Assertiveness: Being an Effective Communicator

Effective Communication is all about assertiveness – rather than aggressiveness or submission

The first step towards becoming an effective communicator is practicing assertiveness, thus knowing how you are actually feeling. Did you know that your feelings are simply that: your feelings and nothing more? Their are neither good nor bad, nor anything else! These are just judgements that others – or even yourself – impose onto your feelings.

Photo credit: Wesley Fryer / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Wesley Fryer / Foter / CC BY-SA

Once you are aware of what you are feeling and you don’t get caught up in any judgements about them, you can begin exploring ways to deal with the situation. Assertiveness involves clear, calm thinking and respectful negotiation, where each person is entitled to their opinion. Simply say how you are feeling or seeing things by making “I statements” rather than “you” statements. There is a huge difference between saying: “you are always pushing me too hard” versus “I feel very tired because…”. The first sentence prompts your discussion partner to feel threatened, under attack, maybe even having more power than you. The second sentence simply says how you are feeling in response to something. This leaves the other person room to hear what you are saying without feeling blamed or under attack.

The most important part of effective communication is to be mindful of your own feelings, speech, thoughts as well as of the whole situation. If you are consciously cultivating this approach, you will be able to better resolve potential conflicts and greater harmony will slip itself into your discussions!

Further reading:

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Full Catastrophe Living”
  • Gregory Kramer: “Insight Dialogue”





Patience is an ever present alternative to the mind’s endemic restlessness and impatience. Scratch the surface of impatience and what you will find lying beneath it, subtly or not so subtly, is anger. It’s the strong energy of not wanting things to be the way they are and blaming someone (often yourself) or something for it. This doesn’t mean you can’t hurry when you have to. It is possible even to hurry patiently, mindfully, moving fast because you have chosen to.

Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Wherever you go there you are” found here

Teaching Mindfulness

… is like guiding people in a very humble way for a short while on their very personal journey.

20121221-222218.jpgHaving been accepted on the teacher training pathway of the Center for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University in the UK, I have now led my first face-2-face session within an 8-weeks course that I am teaching. I feel grateful and at the same time very moved about the openness and trust that the participants are showing me. Through teaching, I also deepen my own practice which of course brings me even more insights and personal growth. I am happy that I have chosen this path a couple of years ago as I feel very much centered, creative and alive!

In fact, a central aspect around mindfulness is to learn how to be more fully aware and present in each moment of life. This makes it more interesting, vivid and fulfilling. On the other hand, it also means facing what is present even when it is unpleasant or difficult.

I can now also appreciate fully, why one cannot simply read a book about mindfulness in order to teach it and why one need to practice a long time before actually being able to introduce a mindful approach into communications and leadership as well as broader diversity topics.

Let me close with a poem that I found on this wonderful site which I hope will get to you as much as it does to me:

Walk Slowly (Danna Faulds)

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn’t a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I
forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I’m going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.