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Yep! Some people are difficult to get along with. And it’s nerve-wreaking to try to communicate with them.

To mentally prepare for anything, you have to know what you’re preparing for. Most conversations are the result of something that has happened or needs to happen. Use this information to guide your thinking about the conversation. Remember, too, that you will likely be somewhat familiar with the background and communication style of the person involved in your conversation.

This knowledge makes preparation easier because, like football players who study videos of their opponents to develop strategies, you, too, will know what you can expect in terms of the person’s communication style.

I am not encouraging you to enter the conversation with preconceived notions about the person or what they will say. That is dangerous. Football players don’t review videos to make assumptions about the opposing team. They review videos to understand how the team thinks, operates, and performs. They use this information to devise their mental, emotional, and physical strategy to outplay their opponent.

By preparing in a similar manner for your conversations—taking time to con- sider the other person’s communication style, perspective, and possible expectations—you’ll prepare yourself to have the insight and stamina to be an assertive listener. Being an assertive listener means entering the conversation as the recipient. You are there to hear what is being said and to listen for what the speaker really wants and needs from you.

Always remember this: It may seem as though you’re in the position of power when you are talking, but that’s not true. You are in the position of power when you are listening. Listening is learning. When you are learning, you are adding to what you know about how the person thinks and feels and what that person wants to happen. When you are talking, you’re providing that information to them.

Click the link to get your copy. 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want.  

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith, For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.


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Chances are, you’ve seen, heard, and experienced all these styles in your interactions with others. Your usual style will likely fall into one of these categories, though it may change depending upon the situation.

Where do you fit?

Passive communicators have an established pattern of deliberately avoiding conflict by withholding their opinions, feelings, and ideas from others. Because they fail to set well-de ned boundaries, their rights are often violated. Passive communicators feel fearful, helpless, and invisible because they ignore their own needs while giving others permission to impose their will on them.

Aggressive communicators can appear to others as selfish, immature, and impulsive. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they may attack and blame others for the situation. They tend to have a low threshold for listening, triggering repeated interruptions while others are talking.

Passive-aggressive communicators are a combination of the passive communicator, who refuses to address problems, and the aggressive communicator, who lashes out. The difference between the aggressive communicator and the passive-aggressive communicator is that the passive-aggressive communicator’s behavior is unexpected. They appear to be cooperative, but their real agenda is vastly different.

Assertive communicators consciously enter into an unspoken agreement for the purpose of exchanging opinions, thoughts, feelings, and ideas. This joint agreement comes with an understanding that there are indisputable rights and privileges for the individuals who decide to participate in conversation.

These rights and privileges establish a collaborative expectation that sets the stage for a meaningful and successful exchange. This does not mean that every exchange will end in harmony. Most often the target is agreement, but the key is to maintain the overall health of the relationship even if the conversation begins to get chaotic and ends in disagreement.

Do you want to improve your relationships, position yourself for a promotion or speak up for yourself?

Click the link to get your copy. 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want.  

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith, For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.


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IT HAPPENED AGAIN. You wanted to stand up for yourself but didn’t. You had rehearsed your response and knew exactly what you were going to say. You even knew how you were going to say it. But when the time came, your heart started beating rapidly, your hands got clammy, and when you tried to speak, you couldn’t form the words.

I’m S. Renee, and for years, I quietly existed in that frustrating world, a world where I felt dishonored and often disrespected, but mostly invisible. After developing invaluable communication tools, techniques, and clear strategies, I became con dent and competent in my communication skills and how to use them. The impact of changing how I communicate has been so rewarding that I developed a passion for helping others do the same.

Since 2005, as a self-esteem, branding, and communication expert and coach, I have helped hundreds of thousands of people stand in their power and speak up for themselves in the classroom, boardroom, dining room, bedroom, and elsewhere.

I teach my communication method at colleges and universities, corporations, state and government agencies, and nonpro ts. Through presentations and coach- ing people of various ages, walks of life, and income levels, I have helped others gain assurance in the value of what they have to say and gain the con dence to say it.

Assertive communication isn’t just about standing up for yourself. Nor is it solely about overcoming the hesitation to share your ideas for fear of rejection. It isn’t even limited to learning how to muster up the courage to be honest with your spouse, family, or friends. Assertive communication is learning how to say what you want to say in a way that evokes a desire in another person to want to listen to you. It’s about being viewed as credible by your family, friends, teammates, colleagues, boss, and anyone else whose attention you are trying to get.

