Assertive Style of Communication

Of the various types of communication, the assertive style of communication is the most often most preferred by those with low self esteem.

Assertive Style of Communication Summary

  • direct statements of feelings, thoughts, wishes
  • defending and upholding your opinion, view or rights
  • allows for others right to be assertive
  • secure enough to accept criticism
  • does not detract or take from the dignity of others
  • does not take from the rights of others

Assertiveness in Communication: What is It?

Assertive communication involves direct statements regarding feelings, thoughts and wishes. It upholds, defends and even fights for closely held opinion, views or rights. While doing so, it also considers the opinions, views and rights of others.

Click Here for a How to Example

Assertiveness and Self Esteem

Assertiveness and self esteem are closely linked.

Self esteem has to do with being confident in our abilities and self worth. Literally, it means esteeming our-self as being of worth.

Examples of other words used to describe self esteem include pride, dignity, self-regard, faith in oneself, morale, self confidence, self-assurance.

People with low self esteem will often look to assertiveness training to improve their self esteem.

There are different kinds of assertiveness in communication. Next, consider positive assertiveness.

Unlike aggressive speaking, assertive speaking requires listening attentively to others and what they have to say. Let them know know you have heard them, even acknowledging what they have said.

Assertive style communication allows for negotiation and compromise. Compromise is not at the expense of your rights. It does not mean giving up your dignity. Likewise, assertiveness does not mean taking the rights and dignity of others.


When criticism is offered, it is not taken as a personal offense. Rather, it is accepted without being hostile or defensive. It is accepted as simply someone else being assertive to you.

Criticism, like strength resistance training, is the process by which we are strengthened. With out it, we would be nothing more than a literary version of a 97 pound weakling. People would be kicking up copies of Milton in your face at the beach and you would be helpless to do anything back.

Unlike accepting criticism, it should be easy to accept compliments. When doing so, be gracious.

The assertive communication comes from strength.

When we are tense, the vocal cords will tend to tighten up. This will increase the pitch of our voice. When using assertive communication, the voice needs to be more relaxed but firm. You will have good control of your modulation.

In assertive communication, direct eye contact needs to be maintained. Those who are passive communicators will tend to look away or even all around.

Direct eye contact does not mean staring, rather connecting visually with the person you are addressing.

Can You Master Assertive Communication

To learn mastery of assertive communication, simply start to practice using the assertiveness as listed in the summary.

One way to accomplish this is by role playing. Start using the list in role play.

Outside of a classroom setting, role play may be difficult to implement.

Try to get a friend to assist you to learn and master this skill. If there are no friends available, then do the role playing mentally.

Start to use the list. Keep the assertiveness positive.

More on What is Communication? Home: The Assertive Communication Resource

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