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Formulation of an Assertive Statement + Assertive Communication

Assertiveness is communicating and expressing your thoughts, feelings, and opinions in a way that makes your views and needs clearly understood by others, without putting down their thoughts, feelings, or opinions. Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative ideas and feelings in an open, honest and direct way.

It recognises our rights while still respecting the rights of others. It allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions without judging or blaming other people. And it allows us to constructively confront and find a mutually satisfying solution where conflict exists.

Why Use Assertive Communication?

All of us use assertive behaviour at times... quite often when we feel vulnerable or unsure of ourselves we may resort to submissive, manipulative or aggressive behaviour.

Yet being trained in assertive communication actually increases the appropriate use of this sort of behaviour. It enables us to swap old behaviour patterns for a more positive approach to life. I've found that changing my response to others (be they work colleagues, clients or even my own family) can be exciting and stimulating.

Advantages of Assertiveness Skills in Communication

There are many advantages of assertiveness skills in communication, most notably these:

  • Assertiveness helps us feel good about ourselves and others

  • Assertiveness leads to the development of mutual respect with others

  • Assertiveness increases our self-esteem

  • Assertiveness helps us achieve our goals

  • Assertiveness minimises hurting and alienating other people

  • Assertiveness reduces anxiety

  • Assertiveness protects us from being taken advantage of by others

  • Assertiveness enables us to make decisions and free choices in life

  • Assertiveness enables us to express a wide range of feelings and thoughts

There are, as I see it, four choices you can make about which style of communication you can employ:

1. Direct Aggression

Bossy, arrogant, bulldozing, intolerant, opinionated, and overbearing

2. Indirect Aggression

Sarcastic, deceiving, ambiguous, insinuating, manipulative, and guilt-inducing

3. Submissive

Wailing, moaning, helpless, passive, indecisive, and apologetic

4. Assertive

Direct, honest, accepting, responsible, and spontaneous

There are six main characteristics of assertiveness skills in communication:

1. Eye Contact

Demonstrates interest and shows sincerity.

2. Body Posture

Congruent body language will improve the significance of the message.

3. Gestures

Appropriate gestures help to add emphasis.

4. Voice

A level, modulated tone is more convincing and acceptable, and is not intimidating.

5. Timing

Use your judgement to maximise receptivity and impact.

6. Content

How, where and when you choose to comment is probably more important than WHAT you say.

The Importance of "I" Statements

Part of being assertive involves the ability to appropriately express your needs and feelings.

You can accomplish this by using "I" statements.

These indicate ownership, do not attribute blame, focuses on behaviour, identifies the effect of behaviour, is direct and honest, and contributes to the growth of your relationship with each other.

Strong "I" Statements Have Three Specific Elements:

  • Behaviour

  • Feeling

  • Tangible effect (consequence to you)

For Example:

"I feel frustrated when you are late for meetings. I don't like having to repeat information."

Six Techniques For Assertiveness in Communication

There are six assertiveness techniques - let's look at each of them in turn.

Behaviour Rehearsal

This is literally practising how you want to look and sound. It is a very useful technique when you first want to use "I" statements, as it helps dissipate any emotion associated with an experience and allows you to accurately identify the behaviour you wish to confront.

Repeated Assertion (the 'broken record')

This assertiveness technique allows you to feel comfortable by ignoring manipulative verbal side traps, argumentative baiting and irrelevant logic while sticking to your point. To most effectively use this assertiveness technique use calm repetition, and say what you want and stay focused on the issue. You'll find that there is no need to rehearse this technique, and no need to 'hype yourself up' to deal with others.


"I would like to show you some of our products" "No thank you, I'm not interested" "I really have a great range to offer you" "That may be true, but I'm not interested at the moment" "Is there someone else here who would be interested?" "I don't want any of these products" "Ok, would you take this brochure and think about it?" "Yes, I will take a brochure" "Thank you" "You're welcome"


This technique allows you to receive criticism comfortably, without getting anxious or defensive, and without rewarding manipulative criticism.To do this you need to acknowledge the criticism, agree that there may be some truth to what they say, but remain the judge of your choice of action.

An example of this could be:

"I agree that there are probably times when I don't give you answers to your questions.

Negative Enquiry

This assertiveness technique seeks out criticism about yourself in close relationships by prompting the expression of honest, negative feelings to improve communication. To use it effectively you need to listen for critical comments, clarify your understanding of those criticisms, use the information if it will be helpful or ignore the information if it is manipulative.

An example of this assertiveness technique would be:

"So you think/believe that I am not interested?"

Negative Assertion

This assertiveness technique lets you look more comfortably at negatives in your own behaviour or personality without feeling defensive or anxious, this also reduces your critics' hostility. You should accept your errors or faults, but not apologise. Instead, tentatively and sympathetically agree with hostile criticism of your negative qualities.

An example would be:

"Yes, you're right. I don't always listen closely to what you have to say."

Workable Compromise

When you feel that your self-respect is not in question, consider a workable compromise with the other person. You can always bargain for your material goals unless the compromise affects your personal feelings of self-respect. However, if the end goal involves a matter of your self-worth and self-respect, THERE CAN BE NO COMPROMISE.

An example of this assertiveness technique would be:

"I understand that you have a need to talk and I need to finish what I'm doing. So what about meeting in half an hour?"


