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How to Speak More Assertively as a Designer

How to Speak More Assertively as a Designer

Christina Macres

If you deal with daily meetings and interactions with clients, you know just how important it is to speak assertively and get heard. But what exactly does “assertively” mean and how do you speak your mind without coming across as rude? These are important questions, as communicating effectively — not to mention politely — is pivotal to your professional success. After all, conveying your creative ideas is the most important part of your job. The last thing you want to do is alienate coworkers and clients! with in-your-face boldness. As Don Draper once said,

Does Your Self-Esteem Need a Makeover?

1. Pool party! How do you feel? :

Excited to check out hot bods
Freaked out
That's my worst nightmare

“…Keep it up, and even if you do get my job, you’ll never run this place. You’ll die in that corner office, a mid-level executive with a little bit of hair who women go home with out of pity. Want to know why? Cause no one will like you.”

And Draper’s advice is spot on; no one responds well to a bossy designer and being rude is definitely not the way to win a promotion or respect. How? We suggest focusing on confidence instead of assertiveness. You’ll find that a confidently presented idea or viewpoint will get you far and will garner you more respect in the long run.

Show Confidence

The best solutions come out of problems. Say your dealing with a particularity problematic client, who disagrees with your design plan. Show confidence in yourself and your ideas. Confirm this confidence by facing you client when speaking and, while it’s perfectly fine to refer to notes, the majority of a conversation or presentation should be spent making eye contact – both when you are speaking and (even more importantly) while you’re listening.

Exhibit Leadership Qualities

Part of speaking in an assertive manner is demonstrating leadership skills. When you are assertive in a conversation, you are leading that conversation. But don’t use this as a time to be condensing. Steer clear of using big words in an effort to deliberately impress people.Think about your approach, delivery, and what you want as a result of your conversation.

Next: Be Specific and Clear →

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