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How to assert yourself online

At a time where businesses are fighting to survive, assertiveness training online has become highly sought-after.

It’s something we offer here at Pink Elephant Communications.

There are a lot of areas to consider when preparing for an online meeting.

We believe the following seven tips can get you off to a solid start.

Read on.

1. Arrive on time, with equipment checked

assertiveness training online, pink elephant communications, check your equipment

Your hand is weakened immediately if you’re late.

Whatever the reason, legitimate or otherwise, you’ve wasted people’s time.

And they’re less likely to respond well to what you’re asking them for.

So make sure you’re all set up well in advance and you’ve tested your equipment.

Now you’re in the zone and ready to go.

2. Set out your agenda early

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Early in the call, let your team know the call’s purpose.

Create an agenda with timings and circulate that in advance.

Start your meeting with a simple overview:

“Today is about making sure we’re all up-to-date with new safety measures.”

“This meeting will give you an overview of the latest sales figures.”

“This morning, we want to gain your ideas on how we resume post-Covid.”

A clear focus early on allows everyone to work mentally towards that goal.

And if someone strays off-topic, remind everyone of the meeting’s purpose and bring it back on-point.

3. Write your goals down

assertiveness training online, zoom notes, pink elephant

Commit your goals to paper and lay them down in front of you.

If you’re presenting, lay out the big points as headlines.

If you’re negotiating, separate your needs (things you must get) from your wants (things you’re willing to trade to get your needs) and your likes (nice-to-haves).

By writing your goals down, you’re more likely to achieve them.

4. Control the conversation through direct answers

pink elephant, andrew mcfarlan, assertiveness training online

The simplest way to assert yourself online is to master saying ‘no’.

Of course, two things are important when saying no:

  • Your tone
  • Where you go from there

There’s a big difference between:

“No, Jim, that would be a complete waste of money.”


“No, we need to make sure we stay within the agreed budget.

“That’ll allow us to remain profitable over the next few months.”

Make sure you stay solution-focused and avoid criticising others publicly.

That’ll win you respect on the call and add to your authority within the group.

5. Use Poker Face

assertiveness training online, bill mcfarlan, zoom

The interesting thing with Zoom and Skype is that we can see your entire reaction from question to answer.

Especially if we’ve ‘pinned’ your face to the top of our screen.

And if your blood is boiling at a comment, it’ll be there for everyone to see.

So make sure you use Poker Face instead.

Keep your cool by maintaining eye contact and avoiding nodding or shaking your head.

Then you can take a second and calmly respond to the point.

6. Ask for a confirmation of understanding

I asked the following questions on a call for assertiveness training online last week to make sure everyone was happy with the learning outcomes.

“Does everyone follow?”

“Is that clear to everybody on the call?”

“Does anyone have any questions?”

You’re likely to receive some nodding heads here, which helps.

But it’s also a chance for somebody to clarify a point.

And if one person needs it clarified, those who nodded their heads likely do too.

So check in with your audience regularly and make sure they’re up to speed.

It also gives you the opportunity next time to remind everyone that your course of action was agreed by the group.

7. Create a crystal clear call to action

pink elephant, colin stone, call to action, assertiveness training online

It’s easy to lose control at the end of a call.

For a sales conversation to fizzle out due to time constraints or a major objection.

Make sure you control the next steps.

That may be asking for the business.

It may be setting up a new call.

Or it may simply be thanking your audience and letting them know they’ll receive an update on Friday.

End the call on your terms by giving clarity to your team on the way ahead.

Assertiveness training online

pink elephant communications, assertiveness training online, contact

Assertiveness training online is one of several services we’re offering virtually.

If you’re interested, get in touch with us.

We’d be delighted to help you sharpen your skills.


Andrew McFarlan is Managing Director of Pink Elephant Communications. Read his full profile here.

Assertiveness training online blog edited by Colin Stone.
Photos in Assertiveness training online by Pink Elephant Communications. 

Assertiveness training online blog

16th July 2020 Featured in: Assertiveness training blogs By:

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