Assertive communication

Communicating assertively means clearly and calmly expressing what you want, without either being too passive or too aggressive. Learning to communicate assertively doesn’t guarantee you will have your needs met but it makes it more likely, and it can improve your relationships with other people.



Passive Assertive Aggressive
Give in Compromise Take
Not talking, not being heard Talking and listening Talking over people
Trying to keep the peace Making sure things are fair – for you and others Looking out for yourself
Allowing yourself to be bullied Standing up for yourself Bullying others
Not saying what you think, or not saying anything Express your point clearly and confidently Can lead to shouting, aggression, or violence
Damages relationship – other people respect you less Enhances relationships – other people know where you stand Damages relationship – other people don’t like aggression
Damages your self-esteem Builds your self-esteem Damages others self-esteem



Tips for communicating assertively

  • Use “I” statements
  • Be clear and direct
  • “I would like you to give me a refund”
  • “I think what you have done is good but I would like to see more of …”
  • Describe how another person’s behaviour makes you feel
  • This makes other people aware of the consequences of their actions
  • “When you raise your voice it makes me scared … I would like you to speak softly”
  • “When you don’t tell me what you are feeling it makes me confused”
  • Stick to your guns – the broken record technique
  • This involves thinking about what you want, preparing what you might say, then repeating it as necessary
  • “I would like a refund … Yes, but I would still like a refund … I’ve heard what you have said but I still want a refund”