The Ultimate Guide To Being Assertive At Work
Want to feel confident? Want to be assertive? Want to look impressive and be noticed? This ‘Ultimate Guide to Being Assertive at Work’ will help you do just that.
It’s designed specifically for people joining a new organisation or starting a different role at work. It will show you how to come across assertively and make the very best start.
The aim of the Guide is to give you the skills to:
Present your thoughts confidently when you’re under pressure
Be noticed and listened to when you join a new team
Get your point across when it matters at business meetings
Come across engagingly when you’re presenting to a group
You’ll get the most benefit if you actively practise the techniques and tips I’m going to share with you.
And the best part…
You’ll be able to apply what you learn directly to your job. You’ll notice a difference immediately.
Before we get started, here’s a quick overview of what’s covered:
Assertive behaviour starts here
Do you hold yourself back from coming forward and taking opportunities? This is a common problem people face when they start a new role. Something stops them and as a result, their confidence takes a hit. Part 1 helps you to break down any barriers that stop you being assertive.
Skip to Part 1
Being assertive at work – a handy checklist
Being assertive and coming across confidently won’t just help you to impress your colleagues, it will open up a whole host of new opportunities for you as you develop in your new role. Part 5 gives you a handy checklist to use for reference.
Skip to Part 5
About the author
The author of ‘The Ultimate Guide To Being Assertive At Work’ is Mike McClement. Mike is a successful Confidence Coach and author of the best-selling book ‘Brilliant Self-Confidence’. Read more about Mike and sign-up for his popular weekly self-confidence tips.
Assertive Behaviour Starts Here
Before I share some great techniques on being assertive and looking confident, it’s worth mentioning that for some people there’s a significant barrier that gets in their way. It has the potential to stop you moving forward and being successful at work. Unless it’s dealt with, you’ll never be truly assertive.
Be honest with yourself… Do you sometimes find yourself thinking…
In other words; does doubting your own abilities sometimes stop you doing things you know you should do or things you want to do?
Self-doubt is a barrier you have to overcome if you want to stay ahead at work and make the most of opportunities.
That’s why in Part 1, we’ll explore what you can do to strengthen your mind-set and prepare yourself for being assertive.
What’s stopping you being assertive?
Imagine you’ve been in your new job for a couple of weeks. You’ve been asked to write a report and then present your findings to a group of senior managers. It’s your first opportunity to impress and get noticed.
You’re very confident in your knowledge of the subject but feel nervous and a little daunted about presenting your thoughts in front of the Board.
You prepare well but when the time comes your nerves get the better of you; your mind goes blank and you rush what you want to say. You end up looking and sounding unsure of yourself and the facts you’re presenting.
In short, you’ve wasted an opportunity.
The perception your work colleagues formed of you was different to the one you wanted them to have. Instead of them seeing you as confident and assertive, they saw you as shy and unconvincing.
Your chance of being offered other opportunities or even promotion may have been affected. Now you’ll need to work twice as hard to change the perception they’ve formed of you.
So why couldn’t you present your thoughts assertively, especially when you’d prepared well and were happy with your knowledge levels?
Let’s go back to that mental barrier; self-doubt.
Why doubting yourself is a recipe for disaster
Too many very capable people lack faith in their own abilities. This stops them doing the things they really want to do. The main reason for this? A fear of failure. The thought of getting it wrong is enough to stop them doing it.
Don’t get me wrong, you’d be superhuman if you didn’t doubt yourself on occasions. That’s only normal. In fact, fearing failure is not all bad. For some people, a little self-doubt can be a good thing. It can increase the amount of effort you’re willing to exert to achieve your goal. It can actually spur you on to create something great. However, to be assertive and confident, you’ll need to keep any self-doubt in check.
To be assertive and confident, you’ll need to keep any self-doubt in check.
3 simple ways to overcome self-doubt
Self-doubt can cause you to overthink or over-analyse things. Try to catch yourself if you start doing this. For example, if you find yourself thinking… “what will people think if I….”, stop yourself by complimenting an aspect of your personality.
There’s always something good about what you’re doing or saying. You just need the self-discipline to look for it and acknowledge it.
Sometimes self-doubt creeps in because you make a mistake or you fail at something. It’s not surprising if this affects you in some way. No one likes failing. But the reality is we all fail on occasions, even confident people. The difference is that people who retain their confidence try again, even after significant failures.
