Use fewer words, apologise less, and know what outcome you want from the conversation

The Power of Clear Communication, Assertive Language, and Being Comfortable with Silence

Journalist Rebecca Reid recently stated that ‘positive rudeness’, otherwise known as ‘being assertive’, can help women achieve their goals in certain situations. As such, Tide collaborated with confidence coach Kirsty Hulse to discuss how the application of language in the workplace differs by gender, including how women can utilise assertive language and the power of silence to better achieve their work goals.

Kirsty commented:

“I don’t think ‘positive rudeness’ as a concept exists – for me it’s simply about being clear, succinct, and direct. It’s about sharing our perceptions and stepping into our authority without guilt. Practically, this looks like using fewer words, apologising less, and knowing what we want an outcome of a conversation to be before we begin it. Though I think it’s important to acknowledge there’s nothing rude in this, giving people digestible information that is explicit and precise can actually be a real kindness, especially in difficult conversations!

“Assertive language is less about the specific words we use, aside from obvious ones like ‘sorry’, and more about the amount of words we use. There’s a concept called stacking, where we say one thing and then say something else and then something else again to the point where our original point has been lost completely. In really simple terms, this is not about focusing on the problem but instead discussing what we want instead.

“For me, the big shift is not actually about changing our language but more so, getting comfortable with silence. The biggest thing we can do that can erode our authority is talk around our point, or waffle. This is a completely normal and natural response to try and ensure we say the right thing, or avoid silence, though I would recommend to anyone to, especially in important nerve-racking conversations, practice articulating your point in as few words as possible and then stopping there. It is not our language, but rather our silence, that presents our authority in my opinion”.  

Liza Haskell, Chief Administrative Officer at Tide, added:

“Whether you’re dealing with clients or colleagues, good communication is the key to success in business. Reid highlighted some interesting conversational examples to try to avoid, such as replacing ‘sorry’ with ‘thank you’ to avoid undermining yourself, and that qualifying statements, such as ‘just’ or ‘quick look’, can also make you sound like you lack confidence or conviction in your job.

“Society is evolving rapidly when it comes to issues of gender and diversity, and businesses can find it a struggle to keep up. Tide is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion, and by the end of 2022 we will help at least 50,000 women and 20,000 people from a diverse range of backgrounds get started on their entrepreneurial journey”.

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Author: Editorial Team

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