Writing your thoughts down—whether in an email, a job report, or a social media post—is a great way to communicate new ideas and your distinct perspective. It takes talent, though, to express your viewpoint in a way that oozes confidence and conviction rather than self-righteousness and force.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind to help you express yourself assertively without being unpleasant or preachy.
Maintain factual and unbiased descriptions
Avoid using language that points the finger at opposing persons or ideas when presenting a circumstance as the backdrop for your opinion. Words that criticise or judge a different point of view may be interpreted as dogmatic by your audience.
Biased description: “It is entirely my manager’s fault that the client did not sign the contract.” My management took their time and didn’t approve the terms quickly enough—it’s outrageous!”
“The client did not sign the contract,” says the neutral description. There appear to be places in the approval process where we can enhance next time.”
Avoid absolute assertions that imply yours is the sole correct one. In addition to writing using facts and impartial language, adding qualifiers reduces the strength of your opinion. The use of the qualifier “seems” opens up the remark to alternative interpretations of the scenario.
Own your point of view
After you’ve detailed the situation, express your view. Hold yourself accountable for your thoughts while you do so. Use terms and phrases that stress that your view is based on how the information seems to you.
Another aspect of writing assertively is taking responsibility of your words without deflection. Using “I” phrases to directly reinforce your conviction is a successful strategy.
Not owning your point of view: “The only reason the client opted out of the contract is that our review process is molasses.” It’s an embarrassment!”
Owning your point of view: “I believe we lost this client because the contract took three weeks to review and was not approved on time.” In my opinion, the lengthy turnaround looks unprofessional.”
Other phrases that illustrate your ownership include From my point of view, in my opinion, and in my experience. Language like this admits that the message you’re conveying is one of many possible meanings.
Please double-check your presentation
When you’ve finished expressing your point of view in writing, go back and reread it to check for overall tone. It is critical to ensure that your ideas have the confident, aggressive tone you intend so that your readers do not dismiss your opinion as preachy, unpleasant, or patronizing.
A tone detector tool like Grammarly’s tone tester can help detect your write-ups tone. It analyzes and presents the top three tones in your content as you type. It even looks for strong tones in text that you might not realize you’ve used.
With the support of the guidelines above, you may state your opinion, direct your argument, and do so in a way that encourages cooperative interaction.