To conquer self-doubt you need to recognise failure as a positive thing. Sounds mad I know. Think logically about it though…
It’s happened. Something went wrong. You can’t change it or make it better. All you can do is move on. But don’t do that until you’ve learnt what you can from the experience. Use the lessons to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Then have another go. It’s the only way of proving to yourself that you can succeed at it. This is what confident people do to remain confident and assertive.
They accept that things may go wrong and try again until they succeed.
Another reason people sometimes doubt themselves is that they make the assumption that other people’s’ rights prevail above theirs. Particularly people who are senior to them.
It may well be the case that some people are more ‘senior’ to you in terms of position or rank and as a result they may have a degree of ‘power’ over you in terms of your role and responsibilities. However, this does not mean that they are ‘superior’ to you in the sense that their rights and needs are more important.
Be respectful of senior people, but try to avoid comparing yourself to them. It’s a false economy. You have your strengths, they have theirs. You have your weaknesses, they have theirs too. No one is perfect.
Controlling self-doubt means having self-belief
So, to come across assertively you firstly need to recognise your own abilities and have firm self-belief. You will then be in the driving seat and be able to control the perception people form of you. You can read more about self-doubt in my blog post ‘What you should know about overcoming self-doubt‘.
As you move on through this Guide, I’m going to share how you can physically control the perception people form of you and how you can come across really assertively and confidently.
Want to be more Assertive at Work?
Speak Up, Be Heard, Be Influential, Be Confident
Do You Have An Assertive Communication Style?
You’ve been in your new job for a couple of weeks. You’ve been given responsibility for a specific project. You’re excited but a little anxious.
To succeed, you know you’ll need to come across confidently and assertively with colleagues and managers. But you already sense that there’s one particular person who you’re going to find challenging. She’s one of the managers you’ll be working with. Her name is Sophie.
You find Sophie overbearing and domineering.
You start your new project by organising a team meeting to clarify the objectives. Sophie attends. She knows you’re responsible for the project, however, she still tries to control the meeting. She dictates her opinions and doesn’t give you a chance to speak.
You start wondering – how on earth will I be able to work on this project with her? Will we agree on anything? How will I get my point across? Will it ever get completed? What will my boss think?
This is a typical situation that many people find themselves in when they start a new role. They find it a challenge to speak up and get their point of view across. This can sometimes have a knock-on effect in terms of their self-confidence and self-esteem. They might even start to avoid people they find difficult.
There’s an art to dealing with people like Sophie. You’ll need to change the way you communicate to get her to listen to you.
So how do you do that?
Why being your ‘natural self’ might not work
The first step is to be aware of the way you naturally communicate. I’m talking about the instinctive way you interact with people; the way you communicate when you’re not consciously thinking about it.
If you don’t know your natural communication style, you may well find it difficult to be assertive, particularly when you’re dealing with someone who communicates in a different way to you. It could be the reason you start to feel out of control, uncomfortable or even nervous when you’re talking to people like Sophie.
You may have heard the phrase ‘personality clash’. What people often actually mean is ‘communication style clash’. Understanding your natural communication style is the first step to dealing with this.
Are you distracting people?
To feel confident and assertive when you start a new role, it helps to know what’s good and also what could be distracting to people about your natural communication style.
Otherwise it could be that just by being your normal self, without even knowing it, you could make a colleague feel uncomfortable, you could seem boring or disinterested, you could come across as shy or you might even appear rude to some people.
Before you continue reading you should complete the ‘What’s My Communication Style’ Questionnaire.
It’s free and you can find it here. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you’ll discover how your scores can help you to be assertive.
How To Be Assertive Without Being Aggressive
Some people think that to be assertive you have to be loud or extrovert. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the most assertive communicators I know are naturally quiet people.
Why is that?
Simply because communicating assertively isn’t just about speaking up and being heard, it’s about listening too. Imagine for a moment that you’re on a see-saw. On one side you have listening and on the other side speaking. Most people find that their natural style means they lean more to one side than the other.
To communicate assertively you need to understand where you naturally sit on the see-saw so that you can compensate if necessary. If you stray too far one way – the see-saw becomes unbalanced. It will tilt too far and you’ll lose control.
What does it mean to be assertive?
Let me tell you about Toby and Anna. Their natural styles meant they stayed on opposite ends of the see-saw.
