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Assertiveness and Self-Confidence
Article Number: 192 | Rating: Unrated | Last Updated: Sun, Apr 8, 2012 8:35 AM
Strong communication skills are essential for assertive interaction with others. Humans are social animals and communication is a very important part of our daily lives. Every interaction we have with another person including, face to face, over the phone, chatting online or even texting is communication happening, and have strong communication skills will benefit every type of interaction we encounter.
Listening and Hearing; They Aren't the Same Thing
Hearing is the act of perceiving sound by the ear. Assuming an individual is not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something that one consciously chooses to do. Listening requires concentration so that the brain processes meaning from words and sentences.
Listening leads to learning, but this is not always an easy task. The normal adult rate of speech is 100-150 words per minute, but the brain can think at a rate of 400-500 words per minute, leaving extra time for daydreaming, or anticipating the speaker's or the recipient's next words.
As opposed to hearing, listening skills can be learned and refined. The art of active listening allows you to fully receive a message from another person. Especially in a situation involving anger or a tense interchange, active listening allows you to be sensitive to the multiple dimensions of communication that make up an entire message. These dimensions include:
Empathy is the capability to share and understand another's emotions and feelings. Empathetic listening
is the art of seeking a truer understanding of how others are feeling. This requires excellent discrimination and close attention to the nuances of emotional signals. According to Stephen Covey in "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", empathetic listening involves five basic tasks:
Active listeners use specific questioning techniques to elicit more information from speakers. Below are three types of questions to use when practicing active listening.
Open questions stimulate thinking and discussion or responses including opinions or feelings. They pass control of the conversation to the respondent. Leading words in open questions include: Why, what, or how, as in the following examples:
A clarifying question helps to remove ambiguity, elicits additional detail, and guides the answer to a question. When you ask a clarifying question, you ask for expansion or detail, while withholding your judgment and own opinions. When asking for clarification, you will have to listen carefully to what the other person says. Frame your question as someone trying to understand in more detail. Often asking for a specific example is useful. This also helps the speaker evaluate his or her own opinions and perspective. Below are some examples:
Closed questions usually require a one-word answer, and effectively shut off discussion. Closed questions provide facts, allow the questioner to maintain control of the conversation, and are easy to answer. Typical leading words are: Is, can, how many, or does. While closed questions are not the optimum choice for active listening, at times they may be necessary to elicit facts. Below are several examples of closed questions:
Body language is a form of non-verbal communication involving the use of stylized gestures, postures, and physiologic signs which act as cues to other people. Humans unconsciously send and receive non-verbal signals through body language all the
Non-verbal communication is the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless messages. It is the single most powerful form of communication. Nonverbal communication cues others about what is in your mind, even more than your voice or words can do.
According to studies at UCLA, as much as 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues, and the impact of performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by non-verbal communication.
In communication, if a conflict arises between your words and your body language, your body language rules every time.
Assertiveness and Self-Confidence
First Impressions Count
It takes as few as seven seconds - and no more than thirty seconds -- for someone to form a first impression about you.
It's How You Say It
We are all born with a particular tone of voice, which we can learn to improve. The goal is to sound upbeat, warm, under control, and clear.
What is Self-Confidence?
Self-confidence is a belief in oneself, one's abilities, or one's judgment. It is freedom from doubt. When you believe you can change things -- or make a difference in a situation, you are much more likely to succeed.
As a self-confident person, you walk with a bounce in your step. You can control your thoughts and emotions and influence others. You are more prepared to tackle everyday challenges and recover from setbacks. This all leads to a greater degree of optimism and life satisfaction.
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