • Express your emotions:
  • ▪ In relation to a behaviour and not in relation to the person.

    ▪ Talk about yourself and only about yourself (no sentences starting with "you").

    ▪ Defuse in yourself any aggressiveness towards the interlocutor (respect for the other).


1. Identify your preferred behaviour

2. Replace your preferential behaviour with an assertive behaviour:

To move from passivity to assertiveness:

o How will you express your needs, likes, preferences and feelings to others? When?

o Where will you take the initiative to say hello, goodbye, speak first, ask clear questions?

o On which topic or theme will you dare to say no more often?

o How will you show your motivation and commitment to a particular topic?

o How will you change the intensity of your voice, your intonation and your verbal flow?

o What do you want to change in your eyes, facial expression and posture?

To move from aggressiveness to assertiveness :

o How will you allow the other person to put forward their ideas, proposals and solutions, without trying to convince them and make them agree with you?

o What would be the trick that would allow you to listen to the other person, not to stop at details and prefer to step back to play win-win?

o How will you express your disagreement in a flexible way, leaving an honourable exit for the other person?

o How will you change your voice intensity, intonation and verbal flow?

o What will you change in your posture to choose a position of openness and contact?

To move from manipulation to assertiveness:

o How and when will you dare to express your objectives, opinions, feelings without turning them into questions according to your interlocutor?

o What will enable you to get straight to the point, to clarify what you are saying, to answer questions directly and concisely?

o How will you engage in a relationship with the other person where there is trust? How committed are you to this?

o What do you want to change in your look, facial expression and posture?