You are in a room full of very brilliant people. Ideas and observations are flying around the room for the ultimate answer.
Extroverts are dominating every minute, rarely giving time for others to talk. Yet, in their never-ending chatter, the answer everyone is seeking is still missing.
Deep down, you have meditated on the problems extensively. You have cross-examined your subconsciousness. Yet, you seem to have the answer to the pain bothering everyone in the room.
Would you rather keep silent and watch the team continue sweating it out without an answer in view, or would you force yourself to speak up? Do you remember when you wanted to speak up but were silenced because you always kept quiet?
You beat yourself up inside but don’t see any options available.
You are not alone in this situation. Several introverts are victims of being tagged as passive and unassertive, and their voices are silenced at discussion tables.
In addition to being overlooked during promotion exercises, introverts may find it hard to play and succeed in office politics.
Several negative feelings build up, primarily when introverts work with domineering people who always want their way. A sense of insecurity and inferiority starts to gain momentum.
What if there was a way introverts could effectively express themselves without the barrage of negativity that comes with it? We have compiled seven ways introverts can become more assertive with domineering people.
1. Practicing quiet assertiveness during conflicts
One of the situations that scare introverts the most is conflict. You are so afraid that you would rather keep it inside than try explaining your position. However, practicing quiet assertiveness is the simplest way to resolve miscommunication between you and your domineering colleague or boss.
History is filled with the stories of individuals who exhibited this quality and had tremendous results. Mahatma Gandhi could secure independence for over 2 million Indians at the time without lifting a single weapon. Rosa Parks became the catalyst for the revolution by simply refusing to give up her seat.
When conflicts arise, try as much as possible to ignore the following:
- Using aggressive tones
- Using verbal insults
- Using accusation words
The right things to do include:
- Maintaining calm and composure.
- Ensure you are emotionally balanced.
- Condemn the individual’s specific actions instead of their personalities.
2. Using premeditated assertiveness
As an introvert, it might be advisable always to plan your speech before you open your mouth. Conflicts that require spontaneous responses may not go well. Therefore, keeping a small notebook for jotting down new ideas is necessary.
Whether you need to ask for a raise or to speak to a colleague about a previous event, a bulleted list will place you in a position to negotiate and communicate on a deeper level. You can rest assured that you will not run out of ideas.
3. Don’t ignore your body language
Our bodies reveal a great deal to us. You sometimes feel like standing up, but your body screams, “sit down!” Most times, introverts choose to ignore the signals coming from their body.
It can be frustrating to have our inside and outside world acting against us. This may prevent your quest to be assertive. However, it does not have to. Here are a few tips to position your body to give you a decisive edge:
- Get eye contact. This is very important. Daring to look someone in the eye is an antidote to being intimidated.
- Face the person. Be in their face. Do not stand at their side.
- Place your hands on your hips. It is a power pose that exudes confidence.
4. Stop regular apologizing
“I’m sorry … can I add a comment?” Does this sound familiar? “I’m sorry …can you excuse me?” Introverts are famous for apologizing for the slightest things. This used to be my reality.
Before I could say one or two statements, I would apologize. This attitude consistently portrays you as the weaker person, an individual who is not sure of performing flawlessly. You need to stop. In your bid to be assertive, stop apologizing and make your point.
“Excuse me, I have a point” sounds more confident and assertive than “I’m sorry …can I contribute?”
5. Practice walking away
One of the most potent assertive tools I have found is the ability to walk away from a deal. In sales, for instance, the man willing to walk away without closing the deal ends up being more respected and taken seriously next time.
This mindset puts you in a position of power. It suddenly takes you from being a victim to being a potential victor.
Before you meet your boss, who regularly shuts you down and treats you poorly, make a pact with yourself to walk away if the situation does not change. After all, your peace of mind is critically important. Don’t be afraid to make your stand known.
6. Be loud but know your limits.
Do not be scared of showing your anger or displeasure. Situations are different, and so are your reactions. Even in the most incredible moments, a conflict arises, and an overbearing colleague or manager drags your personality in the mud.
Do not bottle it up. Vent your anger.
However, don’t go overboard. You are not trying to threaten or scare the other person away. You want your voice to be heard and your personality respected.
You don’t have to whine or yell unnecessarily. Make your point and wait for the opponent’s response.
7. Remove all uninspiring mental barriers.
Underneath the introversion is tons of negative beliefs and mental barriers reinforcing such attitudes.
“It’s best to keep silent …I wouldn’t want to rattle him…there’s no telling what might happen.”
“If I speak up now, they will judge me.”
“I’d rather do it alone; I’m not much of a team player.”
Challenging the mental traps that put you in an unending cycle of low self-esteem and inferiority complex is essential. Here are some helpful tips:
- Stop permitting people to run over you. No one can make you feel useless unless you let them. You are a human with dignity and should be treated as such.
- You are not less sufficient or below others. You are a unique creature. No one can make and treat you like a subordinate without your consent.
- Your opinions and contributions are valid, just like others. So, do not be scared to express your views.
It is important to note that you can become assertive at any time. It is a journey of continuous improvement, which takes faith, commitment, and the willingness to keep trying.
Not every man is born assertive, but you can cultivate your assertiveness even if you’re an introvert.
It might be difficult, but not impossible.
In the end, assertive introverts are regarded as better leaders. Start your journey today.
—Robert C. McAllister