How to be more assertive at work

Do you ever worry that you’re not being taken seriously at work? If you doubt yourself, then this can come across in the way you speak and present yourself. The key to being heard and taken seriously is assertiveness.

What is assertiveness?

Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself confidently with respect and consideration for others in the conversation. In an attempt to avoid being passive, people often mistake assertiveness with aggression, but this is not what being assertive is about. Being the loudest person in the room does not make you the most assertive.

How to be more assertive

At a very young age I found myself as one of the only women on a board for one of the world’s largest logistics mergers. This was pretty intimidating and it could have been so easy to convince myself that I wasn’t qualified to be there. But I was, and I needed to show that. The following tips helped me maintain my assertiveness in this situation.

Come prepared

The best way to speak with authority on a topic is to make yourself an authority. Learning and preparing as much as you can will help you speak and act with assertiveness. This may involve preparing for a big meeting or generally learning as much as you can about your industry.

Don’t rush in

If someone asks you a question or comes to you for your opinion, it can be easy to panic and rush in with an answer, any answer. It is better to take a deep breath and really consider what you’re going to say before you say it.


Being assertive is not just about what you say and how you say it. In order to respect others in the conversation, it is important to listen to them and understand their opinion without interrupting them or responding in a rude manner, even if you disagree with them.

Could you be more assertive at work? I provide coaching tailored specifically toward assertiveness and confidence in the workplace. Get in touch if you are interested.