A woman’s guide to being heard
Have you ever asked yourself, how can I effectively communicate what I want, need, think, or believe to others in the workplace? What about in family and social interactions? The ability to successfully express yourself, deliver your message effectively, and be heard is a personal development skill that many women seek. Too often, we second guess ourselves or worry about what people might think of us.
Be assertive. This is one of those things that are easier said than done. Assertiveness is a skill that is developed and honed by fire. Once learned, it does not even guarantee that you get what you want but it will definitely get you heard. Here are 4 strategies to successful communication from TFI’s CEO, Carrie Spell-Hansson:
Acknowledge the need - Assertiveness is often confused with aggressiveness. Being assertive is not being aggressive. On the contrary, assertiveness combats aggression. It is the ability to express how you feel without negating anyone else. It is communicating your wants, needs, and feelings. Acknowledging that you need to develop this ability is the first step.
Clearly determine your wants, needs, and feelings - Take the time to pause and think of what you need, what you feel, and what your values are. Be intentional and deliberate. Often, women may say that they are not being heard yet they are unable to clearly articulate their message. How can you ask for what you want if you are unsure about what you want?
Get coaching - It takes confidence, courage, and practice to become assertive. Attending workshops or engaging a coach can give you the tools you need to develop this essential skill. With years of biased learning to unlearn, having someone supporting you to tap into your power can give you the courage and confidence you need to become your best self and accomplish whatever goals you set for yourself.
Apply lessons learned and be accountable - Just like with anything, learning without application can be a waste of time. Assertiveness is a skill, and like riding a bike or playing an instrument it takes practice. One small step at a time consistently, will assuredly get you to your destination... a successful communicator. When possible, find a trusted friend or mentor to serve as an accountability partner, if that isn't available to you, be accountable to yourself. Just commit to staying on track!
Remember, assertiveness is a choice. How we communicate and make an impression on others, whether it is a first or lasting one, is a choice. And each of us gets to decide on a case-by-case basis if and when we want to be assertive. Doing so strengthens our personal power.
As this year’s Women’s History Month draws to a close, I challenge all of us to make a commitment to ourselves that we will do whatever is necessary to be proactive and continue moving forward not only for our own advancement but for the generations to come.