Assertiveness Training Part Two

Your DGB for today is to practice a few verbal skills to help you assert yourself.

This is the second installment in Grabs on assertiveness for people who identify as women. If you are a person who identifies as a man, go buy this shirt instead. If you missed yesterday’s Grab, start here.

Today, we add a few speaking techniques to your arsenal. Many of us replay interactions in our minds after the fact, imagining all the things we could have said to stand up for ourselves. Practice these two simple phrases in your daily life and you’ll be more likely to be blunt on your feet next time.


Say “No”

And do it without a qualifier. Don’t say “no, but…” or “not really” or “maybe.” Simply say “no.” It’s a powerful word when said alone and it may make you uncomfortable at first. The following everyday queries are great opportunities to use “no.”:

Someone asking to take you out for a meal/coffee/drinks

Advances from a mall kiosk employee

Upsells from servers or retailers


Say “Thank you”

Take credit for your worth. When someone compliments you, say “thank you.” Don’t say “thank you, but (so and so) helped” or “oh, it wasn’t a big deal.” Don’t diminish your value by lessening your accomplishments. Own that brilliance.


Stop saying “Sorry”

We aren’t asking you to remove this word from your vocabulary. If you truly did something wrong, by all means, let the “sorry”s flow freely, but we want you to stop saying sorry for things that aren’t your fault. Don’t say it when you’re in a meeting and you need to insert your opinion. Here is a great article on how one woman broke her “sorry” habit.

Now, between yesterday’s exercise and today’s verbal assignment, you’re basically Elizabeth Warren with a microphone. Congratulations!