Article: The assertive public speaker

Training presentations, business presentations and press conferences can all lead to challenging situations. Public speakers, trainers and facilitators need to develop their assertiveness skills, especially when dealing with difficult people.

Assertive behaviour is separate from aggressive, passive or passive-aggressive behaviour in that it completely side-steps emotional involvement and helps you to reach conclusions and compromises, whether you’re dealing with family and relationship matters, at work as a manager or employee, or making a complaint about bad service etc.

We react to emotional messages from each other, but we respond to intelligent behaviour.

Signs of assertive behaviour include positive, clear, professional language, a neutral, reasonable and businesslike tone of voice, and open, relaxed and calm body language and eye contact.

Your rights in conversation include to be listened to, to choose your own feelings and emotions, to put yourself first on occasions, to say “no” at times and to have and express an opinion. We all have these rights and responsibilities, therefore the assertive person realises that the other person has the same rights, too. Active listening is a major element of assertiveness.

The assertive person is also ready to confront an issue with another person, and regain control of a situation.

To achieve this, it’s important to stay in control of your feelings, and be confident about standing your ground in the face of bullying, manipulation, sympathy-seeking and emotional blackmail.

Developing your assertive side will help you to develop more confidence, awareness of the rights and responsibilities of all concerned, improve relationships, reduce stress, gain greater control and reduce fear. You’ll improve your own personal and professional image, so winning greater achievements and results.