Successfully assertive

Do you ever give your opinion and find no one is listening?

Do you find that you are not being taken seriously?

Do you want your voice to be listened to?

Are your opinions being effectively delivered?

It is possible to be successfully assertive, it comes with practice and using the tips offered below.

Being heard.

We all want to be able to express our views and opinions however sometimes we are just not heard.

You need to expressing your views and opinions backed up with reasons and with enough conviction to be taken seriously.

 How to be successfully assertive

Give a clear, concise statement of your views, opinions, ideas, suggestions, proposals, etc.  with up to three reasons in support of your view.

The words you use

“It seems to me ...”, “I strongly recommend ...”

“In my view ...”, “I believe ...”, “I think that ...”, “I suggest ...”,

“The data indicates ...”, “Because ...”, “My reasons are, first ...”

Tone of voice

Calm logical, evenly paced, with conviction but not over forceful, rational not over emotional.

Body language       

Confident, upright, good eye contact

Categories of opinion.

People hold views and opinions on just about anything. In a work context, there are three important categories:


'In my view the reporting system we are using is inadequate.'


'I suggest we have a proper agenda for these meetings.'


'I think the way we help new staff settle in is excellent.'                       

In a personal situation the same three steps apply. 

Structure of your Words

Propose first, then reason

If you offer your reasoning before giving a clear proposal, people may be confused about the point you are making or they may start arguing with your reasons before understanding the main point.

Situational flexibility

You need to express your view strongly enough to be taken seriously and this will require varying amounts of ‘strength’ depending on the situation. 

You'll be more effective in influencing others if you continually adjust the strength of your message to suit the situation and the other person. 

I have given a range of approaches below, and suggested  consequences of being inflexible.

 'Don’t you  ' I think ...'   'I suggest..'   ' I propose'   'I strongly        think that...'                                                         recommend..'


          Weakest                                      Strongest


               |                                                                  |

 If I always do it this way ...      If I always do it this way.

 I may come across as weak         It will lose its impact

 or indecisive                                 Like screaming at the kids

 I may come across as                  people may be put off by my  lack conviction                              attitude                  

Limiting your argument.

Giving more than three reasons is weaker because your weaker reasons can be attacked and used to undermine your case.

Label your behaviour

eg  “I have a proposal ...”, “I have two reasons”.  This signals very clearly to others what you are about to do and will capture their attention.

Negative reasoning

Constantly countering other people’s views instead of presenting your own can be seen as negative (and therefore less influential) behaviour. This doesn't work towards becoming  successfully assertive.

 “Yes and ...”, rather than “Yes, but ...”, or “Another way to look at it is ...” rather than “That won’t work because ...”, will be received more positively.


Listen to demonstrate that you have understood.

Explore to deepen your understanding.

Focus and build on common ground if their view is similar to yours.

By using the technique you should notice an improvement in being able to express your views and opinions more effectively.


If you enjoyed successfully assertive you may want to link to dealing with objections

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