Toby found that he sat too far out on the listening side. He had problems committing himself to a point of view. He struggled to say anything meaningful whenever it involved giving his opinion. Toby’s first thoughts focused on other peoples’ opinions and needs rather than his own. Toby was a genuinely nice person but he made the mistake of thinking he would hurt peoples’ feelings if he told them what he thought or wanted.
For Toby to communicate assertively, he needed to move closer to the middle of the seesaw. He needed to find a way of speaking up without thinking he was offending the other person.
Anna on the other hand sat too far on the speaking side. She was just like Sophie. She put her point of view across so strongly that other people felt threatened by her behaviour. Her colleagues saw her as aggressive. She was actually shutting out other peoples’ views and needs.
For Anna to communicate confidently, she needed to find the self-discipline to give others a chance to talk and express their opinions.
What’s your instinctive Communication Style?
I rarely meet people whose natural communication style means they find themselves nicely positioned in the middle of the see-saw. Most people have a natural leaning to one side or the other. They tend to prefer either to listen or to talk. What about you?
You should get a good idea of the way you naturally lean from your Communication Style Questionnaire results. If you haven’t already completed our free questionnaire, you can find it here.
Communicating assertively means getting the balance right
Communicating assertively means listening when appropriate and speaking when you have a point to make, even when you feel under pressure. It means getting the balance right.
If you watch assertive people you’ll see that they seem to be able to influence others around them. They do this by communicating in a way that suits the other person. This may not necessarily be their natural way of communicating.
Truly assertive people know where they naturally sit on the see-saw.
Truly assertive people know where they naturally sit on the see-saw. When they communicate, they instinctively alter their communication style to maintain a balance. This means they feel comfortable and in control during a conversation. They know when to state their case and when to take account of the views of the other person.
Are you struggling with a communication style clash?
Let’s go back to the team meeting I mentioned in Part 2. There’s a discussion going on. Everyone’s contributing and making their point (including Sophie). You have something to say. You have a good point to make. You speak up but no one seems to listen to you. Why is that? You have as much right to speak as anyone else.
You’ll tend to feel most comfortable talking to or working with colleagues who have a similar communication style to you; people who communicate like you behave in a way you can relate to. They do the things you do and tend not to distract you or frustrate you by coming across in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
The problems tend to arise when you’re dealing with someone who has a different style to you.
Reflect for a moment on your communication style scores. Do you have a high score in any of the styles? A high score could be anything from 14 upwards. People who score high in a particular style are more likely to come up against ‘communication style clashes’.
Knowing your communication style can help you to stop these ‘clashes’ taking place. People who are truly assertive know how to ‘manage’ their style; this helps them to adapt the way they communicate to suit the other person.
In other words, you change your style to suit the style of the other person. That means you’re much less likely to distract the person or come across in a way they don’t like. It’s the secret to getting people to listen to you.
You might think that this means you’re ‘giving in’. You’re not.
When you adapt your style to suit the other person, it means you gain control. You’ll find it easier to influence a situation. That’s true assertiveness.
It’s not giving in, it’s being clever.
A simple technique to help you get your point of view across
Take time to study people. Be more observant when you’re talking to people. Try to take in as much as you can, as quickly as you can, about their verbal and nonverbal behaviour. Your senses need to detect when you’re dealing with someone who has a strong natural communication style that’s different to yours. You’re looking at the other person’s body language, facial expressions, tone, pace, volume of voice, energy level, enthusiasm, expressiveness and emotion.
Try to identify their communication style. Think back to Part 2; try to gauge which style you think the person leans more towards. Sophie’s a good example (she would probably score high in the Upfront style). Once you’ve worked this out, you can start to think about how similar, or perhaps different, their style is to your natural style. The more different they are, the more you’ll need to adapt your style to suit them.
You’ve worked out their style. Now you need to adapt your own style to mirror theirs. You’ll find it harder to mirror the other person’s style if you personally don’t like it or feel comfortable with it. Bear in mind that the higher you score in your own style, the more unnatural it will feel to mirror someone who is different to you. Persevere though, it’s worth it.
Why ‘Adapting and Mirroring’ makes sense
So when you’re at meetings with someone like Sophie, it makes sense to be more Upfront. If you’re not an Upfront person yourself, this will take effort. You may feel uncomfortable because it will feel unnatural.
