By Brian Rashid
Standing up for yourself can be difficult. Whether in the context of business, or social interactions, a person needs to be sure that they are speaking up on their own behalf.
You’ve got to have your voice, thoughts and emotions understood by those around you. Here are 10 tips for standing up for yourself in any situation:
- What Does It Look Like To You?
Before you embark on a journey to enhance your ability to say “no” (or perhaps “yes,” in some cases), it’s important to understand what self-assertion does and doesn’t mean to you. Why do you feel you’re not being assertive enough?
Are there certain contexts in which you find yourself unable to get your point across? In what ways do you wish you were more assertive? Are there people you know who exhibit a self-assertive nature that you admire? These are all questions to ask as you begin to find ways to stand up for yourself. By turning inward and reflecting on what you’re missing out on, you can engage the best strategies for your personal situation.
- Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re just starting on your path toward being assertive, you’ve got to remember that it takes time to warm up. As with any skill in life, practice will build strength in your ability to stand up for yourself. Try flexing your assertive nature in small ways, and then build up to encounters that may take more effort. Just like working out at the gym, we can strengthen our assertive nature through repeated use.
- Pick Your Place And Time
It’s important to set yourself up for success by picking the right time and place for an encounter. Take careful consideration of where and when interactions occur. Arrange for an encounter to occur when you’re comfortable, and where.
If you’re not a morning person, try and make contact later in the day. If there’s a place you feel more at home, attempt to engage the issue at that location.
- You Don’t Have To Catch Every Ball
You juggle a busy life. You probably want to be helpful to those around you, since you may need their help in return. According to Rusty Mann, the CEO of Instructor Music, remember that you don’t have to take care of every problem, every time. When someone comes to you for help or attempts to involve you in a project, it doesn’t mean that you are obliged to help. You are allowed to let some opportunities pass you by.
- Make It Physical
This doesn’t mean getting into physical altercations with other people. It means that you need to be aware of your body language, which can be just as powerful as verbal communication. Are your shoulders stooped? Are you standing face-to-face with a person, or turned at an angle? How’s your eye contact? The physical elements of a conversation are critical to consider when you’re standing up for yourself.
- This Is Not A Dress Rehearsal
The strategy of “practice makes perfect” was already covered, but the idea of rehearsal bears mentioning as a separate tip. In addition to working out your assertive nature through practice, be sure to set yourself up for success by rehearsing a big moment before it occurs.
This doesn’t mean you should be obsessive, but it does mean that you should think about how you’d like an encounter to unfold. Sometimes you may just want to run through the encounter in your mind, while other times you may even practice saying your “lines” out loud, in private.
- Make It Verbal
Just as you need to use physicality in your self-assertion, you must also carefully wield your verbal response. Our voices and our words are our most powerful tools for standing up against other people. You can extend the strategy of rehearsal into a careful planning of your words, followed by awareness during the encounter and reflection afterward.
Whether it’s talking to your kids about divorce or letting go of an employee, are you using positive language or language that is negative? Are you using passive speech patterns, or taking a more active syntax? How is your delivery and tone of voice? Remember, it’s what we say and how we say it.
- Train People To Treat You Right
We interact with people every day. One way to stand up for yourself is to let people know how you want to be treated. This doesn’t mean explicitly telling them. It means being aware of how your actions, words, and outward decisions appear to others.
How does your behavior prime people to approach you later? If we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of one time, it may be a clue to other individuals that you can be used and abused in the future. Begin this strategy by being aware of your behaviors during interactions, and reflecting on them later.
- You Don’t Have To Apologize
In moments when we stand up for ourselves, we often feel the need to make excuses or say apologise to the other party. Make your assertive manner more powerful by remembering that you can say “no,” or “yes,” to people without offering a reason or excuse. Sometimes all someone needs is a simple answer. If you feel like someone is leaving you time to explain why you will or won’t help them with their request, simply give a few moments of silence. The odds are they will either end the conversation as simple as that, or—even better—turn the conversation in a less confrontational direction.
- See The Other Side
We often look inward, to ourselves, when attempting to stand up against someone else. One powerful way to show your self-confidence is to be aware of the other person as well.
Consider their perspective, motives, needs, and desires. Why are they in the situation they’re in, and how does that affect and color your encounters with them? There are two sides to every story. Make sure you think of them both.
Brian is an international speaker and branding expert. Say hi to Brian at email@example.com