Here are some tips and tricks that shy or introverted people can use to become assertive. Some people have trouble
navigating public life -- everyday situations can be daunting or overwhelming for them. The Chairman is here to offer some advice.
You must have good posture if you are going to be assertive. A good trick to make sure you're standing up straight
is to imagine that a piece of string is attached to your sternum and is pulling you up. Don't throw your shoulders back since
this looks unnatural and silly. Just do the string trick and your shoulders will look right. Constantly be aware of your posture.
When talking to someone always maintain constant eye contact, and face them directly, squarely. Do not look down or away at any point,
or turn your body away.
Before you approach a person to talk, you can discreetly yawn. This will open up your throat so that your voice will project better. Good posture
also leads to good projection.
Try to speak just a little more loudly than you think is "appropriate." This will keep the counterparty's attention squarely
focused on you, which is where you want it. A shy person's idea of appropriate volume is probably too low.
SPEAK DIRECTLY AND CLEARLY
Get to the point using as few words as possible. Don't mumble or ramble. Plan what you are going to say in advance and practice
saying it. Make it succinct. Be purposeful.
When you approach someone for something, I suggest you stand just a little closer than you think is "appropriate." Don't
get in their face, obviously, but walk directly up to them and don't stand any farther than arm's length away. You'll have their
attention (especially if you're taller than they are).
DON'T HEDGE OR APOLOGIZE
Break the habit of saying "Excuse me, but could I...." "I really hate to bother you, but...." I'm not saying you should be rude, but just cut out the unnecessary
excuses, and ask what you want to ask, or say what you want to say. "Please" is a handy short, sharp way to start your question. Always
thank people afterwards, but don't be effusive.
NEVER USE SELF-DEPRECATING LANGUAGE
Always stop yourself if you start to say things like "I'm really not very good at this." In private, being self-deprecating
is fine; in public, it's a bad idea.
DON'T USE "PERMISSION" LANGUAGE
Stop using the expressions "Can I," "May I," etc. Use "I" statements instead. Instead of asking "Can I try this on?" you
say "I would like to try this on." See the difference?
This kind of goes without saying, but you have to be well-dressed and well-groomed when dealing with other people. Women
especially put a high value on physical appearance.
What it all boils down to is knowing what you want, being very clear in your own mind what your purpose is, and then practicing
what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. You have to habitualize all of the tips above. Every time you
step out your front door is an
opportunity for you to practice.
A shy or introverted person can have a tough time
asserting herself in even the least intimidating situation, but the good news is that by practicing these few simple tricks, she will
learn how to be assertive in a very short time.
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