Do you often find yourself going along with everyone else even though you have a different opinion?
Do people consider you to be a pushover?
Do you get irritated when your ideas are brushed away when they have value?
A dash of assertiveness can be all you need for these issues.
But how do you do that as a student? Peer pressure can really hold you down sometimes. Well, the experts from UK’s best cheap law essay writers have some tips for you. But before this, you might need some convincing into why to choose this option. After all, an unassuming role can be quite comfortable.
So, let’s give you the pros of going down the assertive path:
5 Reasons Why It’s Important to be Assertive
If you think there’s nothing wrong with living without ever voicing your opinion on anything, let’s give you a little perspective on what you’re missing:
1. Reduces Conflicts
Unassertive people tend to withhold their opinions to avoid disagreements. However, this often backfires and causes exactly the situation they were running away from in the first place.
Let’s take an example. Suppose you’re working on a group project. Now, you have prior experience with the task, but instead of putting a case for your approach, you decide to go along with your team’s idea. And when things fall apart, it sparks a conflict. So, had you only asserted your idea and the proof of your knowledge, things may have turned out differently!
2. Reduces Stress and Resentment
Let’s continue with the example above. Now, even if your group doesn’t argue, you will get increasingly upset because you know things wouldn’t be this bad if everyone had followed the advice you didn’t give or failed to make a strong case for. In this case, you’re the only person to blame. And this can get extremely hectic. And as we know from multiple studies, stress is bad for students. You may also harbour negative feelings for your group members and lash out at them.
However, if you train to become a little more assertive, you can avoid both resentment and anxiety.
3. Helps You Become a Better Problem-Solver
When you approach a situation with the goal of explaining your side clearly and listening to others, it forces you to think about all possible solutions to the problem and the best way to mitigate it. This training will improve your critical thinking skills and allow you to become a better troubleshooter.
4. Improves Your Communication Skills
The main difference between being assertive and being aggressive is communication. And when you push yourself to become more transparent and assert your views in a professional setting, you become the former by learning how to communicate well.
Think about it. For instance, when you’re at college, you can’t just raise your voice to get people to agree with you—that’s aggression. Instead, you’ll need to calm down, think strategically, and then use your words. This activity teaches you about understanding how to relay information to a person or a group of people in a non-problematic manner. This is good communication, and you can reap the benefits of this transferrable skill in your academic, professional, and personal lives!
5. Improves Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
On your journey to learning to be more assertive, you will figure out how to voice your opinions and communicate your boundaries in an academic or professional environment better. And when you do this, you will become more confident and improve your self-esteem. When you are transparent about your views and ideas, you’ll start to feel more confident about your abilities and envy others less. It will improve your self-esteem by a great margin.
5 Ways to be Assertive
Now, if you want to avail the benefits above, you need to work on being assertive. It’s not going to be an overnight change (neither of us has a magic wand!). However, if you keep at it, you’ll get there. And the following tips will help you on your journey:
1. Check Your Tone and Word Choices
Keep your tone neutral and pleasant whenever you disagree with someone or are in a discussion. Studies show the way you say things directly influences the listener’s attitude. This means if you are emotional, you might trigger an emotional response. But if you are calm and collected, the other perceives the conversation in the same light and will respond in kind.
That said, your tone alone will not make you assertive. You need to choose your words carefully, too. For example, avoid using “you” sentences in a discussion. Instead, use “I” or “we”.
Moreover, you’ll need to put yourself in a position of understanding. Here are some examples of the former:
- You didn’t finish your half of the project, and now we’re behind.
- You should take charge of this area.
- You need to stop taking my stuff without permission.
Now let’s transform these sentences into the latter:
- Jake, I believe we can finish this project on time if you speed up your end. Is there anything that would help accelerate your process?
- With your skills in numbers, I think you will be able to handle this area best.
- I feel frustrated when I don’t find my things in their place. So please ask before borrowing.
Notice the difference? Now try it out!
2. Check Your Body Language
Maintain eye contact when talking, keep a good posture, and avoid crossing your arms and legs. These are the top things to keep in mind when you’re talking to someone. People will notice and respond to your body language before you speak, so be careful with it!
3. Learn to Say No without a Lengthy Explanation
You have every right to refuse something if it doesn’t line up with your plans. However, peer pressure may force you to give long (sometimes false) explanations. This only makes you look weak. So, say no firmly, yet pleasantly.
Here are a few examples:
- I’m afraid I’m not available tonight.
- Thank you for thinking of me. Unfortunately, I can’t make it.
- Ah, I already have plans! Maybe next time.
- I’m sorry, I don’t have the bandwidth right now.
- No, thank you. That sounds great, though! Hope you have a good time!
4. Change Your Mindset from being Defensive to Open to Change
If you consider everything a challenge, you will lose many opportunities to learn and improve—because that is possible, even if the other person’s intent is malicious.
Take a look at these classy responses:
“You need to do better at your job.”
Response: “Thank you for the feedback. Would you please specify areas of improvement so I can work on them?”
“A’s idea is better than yours because of X, Y, Z.”
Response: “Hmm. That’s an interesting take. I think this will do well in situation 1, but my idea deals better with situation 2. So, maybe we can discuss both and come up with a middle ground?”
5. Plan and Practice
Almost all of the tips above require practice, especially if you are new to the change. The best way is to rehearse in front of a mirror or with a safe person—family or friend. The latter can give you pointers and cheer you on!
We hope this blog helps you on your road to being assertive. Check out our student blog for more tips, strategies, and advice.
Tom Harold is a business law expert at Law Essay Writers. He loves helping students on their academic journeys and writes blogs on student life. You can place an order and request his assistance by name if you want!