Assertive behaviour is a useful communication tool. Its application is contextual and it's not appropriate to be assertive in all situations. Remember, your sudden use of assertiveness may be perceived as an act of aggression by others.There's also no guarantee of success, even when you use assertive communication styles appropriately.

"Nothing on earth can stop the individual with the right mental attitude from achieving their goal; nothing on earth can help the individual with the wrong mental attitude" - W.W. Ziege

When you match consumer psychology with effective communication styles you get a powerful combination.

What is an example of assertive communication?

Here are a few examples of assertive communication:

  • "I completely understand what you’re saying but I have to disagree”

  • “I feel frustrated when you are late for meetings. I don't like having to repeat information."

  • “Could you explain the reasoning behind your decision, so I can try to understand what you’re doing”

  • "I understand that you have a need to talk and I need to finish what I'm doing. So what about meeting in half an hour?"

  • “I want you to help me with this report”

  • “Can you suggest a time we can talk about the missed deadline. I’m concerned”

How To Be Assertive

Here are some useful guidelines to ensure your successful use of an assertive communication style:

Ask permission to have the conversation.


Do you have some time so I can talk to you about something that's been bothering me?

Reinforce relationship: Optional depending upon previous rapport.


I want us to have a good working relationship so that's why I wanted to discuss with you any potential conflict we might have and sort it out.

1) I Feel ____________________________________

(feeling word)


I feel upset when you ___________________________

2) Description of unwanted behavior


Interrupts me when I'm talking.

3) Description of wanted behavior


I rather we not interrupt each other so we both can best listen to what the other is saying.

4) Potential consequence (optional for when others aren't immediately cooperative)


If you can't refrain from interjecting, I won't talk to you at this time because there is just no point.

4 Types of Communication


Respects others rights and sticks up for self

confident / leads by example / earns others respect / straight forward / honest / values self and others / problem solver / solution focused / looks for win-win outcomes / merit based / collaborative / open to others perspective / takes responsibility for own behavior / can ask for help / can respectfully disagree / stable but developing identity / able to dialogue / secure / shares / takes reasonable risks


Respects others and doesn't stick up for self

meek / weak / sad / dependent / victim / low self-esteem / seeks others to protect them or solve their problems / selfless / followers / adjusts themselves to meet others expectations / martyrs / internalizes negative statements about them / helpless / fearful / givers / indecisive / doesn't take responsibility / not a risk taker / feels inferior / blames self for everything


Violates other's rights and sticks up for self

boasts / arguers / tries to win at all costs / demeaning / abusive / respects power / coercion / punishment / blames / threatens / looking out for #1 / name calling / looks to attack another's character / listens only for information to support their claim and to discount others claim / values self over others / adversarial / exaggerates / uses "survival of fittest" to justify their transgressions / anger / offensive / demanding / blaming / authoritarian / takers / risk takers / feels superior / challenges all possible threats

Passive Aggressive

Violates others and doesn't stick up for self

manipulators / cheaters / gossips / sabotage / cheaters / vandalism / backstabbers / sarcasm / easily perceived slights / instigators / resentful / paranoia / puppet masters / plausible / deniability / two faced / develops alliances against others / feels superior but that they don't get their due / strategic / avoidant of direct conflict / complainers / bitter / miserable / doesn't disclose true feelings

Assertive Communication


Tip: Before responding, consider what your wants and needs might be in each situation. Grab a piece of blank paper and write down what your Assertive Response would be to each of the situations below.

Your Partner: "I know you have plans for the weekend, but I really need you to watch the kids. I have a friend coming to town, and we made plans."

Assertive Response:


Situation: You've just received your food at a restaurant, and it was prepared incorrectly. Your sandwich seems to have extra mayo, instead of no mayo.

Assertive Statement:


Your Friend: "Hey, can I borrow some money? I want to buy these shoes, but I left my wallet at home. I'll pay you back soon, I swear. It won't be like last time."

Assertive Response:


Situation: Your neighbor is adding an expansion to their house, and the crew starts working, very loudly at 5 A.M. It has woken you up every day for a week.

Assertive Statement:


Why is assertive communication an effective strategy?

Not only does assertive communication help us express our views and achieve goals but do so without hurting or alienating others. It’s the key to developing mutual respect for each other.

What is the difference between assertive and aggressive communication?

Assertive communication is conveying your message in a direct but accepting and respectful way. Aggressive communication, on the other hand, is speaking in a disrespectful, arrogant, and bossy way.

How to develop assertive communication skills?

Practice, practice, practice! You need to work on your eye contact and body language, practice controlling your voice, and communicating in a direct but non-aggressive manner. You can also take an assertiveness course and further develop your skills.

What are the 3 C's of assertive communication?

Confidence: you are composed and believe in yourself and what you’re saying

Clarity: your message is clear and easy to understand

Control: You are in control of the situation and are monitoring what’s happening

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Jo-ann Fusco-Zink
Jo-ann Fusco-Zink
Jun 25, 2021

There was so much for me to learn from this blog post. I will be reading it again because I am not assertive enough. Thanks so much!!

Nicole DeRosa
Nicole DeRosa
Jul 02, 2021
Replying to

Hi Jo-ann!

I'm so happy this post resonated with you!!

Learning how to be assertive is a fine balance and just takes some fine tuning with the right words and delivery.

I've been wanting to write about it and have a guide on how to navigate situations and questions. It has helped me so much over the years to have the confidence to be respectful but assertive.

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