assertive mother elephant

How To Be Assertive Without Saying a Word

Posted on July 14, 2017 by Christine Wilcox
assertive mother elephantThere are many ways to express assertiveness. How to be assertive without saying a word is one of those ways.

Many of us struggle with the most efficient and productive way to be assertive.

All of us experience assertiveness on  a daily basis through our job, at home, or with friends and family.  We also interpret assertiveness in different ways, which is why we sometimes perceive assertiveness negatively.  This happens when we are not expressing our assertiveness in a productive and well thought out manner. In this post, I discuss positive ways to be assertive without saying a word.

How To Be Assertive Making Eye Contact

Making eye contact with someone is imperative if you are going to get his or her attention.  Eye contact with another person means you are serious and that you are not lying.  Dead on eye contact tells the other person that you are serious – whether good or bad.

Eye contact is a sign of truthfulness and resolve.  If the person does not look away and steadily stares you right in the eyes for a lengthy period of time, they are serious and mean what they are saying.

Looking someone in the eye is a sign of openness and self-assurance.  In addition, this is a technique law enforcement uses to indicate whether someone is being truthful or not.

How To Be Assertive With Body Movements

When  you speak to someone face to face, there are body movements that really exhibit hidden messages.  These body movements can be discrete, such as the way they are standing or even the tilt of their head.  This is considered hidden communication.

Tilting one’s head to the side most often means that they are listening and interested in what the other person is saying.  Holding one’s arm down to the side and slightly to the back usually means that you are open to their discussion and that you have nothing to hide.

Shaking one’s leg up and down while sitting in a chair could mean they are bored with you or the conversation.  Another one that really “irks” me is when someone keeps looking at their watch while you are eating or talking to them.

How To Have An Assertive Posture

When you are sitting or standing, exhibit an open posture to convey confidence and cooperation.  If you are sitting, place your arms by the sides of the chair and plant your feet firmly on the ground.  Also, sit up straight.  In addition, when sitting at a public dining table, do not rest your head in your hands with your elbows on the table.

This is very disrespectful and exhibits laziness and an unprofessional appearance.  Furthermore, some may interpret this to mean that you are not interested in being where you are.  Additionally, women should always sit in a chair with their legs completely closed and a hand on the front bottom of the skirt to ensure that their body is properly clothed for the occasion.

Being Assertive and Personal Space

Personal space is that area in close proximity to the body, face, shoulders, hips, etc.  This could also mean your fenced backyard or even the boundary inside your home.  Not everyone defines their personal space the same.  It is the space at which you begin to feel very uncomfortable with something or someone around or near you.

This could be someone hollering something close to your ear.  Even just someone standing right behind you, who may have come up a little too close not realizing they were right on your neck.  Your personal space could also mean someone sitting too close to you on a city bus.

In addition, it could also mean a neighbor who is a busy body and cannot mind his or her own business.  In other words, they always seem to know what is going on in your household before you know it.

Be Assertive and Say “No”

I am guilty of this one. But, you should always be careful who you say “no” to.  First, I believe it is necessary to set boundaries with each and every person that you have any day-to-day relationship with.  Caution here – as you should be careful who you say “no” to.

Friends and family, as well as some employers, will take advantage of you if you allow them to.  Many people think that standing up for yourself could end up costing you your job, friendships, or even family member relationships.  This is why it is so important that you are being assertive without them feeling threatened.

This is not always the case though, as it has shown that many people will respect you for taking up for yourself.

If you feel like you may be saying “yes” too much and are feeling overwhelmed, I suggest keeping a log of your positive and negative experiences to assist you in setting your own limits.

Lastly, think back on a previous instance and ask yourself, “How did that go when I said ‘no” to Mr. So and so,” and then ask yourself if there is anything you would do different the next time.