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Take a moment to think about how realistic your new year’s resolutions were.

  • Have you avoided having that conversation with your boss about new opportunities or a pay rise?
  • Are you still waiting on the right time to tell your partner about your dreams for 2018?
  • Are you saying yes to things at home and at work that you promised yourself you would stop doing in 2018?

Here are our top tips on being assertive and asking for what you want.

What is assertiveness?

Being assertive is positive and it is about:-

  • Standing up for your own rights in a way that does not violate another person’s rights
  • Being honest, open and directly expressing your point of view
  • Showing that you understand the other person’s position

So how do I learn to say NO

  • Be clear about your own priorities and goals
  • Think about the effects of taking on a further task
  • Learn to be fair to yourself as well as to others
  • Assert yourself firmly and positively
  • Put the responsibility back to your boss
  • Remind yourself you do not have to accept everything that comes your way

Questions to ask yourself before saying No to a task or request…

  • Do I have time to do it?
  • How urgent and/or important is it?
  • Am I the right person for the task?
  • Is someone else best suited to the job?
  • Does this request fit with my goals and objectives?

Saying yes to the person and no to the task….

  • "I'm sorry, I can't do that analysis this week. Can I do it for you next Tuesday after month-end is complete?"
  • "I'm sorry, I can't take on doing this analysis on a regular basis because Alex wants me to prioritise development work. But I know Janine is working on developing her Excel skills. Would you like me to show her how to extract the data so she can take this on?"
  • "I could do that analysis, but I wondered what information you actually want from it. If it's the conversion rate from the advertising campaign, would one of the measures in the report that Marketing sends round give you what you need?"

A fun way to think about it

Can you join the 9 dots using 3 straight lines without taking your pen off the paper?

Keep in mind that opposing views are nothing more than dots of information to be connected. Email us at for the answer. The first conversation to have is with yourself and plan for your discussion.

  1. What is the issue?
  2. Why is it bothering me?
  3. What are my assumptions?
  4. What emotions are attached to the situation?
  5. What is my purpose in having the conversation?  How will I start it?
  6. What will happen if I have this conversation?
  7. What will happen if I don’t?
  8. What opportunities are in front of me?
  9. What outcome do I want?

Published 1st February 2018

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