My Fisher Internship Fisher College of Business Office of Career Management

My Fisher Internship
Power of Assertive Communication

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Hi Everyone,

I am in the middle point of my internship and one of the things that is most important is the power of knowing how to communicate while being confident and assertive.

 The fact that I am working in a Global team, makes it more challenging regarding communication. The interaction with people from different parts of the world and how can you make your point across its challenging but essential.

I participated in a webinar regarding the Power of Assertive Communication and the following is what I got from it:

Assertive Communication is the way of communicating respecting people and ourselves. When we don’t want to be aggressive when we try to share, ask or provide information to others but in the same time we don’t want minimize ourselves when we communicate. For instance, if someone is asking us to do something that we are not able to do for things out of our control. We need to send a clear message saying “No” but professionally.

There are three common types of ineffective communication:

  1. Passive Communication: A person who doesn’t respect themselves and let other people to take control of their own time, life, etc
  2. Passive Aggressive: An example of someone Passive Aggressive is when someone uses sarcasm to get what he/she wants.
  3. Aggressive: Someone who doesn’t respect others to get what he/she wants.

Tips to avoid failing in these common types of ineffective communication:

  • Write a Personal Mission Statement: It will help us to remind us what is important to us. Many of us grow up in a environment where we were taught to please people not matter what and make others happy. But there is a balance that we need to make sure to include in this lesson.
  • Habit Breaks:
    • Words that takes away our message:
      • “Sort of”, “Kind of”
    • Minimizers:
      • “Just”. “Little”
        • For example, have you hear people asking: “ Can I use a little bit of your time?” , this question is an indicator that its not going to take too much time but maybe the real message is “I need your help”  or when we use “ Its just a little problem”
    • Ending Statements with Question:
      • “Don’t you think?”  here is a message of trying to look for approval. However, it can be use an strategy to engage people .
    • Words to Lose:
      • “Sorry”, its good to be polite but the over use of this word can affect the messages you are trying to provide.

 Put the Subject of the Sentence First:

    • Instead of: “ I have a problem with John getting to work late”
    • Use: “ Jane comes to work late and it’s a problem”


  • How to say “No” and still come across as a team player:
    • Acknowledge the request (shows empathy)
    • Decline (clear)
    • Give a reason (brief)
    • Suggest alternatives.


“I recognize this is important and that you could use assistance. Under normal circumstances, I would stay. Today, however, I am not able to because a previous commitment and unable to break. I will definitively come tomorrow morning and make it my top priority.”

 I hope this information will help you professionally and personally. Its helping me in both aspects because as a student who was born an raised in other country, I feel investing more time trying to make sure I communicate clearly and effectively with people in my surroundings.

Have a good weekend!


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