Self-enhancing is an assertive behavior. When you convey your feelings honestly, you typically achieve your goal. When you prefer to behave in an assertive manner, even if your goals are not achieved, you generally feel good about yourself.
Adapt your communication to each new situations. Behavior that applies to some persons and circumstances does not relate to all persons or situations. Each situation is different. There are times when a passive response is most appropriate. Sometimes, a forceful response is needed. Most of the time, assertiveness is the key.
Always ensure to your own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Keep away from direct or implied criticism of the other person’s thoughts, feelings, or beliefs, and you are on the verge of retaining the trust and goodwill of those around you. Think in terms of I-messages.
What is An I-Message?
An I-message articulates your feelings and experiences without making the other person accountable for them. An I-message is honest and genuine. It doesn’t judge, blame, or interrupt. It never informs the other person what he should think or feel.
Successful use of I-messages requires that you know exactly what you want and require, take individual responsibility for reaching your preferences, communicate yourself to the person whose cooperation you need, and be willing to listen if the other person becomes defensive.
Four Part Characterization of Assertive Communication
If you develop a full understanding of assertive communication, you can select appropriate and self-fulfilling responses for a variety of situations. However, all effective assertive communication is characterized by a basic four-part message:
- Clarification of the concrete and physical effect of the other person’s behavior on the assertor.
- Description of the behavior that would be more satisfactory.
- Non-judgmental description of the behavior to be changed.
- Revelation of the assertor’s feelings.
You’ll send messages that are more assertive when you use this formula: “When you (state the other person’s activities non-judgmentally), I feel (reveal your feelings) because (explain the influence on your life). I prefer (portray what you want).” This way, as clearly as possible the four parts of the assertion message are stated and contained in one sentence.
Style of Communication Requires Thorough Practice
This style of communication requires thorough practice. Others don’t know what behavior you want modified. You must clearly communicate what the other person does that frustrates you. This can be hard. In order to recognize how their actions frustrate the speaker, people rarely describe behavior precisely enough for listeners. To build up efficient behavior description skills, these guidelines will help you:
- Be as brief as possible.
- With the right person, communicate the real issues.
- Rather than general terms, describe the behavior in specific.
- Confine yourself to behavioral descriptions. Do not draw conclusions about the other person’s motive, attitudes, character, etc.
- Be objective rather than judgmental.