Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to Be Assertive Without Causing Tension or Stress

Did you know that 1 in 3 women law partners have felt uncomfortable when discussing their worth to negotiate their compensation? It's no wonder since (according to a 2010 MCCA & Partner for Attorney Retention survey) 30% have experienced intimidation, threats, or bullying to back down after they disputed the allocation of business origination credits.

These shocking statistics made me jump at the chance to help women lawyers reduce interpersonal tension and miscommunication by leading my seminar for the Women in the Profession Committee of the New York City Bar Association: Communicate for Impact! How to Use People Styles to Hone Your Skills ... and Get Results!

In the above pic, I'm discussing the potential impact of non-verbal behaviors on how well your message is received and understood by others. While communication isn't an exact science, there have been numerous studies about how our communication behaviors and habits impact the quality of our interactions and relationships.

Bolton & Bolton's People Styles model suggests there are four styles based on your level of assertiveness, ("the degree to which your behavior is seen by others as being forceful or directive") and your responsiveness ("the degree which others see you as showing your emotions and an awareness of other people's feelings").

We had a rich discussion in the seminar as the women shared their experiences of how they had been perceived (perhaps judged?) in the workplace along a passive - assertive - aggressive continuum of assumed inner capabilities. And, there were a few A-HA! moments as we began to discuss assertiveness as a set of behaviors (e.g., gestures, eye contact, movement, posture, and voice volume/speed) -- as they began to realize that they can adjust how they behave/communicate -- or flex their style -- in different situations to make their interactions more productive [HINT: it's about making the other person feel comfortable].

These are the kinds of communication breakthroughs I love witnessing from my clients because the impact can be so broad -- not just for your relationships but for your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, learning to be more assertive can help coping with issues such as depression, anorexia, bulimia, and social anxiety disorder!

Are you ready to be more assertive and get better results in 2012? Now is the time to boost your self-confidence, improve your decision-making skills, and overcome barriers in your critical relationships. Sign up for one of my Communication Breakthrough Coaching programs so you can earn more respect, and create more honest, productive relationships this year.

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