Of course, they’ll be some people who have a similar style to you; you probably won’t have to adapt a great deal, perhaps even at all to mirror these people. It’s the people who have different styles to you that you’ll need to work hardest on.
Adapting and Mirroring is a great way to overcome a clash of styles and build rapport with colleagues quickly. It’s absolutely true that the more you can mirror the other person’s communication style, the more comfortable they will feel in your presence. This means you will have more influence in the conversation. Ultimately, you will be listened to.
Want to be more Assertive at Work?
Speak Up, Be Heard, Be Influential, Be Confident
7 Assertiveness Techniques That Will Help You Make An Instant Impression
Last summer I was walking through the Square of a small market town when I saw a man standing on a wall addressing a few people. I was curious so I stopped to watch. The crowd grew and I stood mesmerised for over 20 minutes.
I expect you’re thinking… It must have been a very interesting talk!
The thing is, I can’t tell you what the man was talking about. In fact, I had absolutely no idea what he was saying. I was on holiday in Italy and my Italian is almost non-existent.
It wasn’t what he said that captivated me. It was how he said it. This stranger relayed real dynamism and emotion that drew me in. He did this through his body language.
Your body language is a powerful ally when you need to be assertive at work. Use it effectively and your dynamism becomes contagious. You will find that people start to single you out so they can listen to what you have to say.
Do you make the best first impression?
Using your body language effectively is a simple way to make a strong and lasting good impression. And what’s more, you don’t have to do anything spectacular to make a great impression.
However, there is a BUT…
You don’t have to do much wrong to make a bad impression either.
That’s why being aware of how you come across and making a few subtle tweaks is so important.
We all know that it takes just a very quick glance for someone to evaluate you when you first meet them. In literally just one second, the person forms an opinion about you. They’re basing this on your body language, your appearance, your demeanour and your voice.
This first impression is hard to reverse. That’s why it’s so important to get it right. The last thing you want to be doing when you start a new role is to give away any sign that you lack self-confidence, you’re unassertive or you feel uncomfortable.
In Part 4, you’ll discover some non-verbal forms of communication that help to inject emotion and energy into the way you communicate. I’ll share some techniques you can use every day. They won’t only help you to come across assertively but they’ll help you to feel more confident too.
Using your eyes
You’re talking to a colleague before a meeting starts. They keep looking over your shoulder. They’re obviously not listening. In fact, you suspect they’re watching the door to see if anyone more interesting comes in.
How does this make you feel? Not good, that’s for sure. So why would someone do that?
Lack of eye contact can be due to one of two things – shyness or distraction.
In both situations it sends a negative message. Here are just some of the messages poor eye contact can convey about you:
Your eyes are the most expressive part of your face. You should use them as much as possible. They have the ability to convey emotions such as interest, concern, warmth and credibility. Imagine talking to someone wearing sunglasses. It’s much harder to read their feelings when you can’t see their eyes.
If you find your eyes wandering, pay attention to how you are feeling. Focus your attention on the present moment. Don’t be tempted to let your mind wander or your eyes roam the room. Your aim is to make the person think you are only interested in them. You want them to think they’re the most important person in the room.
Try to make bold eye contact but be careful not to stare the person out! Try to look colleagues in the eye while they’re speaking but while you’re speaking, it’s natural to look away on occasions; people expect this while you’re thinking about what you’re saying. If you’re talking at a meeting, try to give an equal amount of eye contact to each person.
I rarely meet people who are naturally good at using eye contact effectively. The majority have to work hard at it to get it right. It’s worth it though; once you’ve cracked it, you’ll see a huge difference in the way people respond to you.
Remember that good eye contact tells the person you’re aware, you care and you’re in control. It says you’re assertive too because you’re listening.
How to use your hands to reinforce your message
Your new role will probably involve attending meetings, perhaps even giving presentations. In these situations you’ll want to be as engaging as possible. Using your hands can really help.
Some people think the best thing to do with your hands while you’re talking is to keep them by your side or hide them because otherwise they’ll be a distraction. This is madness. Your hands should act as a support to what you say. If you use them well, they can help you to reinforce your point. They’ll make you look more interesting too.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your hands will distract people. I very rarely meet people who are too demonstrative with their hand movements. The vast majority don’t use their hands enough.
The trick is to try to relax. The natural action is for your hands to move as you talk. This is why really confident people often look relaxed – their hands move naturally and in a coordinated way with their voice.
