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Office fundas: Making a point

It's imperative to express yourself well at the workplace. Here are a few tips on how to be assertive yet acceptable.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 12:06 IST

In all organisations, there are a few employees who are unable to present their viewpoints to the management. The reason: lack of confidence. Many a times they have innovative ideas that are not communicated well and thus are never implemented or in the worst scenario, presented by another colleague and accepted. While the company needs to help these people come out with their suggestions, the employees should also put across their points in an assertive manner.

The right language

What you say is as important as how you convey it. Says Harish Srivastava, Manager, Bharti Televentures, "Assertive people exhibit an open style of communication, which is neither submissive nor aggressive. They have a 'win-win' approach to work relations." There are moments when, instead of speaking up, agitated folks yell, stamp their foot, cry, sulk or say nothing at all. They are likely to make mistakes in their work. An employee feels positive about himself when he is not burdened. By avoiding arguments and by focusing on goals, this state of mind may be attained.

Be assertive

Often employees become either aggressive or passive. But neither of these two extremes will result in a 'win win' situation. Adopt a meeting-as-equals approach to work relations. Be specific and talk in the first person. For example, say, "It disappoints me when my work is not acknowledged." Think beforehand what you want to say and then be clear and direct. The same principle holds while giving instructions to someone else. If you sound firm and credible, people are likely to believe you.

Talk in simple terms

Do not beat around the bush. Tell the person across the table that this is your requirement or view. Therefore, keep your utterances simple. Your statements should be brief and to-the-point.

Smile please

You are attempting to put across a point and not fight a battle. So, a genuine smile might help. Be affable and receptive to the other person's views. It works even better with your colleagues, as 'ticking them off' with a smile does not embarrass them.

Others matter

Notice and appreciate others' efforts and make them feel important. Do not mutter under your breath while doing something else. Look directly at those you are talking to and give them your full attention.

Unapologetic but calm

Stand your ground if you know you are right in what you say or do. If you don't, your opinion may be ignored. Remain calm and don't cave in to someone's pressure or shenanigans. Express your valid feelings in time, instead of bottling your woes, perceived or otherwise, up until you explode. Count to 10 after an anger-provoking situation before giving a response.

First Published: Jun 14, 2006 12:06 IST