Say Your Piece - Without Disturbing the Peace

Rabia Dhody | October 08,2010 04:00 pm IST

Do you find it hard to say "No" when asked to work late (yet again)? Do you feel pressured into taking on more work than you can handle? Is it hard for you to ask for help when you need it?

These situations, and many more like them, show why good assertiveness and negotiation skills are vital part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.


Whether you bottle-up your frustrations, and then explode, or end-up feeling like the office doormat, or have an inability to communicate openly or to find an agreeable compromise, it will be damaging your health.

One of the problems we hear about most frequently is that people feel sabotaged by the demands of others. They find it difficult to deal with these issues and stay in control of their feelings. They get very anxious about such situations and end-up feeling put upon and taken for granted. They often feel resentful and angry - which is always bad news for their health.


People do not realise that there are techniques they can learn to make these situations more successful. We are not all born assertive or natural negotiators but we can learn these skills and improve our life balance as a result.


Here are a few tips for those struggling with assertiveness or negotiation: -

1. Don't be pushed into making instant responses. You need time to think so make sure you take it.

2. If you know a particular situation is going to be difficult, prepare well. Think about what you are going to say.

3. Like all skills, these need to be practiced, so make sure you rehearse them and use them regularly.

4. Body language has a huge impact on how you are perceived. If you stand like a victim you'll end up being one. Look strong - be strong.

5. Do not rise to the bait of personal remarks - stick to the issues. If someone's behaviour crosses the line, be prepared to end the encounter. Do not stay around to be abused.

6. Listen carefully and be aware that your own biases and options will give you a tendency to pre-judge. Try to remain open-minded.

7. When using new techniques, find a form of words that works for you - adapt them to your natural style.

8. Practice difficult situations with a neutral party beforehand.

9. Know what it is that you want to get out of the situation before you begin, and then work towards that goal.

10. Believe you are worth it. If you are to negotiate successfully, you must believe you are worth the outcome you want.

11. People's beliefs are about themselves, and their rights and responsibilities are an important cornerstone.




Rabia Dhody is an MBA from University of Pune, and is currently working as Vice President in for the last 2 years. Prior to Jabong she has worked as Motricity- HR Head South Asia, HR Business Partner with Dell India and as manager with Reliance Capital - Life Insurance Division....