It’s helpful to have a resting position for your hands when you’re not using them. Otherwise, you may look as though you don’t know what to do with them.
Here are some of the things to watch out for when using your hands:
Don’t point at people.
Don’t fold your arms. This could be seen as defensive.
Don’t tap on surfaces with your fingers.
Don’t fidget, wring your hands or touch your face or neck. This can suggest you’re feeling nervous or insecure; just as children often scratch their leg when telling a lie, adults scratch the back of their head, rub their arm or fiddle with their fingers when they’re nervous.
Eliminating distracting habits
Picture Barack Obama walking into a room. He walks in slowly and calmly. He takes a look around the room before he starts to speak. He’s composed and in control. He exudes confidence. You want to listen to him.
Now imagine him walking into the room quickly. His head is bobbing, he’s fidgeting with his shirt. He starts to talk. He looks restless and anxious. You start to think he’s unsure of his message.
It’s the same person with the same message but because of the way he uses his body language, your desire to listen to him has changed.
Really assertive people tend to have an element of composure and stillness about them. They are aware of any distracting habits they possess and keep them under control.
The first step to eliminating any distracting habits is awareness. You need to know how you look and sound to other people when you’re talking. If you’re not sure if you have any distracting habits, ask friends or colleagues you know well and film yourself while you’re speaking at meetings or giving a presentation.
Once you’re conscious of them, you can prepare yourself mentally to keep any distracting habits in check.
Smiling makes a massive difference (even a fake one)
A simple smile is a powerful cue that transmits friendliness, approachability and confidence.
By smiling you also exude warmth and positivity. Be conscious of this when you start your new role. It’s worth making an effort to smile. You’ll find that people will ‘warm’ to you more quickly. They’re more likely to want to talk to you and listen to what you have to say.
Studies have proved that you get the same positive benefits when you actually force yourself to smile as you do when you smile naturally. That’s because your brain can’t tell the difference between a posed smile and a genuine smile.
Smiling can also stop stress from increasing. The act of smiling starts a chain reaction; it causes your brain to stimulate your body to release endorphins and serotonin. These help to combat feelings of stress and make you feel calmer and more in control. One obvious sign of this can be a reduction in your pulse rate. Try taking your pulse before and after smiling for a few moments and you’ll see what I mean.
Most people instinctively react to seeing a smile by smiling themselves. Watch people interacting and you’ll see this happening. Feeling good is infectious.
How often do you smile? The next time you’re having a conversation, try to consciously monitor how often you naturally smile.
Using your facial expressions to be expressive
Your facial expressions can convey a whole host of messages to people about your emotions, your feelings, your confidence levels and your interpretation of their message. Depending on their natural communication style, positive facial expressions come more naturally to some people than others.
High animated style scorers tend naturally to be very expressive and open in their facial expressions. Whereas high methodical scorers tend to be less expressive and more ‘private’. Methodical people don’t give much away at all in terms of what they’re thinking or how they’re feeling.
The human face is incredibly expressive. It can communicate countless emotions without even saying a word. Unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and dislike are the same across cultures.
Try thinking for a moment about how much a person can convey with just a facial expression. For instance, a frown can signal dislike or confusion, whereas a smile can indicate approval or understanding. And don’t forget of course that sometimes your facial expressions can reveal your true feelings about something without you realising. During a meeting, you might say you’re happy and you understand what to do, but the look on your face may tell people otherwise.
Try watching people you know who are good at speaking in public. Look carefully at their facial expressions. Simple actions like a raised eyebrow, a smile or just a sideways glance can make a huge difference to the message they want to send out.
Using your face to its maximum advantage is an essential part of making you look and feel more confident. It can really help with being assertive too. Using your facial expressions effectively helps you to clarify your message and communicate your emotion.
Start practising straightaway. The next time you speak to someone face to face, consciously think about your facial expression. Ask yourself… am I sending out the right messages? In other words, is my expression changing during the conversation? Is it reflecting how I’m truly feeling? Is it helping me to look positive? Is it helping me with being assertive?
Using your voice to be engaging
I have a good friend who loves fishing. A little while ago he went on holiday to Florida. Shortly after he got back, we met up and he told me about the huge Marlin he’d caught. I like fishing too and although I was interested in his experience, I found my mind wandering. I had to really concentrate to stay focused and listen to him.
