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Assertive Communication & Confidence Boosting for Personal & Professional Development

In cooperation with the Illuminations Wellbeing Centre, in Dubai, UAE , Dr. Leila Edwards conducted a webinar on May 28th via meetup, and discussed challenges to being assertive and focused on developing self-esteem, confidence, and emotional intelligence, understanding the different communication styles and their effects on others, drawing on behavioral psychology and assertiveness training techniques.  Dr. Edwards analyzed and practiced the art of direct, honest, clear, and congruent communication, how to put across your message whilst respecting the rights and opinions of others.

What is Assertiveness?

A lot of people tend to confuse assertiveness with aggression. There is a scale where some people can be very aggressive and will get what they want no matter what, while others can be passive. Some people can be ‘passive-aggressive’ and this can also be problematic, and this is on another spectrum of communication.

There are FOUR Communication Styles that is important for us to define and understand, because maintaining clear communication can be quite a challenge for some people, thus affecting work, family and other areas of their life.

Non Assertive, Indirect Aggressive

They express themselves in a competitive or manipulative way. They secretly feel that they want to be in control and want to feel that they are more important than you. They will put other people down, can be dictatorial. This can apply to people who are even in low-level jobs.

Non Assertive Direct Aggressive

I want to get my own way, I want to win no matter what, and no matter who is in my way. I want to be in control. It doesn’t matter what you think or feel. They would rather be right than happy.

Non Assertive Passive

I fail to express my thoughts and feelings.  I am helpless and I need to be rescued. I will go along with the rest of you. People like that don’t really get what hey what. In fact, an NLP Practitioner names Virgina Satir stated that these types of people who don’t want to be involved. This can be irritating for people because they don’t want to make any decisions. They go along with what the ‘bully’ wants.  They don’t get respected because they don’t stand up for themselves.


I will stand up for my rights, but not at the expense of anyone else. This means you are being congruent. They take constructive criticism. They are direct, clear, and honest with others. They stand their ground, are prepared to negotiate.

Assertiveness is a skill regularly referred to in social and communication skills training. Being assertive means being able to stand up for your own or other people’s rights in a calm and positive way, without being either aggressive or passively accepting ‘wrong’.

Core statement / Broken Record

You need to stick to your core statement, then being assertive will go a long way. For example, ‘I need to have this report done by tomorrow’. You need to stick to your ground and be fair. Assertiveness helps us feel good about ourselves and others, leads to the development of mutual respect with others, increases our self-esteem, helps us achieve our goals, minimizes hurting and alienating other people and enables us to express a wide range of feelings and thoughts.

Assertiveness and Building Confidence

Being assertive is not just about expressing your rights; it is also about increasing the efficiency of your communication with others. There are a number of ways you can express yourself to achieve this aim. You can express yourself assertively and increase your confidence in dealing with potentially aggressive people. So, building relationships and communication is key to being successful in life.

Assertiveness and Your Bill of Rights

This includes the right to express yourself honestly, the right to be heard. If you have a strong sense of self-confidence, it goes a long way. It is always good to start with I statements; examples include:

  • I have the right to ask for what I want
  • I have the right to be treated with respect and dignity
  • I have the right to have people respect my opinions and ideas
  • I have the right to be unassertive if I so choose.

Assertiveness and Congruence

Does what you say or do match how you behave? Are you owning the feeling and being true to yourself? You need to become more aware of what you are doing. Are you being genuine?  Express how you feel and be honest about it. You can also offer a compromise or solution to make things more fair.

Assertive is not Being Aggressive

Aggressive people just want to win no matter what the cost is. While others types of people could be more like a ‘door mat’. No one remembers that person is even in the room.

Assertive is not Being Passive

Those who don’t like to take the lead, see themselves as victims or hard done by. They see that being assertive is aggressive. They have no passion or enthusiasm. They obviously don’t feel good about it.

How to Be Assertive?

  • SAY NO Without Feeling Guilty
  • Make your own decisions
  • Take ownership
  • Give and receive praise and compliments
  • One thing at a time
  • Make decisions and stand your ground


Being assertive is part of applied positive psychology. Having successful relationships, these things involve emotions and intellect. And emotional intelligence is part of this. We have neuro-pathways that adapt and allow us to progress. We coach the unconscious mind.


Blog prepared by Maha Ahmad.

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