Assertiveness Skills Training Tips

Assertiveness and the Art of Saying No

Without actually using the word you can develop the ability to resist or sidestep being manoeuvred into doing something you really don't want to do.

What exactly is The Art of Saying No?

Many of us have a real problem with having to tell other people we can't do something. We feel an nagging obligation when colleagues ask a favour. We can feel real pressure when someone senior tells us they need something done.

Some of us actually work in places where saying no is frowned upon, even not allowed at all, for instance the police force, or the armed forces.

Here at Impact Factory we have worked for some time with people for whom saying no feels either impossible or is just not allowed. We have created a body of assertiveness work directly addressing these difficulties. We've even come up with ways of saying no without ever having to use the word.

Of course, there will always be times when saying no is absolutely necessary. But we have found that there is so much anxiety about the consequences of saying no, that unassertive people just don't say it. They either say nothing at all, or agree to things they don't want to, or end up with work that's not theirs and so on.

This is no good for anyone. It means that people stay late at the end of the day to get their work done because they've spent their time finishing everyone else's. It means people filled with resentment when they are 'volunteered' for something they didn't want to do in the first place. It means people live in real fear of having to be tougher with a supplier or perhaps with someone they manage.

How Did Assertiveness Training Get Started?

Well assertiveness training really got started in around about the time that women's lib was getting going. Assertiveness Courses sprang up, firstly in America. These courses offered women understanding but more importantly gave them the skills and therefore the confidence to thrive a mostly male-dominated working environments.

Since then the concept of assertiveness has evolved and become perhaps a little less strident. The early assertiveness work would give advice to just stand your ground, to just say no, to be like a broken record. This sort of Assertiveness Training may actually help people feel better at first; however because it goes against the flow of who unassertive people really are, they easily get worn down and in quite a short space of time they go back to being as unassertive as they were in the first place.

So you could think of this type of training as a bit like a yo-yo diet, you lose the weight only to gain it back and have to lose it again. So when your well-meaning assertiveness training asks you to 'just stand your ground' or 'just say no', in reality a couple of failures will set you back in a way that leaves you disempowered and unlikely to want to have another go.

Our assertiveness training focuses on achievable changes that will lead to successes, that in turn will give an increase in confidence and then on to other small changes and so on in an upward virtuous cycle.

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For Tailored Assertiveness Training see Assertiveness Training

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If you want some in-depth thoughts about Assertiveness, read the article called
Is Assertiveness the Only Way


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