How do you become more assertive? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.

Answer by Steven Mason, Brand Strategist & Ideator, on Quora:

The result of assertiveness is respect. So how do you get it?

Be calm. Speak firmly but more softly. Don't yell. Don't beg. State things as they are.

Don't ask permission or apologize! - e.g.,

  • I hope it would be okay if I did this.
  • I worked really hard at this, but I don't think it's any good -- what do you think?
  • Do you think it would be okay if I looked at the problem this way?
  • Oh, okay, I'm sorry to bother you -- I am still unhappy about the service your company provided and I won't shop here again but I am really disappointed you won't refund my money.
  • You would never want to go on a date with me, would you?

Assertive doesn't mean you stick a machine gun in someone's face and demand action. It means you stop the political correctness and just state things as they are. The consequences, the conditions, etc. Strongly, but calmly.

There is also one other word I'm going to give you. It's the most powerful word in the English language: NO. For example:

  • No, I don't agree with your tactics and I won't use them.
  • No, your proposal is not acceptable to me under any circumstances.
  • Thank you for calling me, but I'm not able to continue this conversation now, as I have a call in 2 minutes. Again, thanks for your time. Good day (this is for someone who will simply not get off the phone).
  • No, thank you, I have a prior commitment at that time. I am available on Monday between noon and 3pm.
  • You're welcome to call me a moron and idiot as much as you want; however, that does not solve the impasse between our companies. So you can either work to solve the problem with me, the moron -- or I will take whatever lawful actions are necessary to attain the desired result for my company -- the choice is yours. (humor can be effective here to show that the name-calling doesn't bother you in the least).

Do what I say and you will gain respect. Appease to no end and you will attract people who wish to take advantage of you.

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