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Chapter 13. Assertiveness > Assertiveness and Persuasion

Assertiveness and Persuasion

Often, as part of a large organization or even a small business, you will be required to participate in business or planning meetings. Many people are concerned about how to ensure that their voice will be heard, that their ideas and input will be taken seriously by the group, the boss, supervisors, or subordinates. Getting lost in the shuffle can be stressful and contributes to feelings of loss of control. It is important to learn how to be influential in groups, at work and in your personal life, and how to maximize your impact without being perceived as aggressive or overbearing. Basically this is about being persuasive, which is related to your assertive skills. Two principles can maximize your ability to persuade others when giving your opinion at work, in meetings, on committees, and so on: how to use timing and tact when expressing honest opinions.

Timing involves several issues. First of all, you have to decide where your priorities lie. Otherwise you run the risk of being assertive just for the sake of being assertive, and talking too much and too long. The result could be that others would view you as being on an ego trip and tune you out. You want to save your assertive efforts for those points that are really important to you. Observations of groups indicate that it is usually more effective to express an opinion after one-third to one-half of the group participants or committee members have already voiced their positions. By that point the members have a good sense of the group's general position and can address themselves to the points being raised, but this timing reduces the chance that group members will have already made up their minds before you speak up.


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