giving reasons

Identify your communication style through this personal inventory in order to start communicating assertively.

Now you can see the importance of being assertive as well as avoiding aggression and deference. A main reason for this is that the assertive communication style is key in bullying prevention. Now take a minute to think: Are you really aware of your own communication style? It’s easy to point out aggressive and deferring communication styles in others but most people don’t realize that they themselves exhibit these same faults.

In this post, we will take a good look at your behavior to determine your communication style. Only then can you take the first steps toward correcting it. Here are the five topics we’ll discuss:

  1. Assessing Your Problems
  2. Identifying Your Communication Style
  3. Learning Behaviors of Assertion
  4. Setting Goals
  5. Knowing Your Rights

Let’s take a look at your personal inventory to figure out your communication style.

Assessing your problems

A person with an aggressive communication style behaves very differently than a person with a deferring communication style. But the one thing they have in common is the mountain of problems they both face on a daily basis. You may not notice that you have a deferring or an aggressive communication style, but you’ll notice the problems you face as a result of it. Take some time to think about the problems in your life and think about whether or not they could be related to your communication style.

Identifying your communication style

Have you ever experienced the embarrassment of wearing your shirt backwards? You probably didn’t realize it was on backwards, so you walked around like that for hours until someone finally told you. It was easy for anyone who looked at you to see that your shirt was on backwards, but unless you took a look in the mirror, you couldn’t see it for yourself. The same is true of becoming aware of your communication style. Someone either has to tell you that you use a certain communication style, or you have to take a good long look at your behavior with a critical eye.

Take a look at the following phrases that people with each communication style tend to say. Think about which one sounds like you the most. The one that you relate to the most is probably your communication style.


  •         “Let’s talk this over.”
  •         “I choose to…”
  •         “Are there any other ways to do this?”
  •         “Let’s find a way…”


  •         “I wish…”
  •         “If only…”
  •         “I never…”
  •         “I’m sorry about this, but…”


  •        “You have to…”
  •         “You always…”
  •         “I want you to . . .”

people writing

Learning behaviors of assertion

Everyone benefits from an assertive communication style. Everyone gets along better, problems are solved and work gets done more efficiently. People behaving assertively have good relationships because they say exactly what they want to say. They also improve their relationships with one another because they can state their needs clearly while still maintaining respect for each other.

woman working

Setting goals

Now that you have taken the personal inventory and you know how someone with an assertive communication style should behave, you can start to set goals for yourself to become more assertive. Think back to the problems you face on a daily basis as a result of your deferring or aggressive communication style. A good place to start would be to make goals that will result in you overcoming those problems. These goals should be within your reach, but also challenging enough that you grow and learn from them.

people working together

Knowing your rights

Often people with deferring or aggressive communication styles have a poor understanding of their rights or the rights of others. Deferring people may not feel their rights are as important as those of others. Meanwhile, aggressive people probably feel that they are more deserving of their rights than other people. In order to change your communication style to be more assertive, you must first know your basic rights. These include the right to:

  1. Ask for what you want.
  2. Have an opinion, feelings and emotions.
  3. Have intuitive ideas and make comments.
  4. Make your own decisions and to cope with the consequences.
  5. Choose whether or not to get involved in the problems of someone else.
  6. Make mistakes.
  7. Be successful.
  8. Change your mind.
  9. Privacy.
  10. Be alone and independent.

We hope you enjoyed this personal inventory, part of our Interpersonal Assertion and Bullying Prevention blog series. If you would like to see how we can help assess and teach critical skills for bullying prevention, click the free trial link below.