Later that evening, I was thinking about his story but I couldn’t remember any precise detail. I realised it was because of the way he recounted it. Although it was the highlight of his holiday, he explained it in a way that made it sound like a regular everyday event. Why was that? The reason was simply that he didn’t use any intonation in his voice. He made it sound dead boring.
By varying the intonation of your voice you really can make what you’re saying sound a whole lot more exciting.
You’ve probably heard people who speak with little or no intonation in their voice; they speak in a monotone way. How would you describe these people? You’d probably use words like ‘boring’, ‘disinterested’, ‘de-motivated’ or ‘shy’ to describe them. So speaking in a monotone way could have a direct link to a colleague’s perception of you. It’s definitely not conducive to being assertive.
People with good intonation control the rise and fall of their voice. So try to make a conscious effort to modulate your tone. Varying your tone should help you to sound more enthusiastic too. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you sound enthusiastic, there’s much more chance your colleagues will feel enthusiastic about you. This makes being assertive a whole lot easier.
Try recording yourself. Say the same sentence but vary your voice each time. Try a different speed, pitch and volume. See what a difference it makes.
Using silence to help you come across assertively
Do you hate silences in conversations? Do they make you feel awkward and embarrassed? Do you feel the onus is always on you to say something?
It sounds odd to say but using silences in your speech can actually help you to come across more assertively; if people are expecting you to say something and yet they see that you seem comfortable with the silence, you’ll look more confident and in control. I’m not talking about minutes of silence here, just a few seconds.
Don’t fall into the trap of filling the silence with noise. A lot of people feel so uncomfortable with the silences in a conversation that they fill them by saying something completely unnecessary or meaningless. Or, they fill the silence by saying ummm…
Use the silence to do one of several things:
If you’re in a meeting or giving a presentation, look at your notes and check what you’re going to say next.
Make eye contact. Look at the audience or the person you are talking to.
Breathe. Take a good deep breath to give your voice some power and control.
Taking good breaths while you’re speaking is vital to coming across assertively. Most people think the reason your voice sounds juddery when you’re nervous is just to do with how you’re feeling. What they don’t realise is that actually nervousness in your voice comes as a direct result of you not getting enough air in your lungs. So take the opportunity to get a good breath during silences in the conversation. Your voice will sound a lot stronger if you’re not snatching for breaths.
Being Assertive At Work – A Handy Checklist
As you use the skills you’ve learnt in this Guide your confidence will steadily grow. You’ll start to see the impact this has on the way you communicate and your ability to be assertive in your new role. People will notice you, listen to you and respect your opinion. In short, you’ll have influence.
You can download this handy checklist to help you keep on track over the next few weeks. Reflect on these points regularly and practise what you’ve learnt. If things don’t go according to plan, keep trying.
I’ve never met anyone with a natural gift at being assertive. It can be challenging, more for some people than others.
The truth is that assertiveness is definitely a skill you can learn.
Being assertive at work means practising whenever you get the chance. Don’t just wait for opportunities to come along. Actively seek out chances to try out the assertiveness skills I’ve introduced you to. You can’t become more assertive by sitting back and hoping for the best.
Right now, you’re crouching at the start waiting for the starter’s gun. The gun goes off the minute you walk through the door and start your new job.
The hurdles on the track take the form of the assertiveness challenges you’ll be facing in your new role; the challenges you’ll come up against when you need to communicate with confidence and be assertive with people.
You know the technique to jump each hurdle (complete each challenge); you’ve learnt it in this Guide. Now all you have to do is commit yourself. Positive thinking will help you with this. The hurdles look high, the challenges may well test you. Trying to stay positive will help you to overcome any feelings of self-doubt.
You’ll need momentum too. You don’t want to be coming to a juddering halt between hurdles. If you stop running, imagine how difficult it will be to get going again and to take the next hurdle; your next challenge.
If you clip a hurdle, maybe even knock one over, don’t keep looking back. Think about why you hit it. Learn from your mistake. Then adapt your technique for the next one. Eventually you’ll complete every hurdle.
Try to learn from your colleagues too, particularly those who are good at what they do. Study assertive people; watch how they jump hurdles. Try to work out what they’re doing, then copy it.
This is how to be assertive and get people to listen to you. You have a plan. Now practise, practise, practise. Very soon you will be able to tackle any situation that requires self-confidence and assertive communication.