Here are the five steps outlined in my new book, 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate With Confidence and Get What You You. It is already  bestseller on Kindle.

1.  Know Your Starting Point. Know exactly where you are in the communication experience and identify your specific communication style.

2. Listen Assertively. Listen to what is being said without filters.

3. Communicate Without Words. Effectively use your body language.

4. Speak Up. Say what you want to say in a way that it will be heard.

5. Face Feedback. Courageously face what others have to say. Some of the information received will be helpful while other will be worthless.

5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want.  Click the link to get your copy.

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith, For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.


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Becoming aware of yourself, your internal barriers, and what triggers them changes your view of the world and the world’s view of you. The reason is this: If an external event bothers you, it’s caused by your internal interpretation of the event.

When you look to and within yourself first for understanding of what’s driving you to think and feel the way you do, you grow in your understanding of yourself and become more likable because you feel freer to be yourself and others feel free to be themselves around you.

Have you ever been around a person who wants to control everything? What does it feel like? Suffocating? Uncomfortable? Unless you’ve become highly skilled at dealing with people and their issues and situations, you can feel that person’s emotions and they can impact your emotional state.

We take a look at your internal barriers, which keep you from being your authentic self, and your perception of the people whose emotions you take on as a result of being around them.

Have you ever been around a person who is miserable? Did you start your day feeling great, but feel miserable after spending time with that person? Have you ever wondered, “How did I go from feeling happy to feeling awful?”

Consider the following possibilities:

1. I hold the person in high regard, and this is my way of respecting him.

2. I want to be liked by this person, and this is my way of getting him to accept me.

3. The person is in a position of authority, and I think this is the response he expects from me.

Taking on negative emotions isn’t the best way to show your loyalty and respect toward a person. When you learn to stand in your own power, you understand the importance of setting and living according to your own emotional state.

This is an excerpt from the book Self-Esteem for Dummies. For my free 90-minute audio course sign up here, How to Create Buzz and Grow Your Life and Business. 

Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. S. Renee Smith

Communicate to Make People Feel Like They Matter

We live in a world driven by time lines, goals, expectations, and responsibilities. Nearly everyone is faced with the question “How do I manage, prioritize, and balance my life?” Stress is among the ill effects of a hurried society. In addition to wrecking your health, stress dilutes the quality of your communication experiences.

Time to communicate and connect is short, and you are often given short answers to complex problems. Meetings are filled with multitaskers who respond to email alerts while a colleague is presenting an idea. Relationships are plagued with silence while cyber games and Facebook feeds garner their mates’ attention.

Regardless of your schedule, when you fail to be fully present and only passively listen to a colleague, client, or family member, you disregard another human being. By making a task more important than a human being, you diminish your connection and ability to maximize your own performance by failing to create an amicable relationship with the person, whom you may need in the future.

Oprah Winfrey said, “People want to know: Do you hear me? Do you see me? Does what I say mean anything to you?” When you say yes to these questions and act on your yes, you validate a person’s existence, feelings, and opinions. When a person is speaking, it is imperative that they know that you are with them and that you compassionately understand what they are saying, even if you don’t agree with them.

The following four actions will improve your assertive listening and inter- personal relationship skills.

1. Ask “Is there anything else?” Listen until the person has completed their thoughts.

2. Ask Clarifying Questions Ask clarifying questions to solidify your understanding of what the person is saying. You can say, “For clarity, can you elaborate on what you meant by . . .” or “Help me to understand what you mean by . . .”

3. Validate the Speaker’s Feelings and Opinions Put the person at ease by validating that you understand what the person is feeling. Use compassionate statements like, “I can understand why you feel that way . . .” or “I can see how that could make you feel . . .” or “Under the circumstances, I see why you would think that . . .”

This is an excerpt from my book, 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want.  Click the link to order now.

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith, For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.


Convert Anxiety to Empowerment Using Assertiveness for Weaponry During War

Not knowing how to act in a certain situation, and not knowing what the likely outcome will be as a result can certainly cause you to feel anxious. For instance, you head to your boss’ office for your yearly performance review, and you feel a knot forming in your stomach. Or you are having a discussion at a family dinner, the conversation turns contentious, and you become tongue-tied. Or you walk onstage to give a speech and your heart starts uttering and your hands get clammy.

We all have moments when we worry about the outcome of an event. It is unsettling when you’re uncertain about the future, or when a negative situation escalates. Whether the threat is a failed performance, a tongue-lashing, or a fault- nding critique, the anxiety exists because you believe that danger is lurking, which makes you feel unsafe and in need of protection. This feeling of helplessness may cause you to want to escape rather than boldly face the challenge. This reaction is disempowering.

