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The Art of Assertiveness

            Assertiveness is communicating to others in an honest and respectful way. Assertiveness is having the skills to stand and speak up for yourself, but not in an aggressive manner. Being assertive is tied to a person having good self-esteem, listening habits, and the ability to follow directions or guidance from others. An assertive person will be confident in his or her choices and can take criticism better than others to build his or her assertive communication skills. It all starts when any child is born and taught proper behavior on how to deal with conflict, criticism, and bullying. We all can be assertive and aggressive at the same time, but being assertive is the best way to go when communicating to achieve a definite goal. .
             Posture is important when projecting a confident image in communication. I try to project my assertiveness by making eye contact with whom I am speaking. I stand up straight, shoulders back, and smile rather than slouch or lean on the counter or shelving. Being fidgety can give the customer the appearance you have no confidence in what you are doing or saying and they will not trust you to solve their issue. Crossing your arms or clenching your fist can give the impression that you are nervous and not sure of your abilities to help the customer. One can show assertiveness by crossing their arms behind them to show they have authority. The best form of posture is to stand relaxed with eye contact showing the customer you are interested in what they have to say and want to help them with a solution.
             I spent many years in retail management. Over many years, I learned numerous ways to deal with conflict when the company sent me for management training at Wal*Mart University. Some of the things we were taught was first to avoid any conflict with customers. Collaborating with other members of management was another strategies taught during the class. I think the most common approach I used in dealing with customers is compromising to end up with a win-win situation.

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