Strong communication skills are one of the most important things in life. Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, having the ability to express your opinions, feelings, and needs in a productive way will always serve you well. There will always be people who challenge your personal communication style and try to take advantage of you, but the key is to let them know right away that you aren’t afraid to speak up for yourself. At the same time, standing up for yourself doesn’t have to automatically mean you’re standing on other people. There’s a balance, and you should make it your goal to find it.
Genuinely listen to people. One of the most important aspects of good communication is being able to genuinely listen to other people. That doesn’t mean just being quiet while they talk and waiting until it’s your turn; it means actually hearing their concerns so you can figure out a way to compromise. If you don’t actually know what’s important to them, you won’t have much negotiating leverage.
Make compromising a priority as often as you can. Most times, an agreement can be reached that will satisfy everyone, and no one feels like they were left out in the cold. You just have to be willing to sacrifice certain things while staying strong on your non negotiables.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve. There’s a difference between making certain sacrifices for the greater good and just letting people walk all over you. If you aren’t comfortable with something, don’t settle until you find a happy medium you can actually live with.
Be clear about what you want from the beginning. If you say you’re fine with a decision when you really aren’t, you’re just going to make things harder down the line. Unless you’re prepared to never admit how you really feel, there’s no point in lying. It’ll only blow up in your face later.
Know when to back down. Being stubborn just for the sake of winning isn’t helping anyone. You can’t get your way on everything, so learn how to pick your battles. It will give you a lot more leverage next time when it’s something that’s really important to you.
Make sure your opinion is heard. A lot of people are guilty of doing the pretend to listen until it’s their turn to speak thing. Make sure they know exactly what you’re saying, even if you have to say it in a different way then you’re used to. Being able to adapt to other people’s communication style is always a valuable skill.
Don’t be a bully. Just like you don’t want anyone pressuring you into anything, they don’t want to be bullied, either. Getting your way by being too aggressive is exactly the opposite of what you want to do. You might win battles that way, but you’ll never win a war.
Always stay calm. Getting into a screaming match over something is never going to turn out the way you want it to. You’ll end up saying something you don’t mean in the heat of the moment and making things a lot worse.
Be more logical than emotional. You’ll be a lot more likely to get your point across and get your way if you have logical and clearly articulated arguments. Getting too emotional will make you seem unstable, and people will walk on egg shells around you because they’ll be afraid of setting you off.
Avoid low blows. Standing up for yourself doesn’t have to mean putting other people down. If you want people to respect you and your opinion, you have to offer them the same courtesy in return.
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