Five tricky communication styles and how to handle them assertively

One issue that many women struggle with is assertiveness. This can make communication tricky at times, especially when dealing with tricky people.

If you newly mastering assertiveness skills, these people can derail you, and you can find yourself capitulating and failing to express your point or get your needs met.

To help you, we help you identify five tricky communication styles and share tips on how to deal with them when you wish to be assertive.

1) Open and chatty 

Open and chatty people like to control the narrative and be the centre of attention. They can be thin-skinned and have a need to be liked. They may use humour to deflect or minimise your assertion to make themselves feel better. 

How to handle open and chatty people

When communicating with someone who is open and chatty, be brief and don’t be too critical. Be aware that they may attempt to deflect your assertions using humour. Don’t let them monopolise the conversation, and be the one to initiate the end of the conversation. You may need to interrupt them to do so. 

2) Precise and detailed

Precise and detailed people can get bogged down in minor details. They like to stick to topics they know about, and will try to impress you with their knowledge. 

How to handle precise and detailed people

Precise and detailed people may see your assertion as an attack or criticism. They may tie you up in debating small, irrelevant details and overlook the main point. Keep your assertion brief and limited to one point. Continually restate your main point to bring them back to it, if you need. 

3) Competitive and to the point

People who are competitive and to the point see interaction as a challenge they need to win. They will often use quick wit and have no patience for small talk. Their direct approach means people often think they are rude or insensitive. 

How to handle competitive and to the point people

Competitive and to the point people will see your assertion as something they must win. They love to argue and will pick on your weaknesses; they may even put you down. Try not to react to them. Just accept this is their way of dealing with your assertion. 

4) Negative and critical

Negative and critical people are impossible to please. They will focus on anything negative (or find something negative in everything) and take issue with how things are done. They are critical of others and themselves. They will talk about what others have done to them and how hard life is for them. 

How to handle negative and critical people

Be aware that negative and critical people have a black and white viewpoint, so they will see your assertion as all good or all bad. They will overlook the positive and focus on anything negative and, as a defence of their fragile ego, they will pick out your faults. They will ruminate over anything you say, so be brief and don’t dwell on what they may have done wrong. 

5) Considerate and selfless

Considerate and selfless are listeners and can seem reserved and quiet at first. They are sensitive to others and can take offence easily. They rarely express their opinions as they don’t want to hurt or offend others. They shy away from confrontation, but when they trust you are very loyal.

How to handle considerate and selfless people

Remember that considerate and selfless people are very sensitive when you assert yourself, so don’t be too forceful. They will need more time to think about what you say, and more encouragement to voice their thoughts and opinions. Don’t interrupt them. Instead, state what you want, and then pause and let them respond.

Want to improve your assertiveness skills?

Do you need to improve your assertiveness skills? If so, we recommend taking our Assertiveness Masterclass. Here’s what we cover in the class: 

  • The three main communication styles and how to recognise them in yourself and others
  • The ABC framework and how use it to understand and control your communication triggers and responses
  • The underpinning beliefs of assertiveness and how to start applying them to yourself and others
  • The seven common fears that hold us back and limit our confidence
  • 10 assertiveness strategies you can start using straight away to better advocate for yourself and others
  • A powerful exercise to help you implement what you have learned and start putting it into practice

The class is available right now, and you get lifetime access to all resources included:

  • The Assertiveness Masterclass video
  • Our assertiveness worksheet
  • A copy of the class slides
  • An ebook of the class

If you follow the exercise in the Assertiveness Masterclass, it could change your life – improving your relationships and enabling you to get more of what you want and need, including money. 

You can get immediate access to the class and all resources here now.