Disempowerment is a result of you telling yourself that you are not equipped to properly handle the situation. You need to assert to yourself that you are the authority over your life. When you practice being assertive, you begin to expect your rights in the communication agreement to be honored.

Maybe you won’t get a good performance review; that’s okay, because you will assertively state your position to your boss, and you will leave the review with the feeling of being heard. Not every person you interact with will like or understand you. In fact, you may have to get up from the dinner table to opt out of taking part in a heated debate. But know this: Empowering yourself with assertive communication skills assures you that you have the capacity to courageously face any challenge with clarity and determination, thereby reducing the anxiety that arises from uncertainty.

5 Steps to Assertiveness

1. Know Your Starting Point: You have to know where you stand in the communication experience. Do you speak up for yourself? Do you often walk away from conversations wishing for what you would have liked to have happened?

2. Listen Assertively. Listen to what’s being said without judging it and funneling it through your issues.

3. Communicate Assertively Without Words. Body language is a very effective resource so use it.

4. Speak Up. Say what you want to say in a way that honors and respects yourself and others.

5. Face Feedback. You can’t critique yourself so let others help you get to where you want to go.

This is an excerpt from my book, 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want.  Click the link to order now.

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith, For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.


Pick Me! Why Do People Overlook You and How to Get Noticed

Juan sat on the edge of his seat at the conference table. The manager’s eyes scanned the room as she determined which of the technicians she’d choose to head up the team at the new building. Juan was screaming inside—“Pick me! I’m the best choice for this assignment!”—but he kept his eyes fixed to the folder on the table in front of him. When the manager called on the guy next to him, Juan slumped back in his chair. He was overlooked—again. It was as if he wasn’t even there.

Like Juan, do you wish your boss would take notice of you and respect you for what you can accomplish and what you have accomplished? It feels good to have the respect of others. Respect means being appreciated for who you are, what you do, and how you do it. It means being spoken to in a way that honors you. But how do you get to a place where people look at you with admiration and turn to you for knowledge and insight? You guessed it: assertive communication.

In addition to my work as a life and business coach, I’m also a branding expert. I help people build and protect their reputations. One of the pillars of my model is crafting and communicating a message that triggers a response from one’s audience. Assertive communication leads to success, and success garners respect from others. As you learn to confidently communicate with purpose and clarity, you’ll notice that people will pause to hear what you have to say. As more people listen, the greater the buzz will grow about how your talents, skills, and abilities can help them accomplish their goals. That’s how respectable brands are built.

By becoming an assertive communicator you learn how to speak with purpose and clarity, enabling you to successfully express yourself.

Keep the following in mind:

1. When you speak, you reveal your temperament, judgment, and understanding of people to your audience.

2. You disclose your secret beliefs about yourself and the world.

3. You draw people in or push them away.

When you communicate properly, your competency and credibility are a affirmed both by you and by others.

This is an excerpt from my book. Click the link to order now 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want. 

Copyright 2018 S. Renee Smith, For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.

What Are Some of the Common Barriers to Effective Communication?

It is my experience and opinion that there is a core barrier to communication that creates every other barrier, they are called pain spots. Pain spots are emotions that are often connected to shame, guilt or fear. When a person is unsure about another person’s intention, perception and response to them, they will conceal their feelings for fear of exposing their weaknesses and becoming too vulnerable. When this happens, an authentic conversation is impossible because the person doesn’t feel safe.

In order for communication to be effective each person engaged in the conversation has to feel safe. They have to trust that you will hear and respond to them with respect and compassion.

Here are 3 tips to help you move beyond barriers to a more effective and healthier relationship through communication:

1.  Pay Attention: listen attentively and watch carefully to how the person is communicating. This will let you know if they feel safe and how to create a safe space for them to share their feelings with you.

2. Identify and Work Toward Common Goals: Never ignore “the elephant in the room.” To pretend that something isn’t wrong when you know that it is only confirms that you and the other person have an inauthentic, unsafe relationship.

3. Trust the Process of Communication: Communication works when you are open, honest and compassionate. Most people are reasonable and will appreciate your attempt to hear and understand them. In most cases, they will mirror your sincere attempt to improve the relationship.

S. Renee is the author of 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate With Confidence and Get What You Want (Callisto Media, May 2018)

Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith.