How to be Assertive:

6 Techniques

The image shows 2 people. One is sitting at a desk and the other is standing in front of him and has a bubble with her words: "I want a pay raise".

How can a person state their different position when they constantly respond and adapt to other people’s demands?


What is Assertive Behavior

Assertiveness is neither “Fight!” nor “Flight!”, but something in between – staying in the conflict situation, openly stating your own needs, but not denying others’.

It’s not magic though, even though it seems almost impossible to you.

It is necessary to use several techniques + apply them every time you have a position and want to defend it!


Techniques for Assertive Behavior



Sentences that begin with “I” reveal your inner world and cannot be disputed and it doesn’t harm the other person’s truth.

When you’re expressing opinions or different points of view, you can use these statements – no matter if you’re expressing how you are feeling, what you believe in or what you do not agree with.

Example: “I feel…”, “As far as I understand…”


Broken Record: repeatedly stating your position.


Use Words That Reinforce Your Assertive Behavior:

“if you want… then I need…”

“at the same time”

“on one hand…. on the other hand….”

“when…, then…”

And avoid words like: “just”, “only”, and “I’ll try” – they all weaken your position!


Ask For Time/Postponement:

You don’t need to say “Yes” or “No” right away. You can delay your answer because you have no current solution.

Example: “I’ll call you back later today.”


2 More Techniques That You Can Use When You Are Attacked:


Negative Assertion:

It’s an anti-bullying technique – when someone is trying to verbally bully you, for you to express that statement in a way that you agree with it.

For example, after the reaction: “Your idea is stupid!” you can say: “It’s true that sometimes my ideas are not so good.”

We take the first statement and we transform it to the point where we can agree with it. You agree that sometimes your ideas are not that good, but it doesn’t mean this is one of those times.

This is a defense mechanism by which you don’t attack the other party and by doing so, the situation won’t blow up.


Negative Inquiry

When you ask questions raised from curiosity, the emotion level goes down both for you and your opponent and again they are the ones who are going to continue the dispute. And they won’t feel attacked because the message we’re sending using a question out of curiosity is “I care why you think like that.”

For example: “What didn’t you like about my idea?” – with this question you are requesting further, more specific criticism. You express curiosity to understand what stands behind this statement.

What Does Assertive Mean

By using these techniques there is a significantly greater chance of directly but respectfully to the other to:

✅ say what you want

✅ exercise your rights

✅ express your feelings

✅ present your point of view

✅ maintain a good and healthy climate during negotiations and conflict situations.


Check out 5 Ways to Resolve Conflicts.


Practice how to enter and exit conflicts with style by playing real scenarios from tech companies.

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