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Communicative barriers. Part 2. VS. Assertiveness

Author: Anna Plesovsky, business coach, general director of the inter-industry association PHARMPROBEG

Friedrich Nietzsche in his book “So said Zarathustra” described three levels of evolution of human consciousness: the Camel, the Lion and the Child. The camel is sleepy, dumb, smug. He lives in error, thinking that he is the top of the mountain, but in fact he is so preoccupied with the opinions of others that he hardly has the ability to manage his own life. A lion arises from a camel. When we understand that we have missed life, we begin to say “No” to the requirements of others. We walk away from the crowd, lonely and proud, proclaiming our truth. But this is not the end. In the end, a child arises – not submissive and not rebellious, but innocent, spontaneous and truthful in his being. Having stepped over the fear of external evaluations, the fear of seeming ridiculous and absurd, abandoning belligerence in attempts to prove something else, this child follows the path of assertiveness, easily and serene overcoming piles of all kinds of communicative barriers.

It is interesting that I learned about the concept of “assertiveness” much later than I myself began to follow this path. Again, I will give examples from practice to describe how fear of external evaluations can impede effective communication and why it is important and necessary to work on assertiveness in order to become successful in a public environment.

Example # 1. Once I prepared one top manager for one significant public speech. We did this quite thoroughly, since it was important for him to speak brilliantly and get approval from the participants in the event. It would seem that we have prepared absolutely everything: an ideal presentation, speech, speech cards. Moreover, they held several rehearsals. I was sure that everything would go perfectly.

The first bell came when we flew to the city of the event the day before and met with key participants of the upcoming event at dinner. Among the general topics, including the topic of our speech, it became obvious that the position reflected in the presentation was characterized by excessive political correctness. The conversation at dinner was much more radical.

It is not surprising that the speech itself turned out to be uncertain, confused and unconvincing, because the speaker did not speak from the heart, but as needed according to the protocol. When we examined the situation after the speech, we came to the conclusion that the event was dominated by fear of condemnation and external evaluations, because the speaker wanted to say one thing and said something completely different, which led to a serious communicative barrier during a public speech. Subsequently, during preparation, we paid more attention to assertive techniques, which led to excellent results.

Example # 2. This is a fairly common story that I’m sure many have come across. At least, I had a similar story with several customers, which taught me how to develop assertive behavior and accept the choice of those who are not ready to go deeper and work out communication blocks. This also happens and it is absolutely normal. So, a generalized example about how, during the coordination of a promotion strategy or any PR project, which, of course, involves publicity and wide publicity, the customer approves the concept with great joy and animation, and then goes to consult with friends, relatives, partners wife. I think that this sad story does not require continuation, since the outcome of the situation is obvious.

So, why does the fear of criticism and condemnation arise, is it the fear of external evaluations? Often this topic stretches from childhood and adolescence, when adults condemn or aggressively respond to a child’s sincere and natural manifestations. From here arise the postulates that interfere with adulthood: “do not lean out,” “behave yourself decently,” “be quiet, you will marry a smart person,” “do not disgrace me,” etc. I myself remember how my mother ashamed me for choosing clothes, and the relatives at the common table condemned my appearance and forced me to eat a lot so as not to embarrass a “decent society” with my thinness. It is clear that such attitudes are reflected in adulthood and require attention and study.

And here we come to the concept of assertiveness – the ability of a person with dignity and confidence to assert his rights, while not depending on external evaluations and influences without violating the rights of other people. The term itself is borrowed from the English language and means insisting on our own or defending our rights according to the principle: we are partners and no one owes anything to anyone. Assertive behavior in psychology is understood as open, self-sufficient, direct behavior that does not have the intent to harm other people.

How is assertiveness in communication? Assertiveness in negotiations & nbsp; is a demonstration of respect and self-esteem for other people, as well as the achievement of a working compromise, including an exit that suits both sides.

Assertiveness includes effective communication, which is noted in three main qualities – openness, honesty and directness in conversation. These principles are not observed due to the emotional state of the interlocutor. First of all, we are talking about the ability to say what you feel and think about the issue under discussion, however, without upsetting what is important, a communication partner and demonstrating confidence, as well as a positive attitude. Self-confidence is noted by the following parameters: self-esteem, as well as ranking oneself as professionals who own their craft.

Assertiveness in communication is the ability to understand and listen carefully. A person seeks to understand the position and point of view of the interlocutor. Often we attribute ourselves to good listeners, but the question arises: why, while listening, do we move from facts to assumptions, often interrupting and wanting to quickly express our point of view?

Assertiveness in business communication is a very important ability, which includes the following principles and rights: to express feelings, opinions and beliefs; say no or yes; change your mind; to be yourself, while not adapting to the opinions of others; say “I do not understand”; Do not take responsibility for a stranger; ask for something; count on a serious attitude to yourself; make a mistake; set their own priorities, making decisions to be illogical; to say “I don’t care.” The antithesis of an assertive state is manipulation, which is understood as beliefs that develop a passive model of behavior.

In general, we can often observe that the usual model of human behavior comes down to two extremes: aggression or passivity. The first case is marked by a veiled or explicit desire to dominate and manipulate others, subordinating to their interests. The second case is characterized by the fact that a person voluntarily assumes the role of a victim and is guided by uncertainty, fear of upcoming changes, or, conversely, fears of losing what was acquired.

Assertiveness, being a social quality of a person, manifests itself in cooperation, as well as orientation toward compromise. The development of this ability needs to be taught spontaneous reactions in which a person does what he wants and does not infringe on himself in anything. In the framework of trainings on effective communications, we pay special attention to the development of assertive skills. Outside of training, I recommend using a gadget diet, for example, once a week for several hours a day completely refuse to use any technique that connects with the external environment in order to feel your own thoughts and desires. It is also necessary to introduce yourself in a free company, where no one owes or owes anything to anyone. Free people do only what they decide and want, and that’s why they cause each other’s interest. Just imagine how much richer and more charming you will be when you do what you want.

In turn, I will be glad to see you at my trainings or at the trainings of my partners.

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