Your assertiveness action plan. How to create it.

A great deal of assertiveness revolves around awareness and theory. At some stage you have to take that awareness and theory and put it into action. An assertiveness action plan is an excellent tool to help you do this. An assertiveness action plan helps you identify each of the difficult situations which you need to deal with and set the wheels in motion for dealing with them.

When creating your assertiveness action plan, it is important that you identify each individual issue rather than just focus on each person with whom you are having a difficult relationship. By focusing on each individual issue, you will be able to take small steps which will help you make steady progress and build your confidence as you go. If you were to jump straight in and attempt to resolve multiple issues at once, you would risk becoming overwhelmed to the extent that you might cease your attempts to be assertive.

How to create your assertiveness action plan

When creating your assertiveness action plan, I would suggest using Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets. This way you can adjust column sizes and format as you wish. You will create a form featuring six columns. The suggested titles and the reason for each column is detailed below:

1. Name of person

Who is the person whom you need to be more assertive with? Be specific about this and make sure that the person that you identify is somebody who can actually remedy the situation.

 2. The issue

If you want the other person to be able to remedy the situation, they are going to need to understand the exact nature of the issue before they can actually deal with the situation. Take the time to ensure that you fully understand the issue yourself as the chances are that if you cannot explain it simply to somebody else, then you do not really understand the issue yourself.

 3. Importance of the issue

When people understand how their behaviour has upset you, or caused you problems, they are generally more motivated to make changes, where possible. There is no need to be overly dramatic but you should take the time to explain your key feelings to the other person.

 4. Difficulty

Estimate the difficulty of dealing with each issue. This estimate will allow you to more accurately predict the amount of time and effort required to tackle the issue, and budget accordingly. Additionally, you will be in a better position to determine the order in which you approach each situation.  Some practitioners recommend working from the easiest task to the most difficult, and this is a good strategy. However, I would recommend that you keep your energy levels in mind. There will be days when you have high energy and confidence. On these days, you can bring forward a more difficult situation and aim to resolve it there and then.

 5. Target date

It is one thing to say that you are going to do something but another thing entirely to actually do it. Each of these difficult situations should be treated like a project. Set a deadline for completion and identify the necessary steps to achieve your objective. When you take this approach, you realise that you cannot achieve your objective without taking action. Set a challenging target date and remember; if you feel comfortable with the target date then you have probably pushed it too far into the future.

 6. Preparation notes

Before you tackle a specific situation, make sure that you have prepared properly for it. Click the link for some excellent tips on preparing your argument.

If you struggle with your communication, an assertiveness action plan is just one great tool for overcoming the problem. For more great strategies, check out How to talk so Others Will Listen.

Assertiveness is more than just theory. It is something which you need to practice on a daily basis. When you first determine that you are going to be more assertive; there may be a number of difficult situations which you need to tackle. An assertiveness action plan is an excellent tool for doing this. It helps you to identify each of the situations which you need to tackle and to set in motion a plan to resolve each of these situations. As you tackle each of these difficult situations, one at a time, you will grow in confidence and self belief. Follow the instructions above, put your assertiveness action plan in place, and begin to improve the quality of your life and relationships.

Image credit: Ian L