In this article we are going to look at ways to ‘Get Your Ideas Across Without Being Pushy.’
Pushy or Influential?
The big misunderstanding with increasing our ability to be more assertive is that we have to mirror other people who perhaps come across as more vocally dominating . The reality is, that is the last thing we need to increase our assertiveness skills. Just because someone is more vocal than us may mean they are being assertive but are they being effective? So my first question to you is this, do you want to be more assertive or more effective with your assertive communication? Well I think I know the answer already..
The key to becoming more assertive is not to be pushier or more vocal it is to be more influential. To be more influential we need a different assertive communication strategy than trying to match other peoples vocal energy. What’s more we need to be able to subtly position our message and ideas more down the way we desire by using a couple of strategies that I will outlay here.
Let Me Tell You! Or Let Me Ask You?
The first question I will ask you is this….”Do you prefer to be told or asked?” Asked I bet. Well the basic psychology here is that no one likes to be told as it disempowers our sense of value and respect. It is far more influential to use communication techniques that involve asking strategic questions and better construction of phrases to get our message across therefore using more effective assertiveness skills.
I remember recently I was looking after my 4 girls and I said to my partner Jacinta “I think you need to go to shops and get the groceries so we have enough for dinner tonight.” Normally not an aggressive statement but on this occasion she was tired and needed a rest so I copped it. My bad! If I was reading the emotional atmosphere and situation correctly what I should of said was “What do you think about going down to supermarket so we have enough for dinner tonight?” Now I appreciate the tone needs to be right as well, but at least by positioning my message in that way it gives the other party room to dialogue. This will help them not to feel that they have just been given an order!
The other component to focus on here is the statement… “I think” Using phrases such as “I think” or “In my opinion” often come across as more pushy and self focused.
Here is a sample of a questioning strategy you can use to get your message across without having to mirror others or be confrontational.
Now a word of warning before I share this technique:
…. It requires practice…”Oh no” I hear you say “I want a magic pill so I can wake up tomorrow more assertive.” Well practice this over the next few weeks and you will start to see real results in your ability to be more assertive without being pushy, I guarantee you. No one likes a pushy person and they generally will be resistant to them, either openly or as a silent objector.
So, one style of questioning technique you can use is the suggestive question. A suggestive question is where we position our message as a suggestion not a statement.
Here is a thought how do you think this will work? As opposed to “I think we should do this.” “Or In my opinion we should go down this path.”
Another suggestion question example could be “That sounds like a great idea so what if we add this to it what do you think?” This question also includes a positive acknowledgement statement…”That sounds like a great idea”
Now they may not agree with you and challenge your suggestion however here are the benefits by using this strategy
- You were able to sow the seed of your opinion without having to be aggressive or challenging, you used an under the radar approach.
- If you do struggle with being assertive at times it is a lot easier and less threatening to ask a question than make a statement.
The bottom line is this, just by using this technique you have given yourself a 50% better chance to influence the outcome than if you had said nothing. Often people will act poorly in the moment and go away and think about what you said anyway.Here are some action steps you can take to be less pushy and use more effective assertiveness skills in the next week:
Learn and Practice
- Watch your own actions and reactions to different situations, become more aware of your communication patterns.
- When do you tend to withdraw, when do you speak up?
- Try asking more questions and make less ‘I think’ or ‘In my Opinion’ statements
Next week In Part 3 of ‘Do You Want To Be More Assertive’ I am going to go into detail on how we can say no.If you didn’t listen to the recent Interview I did with the ABC in SA on ‘Learning How to Say No’ you can listen to it here:
This will be a good precursor to our coaching tip for next week.
Until then have a great time asking more questions and I hope you got some value from this assertiveness training.Warmest regards, David Patmore P.S. If you experienced some great results using these techniques drop me a line I love to hear your feedback and it can encourage and make a difference to others. Just leave your feedback at the bottom of this post in the comments section.