Women who are assertive are sometimes accused of being aggressive. So we may feel pressure to back down or “people-please” instead of saying what’s on our mind. When the issue is important, here are some ways of pressing on, no matter what. Heed Alan Allard’s suggestions.
Stand your ground. If someone tries to manipulate or intimidate you, don’t let them. Keep focused on your goal and take the next right action.
Don’t ask permission. If your idea is a good one, don’t feel you need the approval of others to pitch it. Voice your opinions and present them confidently. Your insights are just as valuable as anyone else’s.
Get others on your side. Speak in a way that will encourage others to support you. Make it clear how your idea will benefit the team, as well as the larger goals of the organization.
Don’t take it personally. If someone is arguing against what you’ve presented, realize he has his own priorities and agenda. It’s not you he is rejecting; it’s just this particular suggestion or request. Continue the conversation as respectfully as possible.
Have confidence. Believe in the merit of your idea. If you don’t, how can you expect others to? Your enthusiasm could be the tipping point that helps others shift how they view your suggestion.
Listen and ask questions. When you encounter resistance from others, give them space to voice their point of view. Listening shows respect, even if you don’t agree with what the person is saying.
Agree with what you can. Even if it’s about a small matter, doing this will make it easier for the other person to find areas of consensus with you. Tell them when you think they have a valid point and you will find most people returning the favor.
Stop being a “peacekeeper.” It may seem like going along with what your supervisor or co-workers suggest is the best way to avoid office drama. But failing to assert your own ideas and suppressing your needs leads to resentment and damages your relationships.
When the timing isn’t right. Timing is everything. If you sense the other person is restless, preoccupied or stressed emotionally, back down for the moment and come back to it later.
When they are clearly not being reasonable. You can’t influence someone who is determined not to change their mind. Perhaps you can bring someone else into the conversation who has influence with the person and can help advocate for your position.
When it will cost you more than it is worth. Evaluate the benefit of getting the agreement you want; if it doesn’t outweigh what you might have to pay to get it, walk away.