Every day, real estate agents are called upon by their prospects and clients to communicate their opinions and thoughts about every aspect of buying or selling a home. The more confidently, clearly and self assuredly an agent can express themselves about what they know, how they know it and what they think, the better for everyone involved. Why? Because in the biggest investment of their lives (for most), they need someone who can truly lead; not a bulldog that runs over them or a wallflower who withers under pressure.

Being assertive while negotiating for and with clients and colleagues is particularly helpful. Knowing how to speak your mind directly to your client and on behalf of your client without enabling your client or the other buyer’s/seller’s agent to walk all over you, without becoming defensive or angry if someone involved is “difficult” or disagreeable, and without feeling like there’s no way for the deal to go forward is, in fact, a priceless skill for a real estate agent to have.

Being assertive is a two way street in terms of communicating thoughts, emotions and opinions confidently and clearly with others.  You express your thoughts, emotions, opinions clearly and confidently to others and you invite others to do exactly the same with you.  No need for anyone to be aggressive, angry, passive or silent about what they think or feel and no need to cut off anyone else about how they think and feel.  Being assertive is being able to celebrate your own and each other’s uniqueness.

Being assertive is not something most of us were taught as children.  On the contrary, most of us were taught to be passive, to not upset the apple cart, to not be disrespectful, to just fit in. Or we were taught to be aggressive by ignoring others, by demanding instead of asking, by blowing up if we didn’t get “our way.”  As it turns out, however, being assertive is the balance between being aggressive and passive…being assertive encourages two way communication and exchange, the sharing of opinions and thoughts and the appreciation of others as equals.  And it turns out that being assertive is a valuable skill to have.

Forbes Magazine tells us that leaders who are perceived as being assertive are vital to and for organizations.  Because they are able and feel they have a right to express themselves, they encourage others to do the same.  Because assertive individuals  express themselves without hurting or blaming anyone else, they encourage others to do the same.  And because they communicate and take responsibility for their own opinions and thoughts, they encourage other to do the same.  Assertive individuals help promote cooperation, support for with their partners and co-workers and essentially project effective management processes as well as positive, healthy interpersonal relationships.

Being assertive is something we can all learn how to do.  Here are a few tips that may help build those assertiveness skills.

  1.  Know your value as a person.  Your opinions, thoughts and feelings are just as valuable, just as legitimate as are others.  Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior or “less than.”
  2. Become independent.  Know your own needs and wants and address them.  Put yourself into action rather than waiting for someone else to do what you need or want for you.  And remember that other people have their own needs and wants…do not undermine them when attempting to achieve your own goals.
  3. Recognize that you have no control of other people’s responses.  As long as you’re not violating someone else’s rights or feelings, their responses are not your responsibility.
  4. Express and accept criticisms.  Your own and others’ mistakes and criticisms are useful feedback for improvement and development
  5. Saying “no” when a co-worker’s or partner’s demands are out of alignment with your principles is okay.  Along with saying “no,” learn to find alternatives to solve the problem so everyone can meet half way and experience a win-win situation.