Communication breakdowns are a common cause for conflict, and poor communication strategies can lead to rapid escalation. One idea that can help you choose the best communication strategy for the situation comes from what I call the communication continuum. The continuum runs from passive strategies on the left to aggressive strategies on the right. Assertive communication approaches represent a range of techniques rather than a single point on the continuum.
Whether it sits a little left of center or a little right of center, the guiding principle behind all assertive communication techniques is that the technique allows you to effectively express your needs and concerns in a way that respects the needs and concerns of the other person. State your perspective as your perspective or interpretation without resorting to statements that blame the other person. Avoid the desire to slip into interpretations like calling the other person rude or insensitive. The longer you talk, the more likely you are to slip into either passive or aggressive techniques. As individuals we often dress, look, communicate and express ourselves in a variety of different ways.  When others express themselves they might come across as assertive but nice, some may seem way too nice , while others are aggressive.

Assertive communication expresses your beliefs, feelings, opinions and thoughts in an open respectful manner that doesn’t violate the rights of others.  Assertive communicators use actions and words to express their boundaries in a calm manner with an air of confidence.
Aggressive communicators might be sarcastic, blame others, shout, boast, use threats, use condescending remarks and use putdowns. The body language of an aggressive person might be fist clenching, crossed arms, scowls, or staring at someone up and down. Passive communicators hesitate, they might be quiet, self dismissing or put themselves down.  Often they have body language that might include covering the mouth, looking down, avoiding eye contact, crossed arms and placing their hand over their mouth to cover. Enquire NowRequest an info pack and find out more about the range of courses we offer at aifc. Likewise, effective communication strategies can help you correct these miscommunications to move conflicts quickly towards resolution. In passive strategies, you communicate in a way that protects the other person’s interests at the expense of yours. These strategies depend on approaches that protect the interests of both parties in the communication – yours and the other person’s. Some of the approaches lie a little to the left of middle – they are a little more passive – and other approaches lie a little to the right of middle – they are a little more aggressive.

Passive communicators often lack of respect for themselves, disregarding their own opinions, feelings, needs, and desires. They’re classic traits of a passive communicator who often lack respect for themselves, while not giving any importance ot their own needs, feelings, opinions and desire. Aggressive strategies represent the other extreme where you communicate in a way that protects your interests at the expense of the other person’s. Wherever they lie on the continuum, all assertive strategies have this in common – the interests of both parties are protected.
Passive people put their own needs after everyone else’s allowing for others to decide how things will turn out.
Depending on the situation, you might choose to go a little more passive or a little more aggressive within the assertive range.

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