By Rev. Dr. Louise-Diana

(Rev. Dr. Louise-Diana is teaching a two-part “Assertive Communication Skills for Women” workshop March 31 and April 7 at SMC Community Education.)

Do you want to be seen as a highly credible, authoritative communicator who commands attention and get things done?

Communication is vital in creating and maintaining a relationship, whether it is an intimate relationship—such as with a partner, child, or friend—or a professional relationship—such as with a co-worker, supervisor, or client.

Your communication skills affect how you solve problems, how you resolve conflict, and the level of trust you generate in your relationships. A lack of communication may result in confusion, misunderstandings, and the development of poor communication patterns.

Communication experts agree the clearest, most productive and most effective way to communicate is honestly and openly, which is assertive communication. This type of communication allows for the potential of people to also communicate openly and honestly with you.

Assertive communication is defined as clear, direct, honest statement of feelings; use of “l” messages; speaking up appropriately for oneself while considering the needs, wants, and rights of others.

There is a new study from Stanford Graduate School of Business that shows in the business world, women who are aggressive, assertive, and confident but who can turn these traits on and olouise-diana yoga poseff, depending on the social circumstances, get more promotions than either men or other women.

This is certainly encouraging, yet I find that learning to assert oneself appropriately in the workplace still remains an issue for many women. One of the most effective ways to communicate confidence is to use assertive communication, and many women find this challenging. Part of the problem is the lack of confidence to use “I” statements in assertive communication, (that goes against some of the lessons we have learned about always putting others first).

Here are some tips and guidelines to build your assertive communication skills:

1. Visualize the person you want to be. How would that person behave and communicate? Do you currently exhibit this behavior and what do you have to change?

2. Ask for feedback from trusted colleagues about the way you are coming across. This would be a great discussion with a mentor as well.

3. Practice using “I” statements. Stay true to your feelings without blaming others.

4. State your opinions clearly.

5. Accept compliments with grace. Say “thank you.” It’s simple but somehow we always find the need to give credit to others or discredit the compliment. An example is someone saying you did a good job and you say the team did it. Well, what was your part in the team effort? What was your contribution? Acknowledge. Don’t downplay the compliment. Take credit.

6. Practice giving your opinion at least once during every meeting.

7. Make it a goal to speak during every meeting.

8. Practice saying “no! Especially when people (your boss or direct reports) delegate inappropriately to you. Don’t fall into the trap of taking on the work when it’s not appropriate.

For more tips and in-depth instruction on this topic, please register for my two-part “Assertive Communication Skills for Women” workshop March 31 and April 7 at SMC Community Education.

louise-diana awardInner Fitness is a personal growth system developed by Rev. Dr. Louise-Diana, a respected authority in the field of personal effectiveness: a yoga therapist, certified clinical hypnotherapist, motivational speaker, and ordained Science of Mind Minister. She helps people take charge of their lives by achieving balance and inner harmony. For more information, call 310-840-2253, email or visit

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