Online Class: Assertiveness Training

Whether you are having trouble being confident and assertive in your career or personal life, or if you are simply interested in learning more about this topic, this course will introduce you to a better way of getting what you want and need from the people in your life without coming off as aggressive, hostile, or selfish.

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Course Description

Unlocking the Power of Assertiveness


In our fast-paced world, navigating interpersonal relationships can be challenging. To thrive, understanding the power of assertiveness is crucial. Assertiveness is not about being aggressive, confrontational, or domineering. Rather, it's about expressing oneself clearly, standing up for one's rights, and doing so in a respectful manner.

Imagine learning to drive a manual car. Understanding gears, clutch timing, and the vehicle's rhythm are vital. Similarly, comprehending the essence of assertiveness serves as the foundation to mastering its application.

The Cornerstone of Assertiveness: Confidence

Assertiveness and confidence go hand in hand. An assertive individual radiates confidence, conviction, and self-reliance. Such people are unwavering in their beliefs, desires, and their way of articulating their needs to others.

Yet, life doesn't occur in isolation. We're intrinsically social beings. Effectively communicating our needs is fundamental to our happiness and fulfillment. In this course, we'll dive deep into building confidence, pinpointing desires, and securing cooperation from others.

It's pivotal to recognize, however, that not everyone will resonate with or acknowledge your needs. Some may dismiss or belittle your desires, draining your self-worth. It's crucial to differentiate between genuine constraints and deliberate neglect. This course will equip you to identify such "bottomless pits" and navigate them effectively.

Why is Assertiveness Elusive to Many?

While the answers vary, common barriers include:

  • Insecurity: A skewed self-perception of one's value.
  • Fear: Concerns about rejection or loss.
  • Shyness: An innate inclination to remain reticent.
  • Social Conformity: The pressure to adhere to group norms.
  • Lack of Direction: Not recognizing what one truly desires.
  • Insufficient Knowledge: Not researching or being unprepared to back up one's desires.
  • Poor Negotiation Skills: Inability to convey mutual benefits convincingly.

Our lessons will systematically address these roadblocks, offering tools and strategies to surmount them.

Moreover, if your struggles go beyond assertiveness, consider seeking professional guidance. While this course hones your assertiveness, addressing underlying issues can further amplify your potential.

Assertiveness vs. Passiveness vs. Aggression: The Fine Balance

Even as toddlers, we display traces of assertiveness. Take Little Jimmy, our illustrative protagonist. When presented with peas, his least favorite food, his reactions can teach us a lot:

  • If he consumes them silently, he's passive.
  • If he throws them in anger, he's aggressive.
  • If he politely refuses, he's assertive.

Passive individuals comply for the sake of appeasement. Aggressive ones act impulsively, alienating others. Assertive people, on the other hand, convey their preferences with clarity and respect.

Another behavioral pattern we'll delve into is passive aggression – an indirect, covert form of aggression stemming from fear. It's detrimental to healthy relationships and requires attention.

The Essence of Assertiveness

Returning to our analogy, Little Jimmy showcases assertiveness by calmly refusing peas. His actions might be perceived differently by onlookers. However, the truth is, standing firm on personal preferences, without resorting to confrontations, embodies assertiveness.

Children, free from societal conditioning, inherently grasp the essence of assertiveness. They're in tune with their desires. Drawing inspiration from this, embrace clarity and firmness in asserting yourself. Remember, it's not about conflict but about mutual respect and understanding.

Course Overview

This course comprises nine comprehensive lessons. From enhancing communication to resolving conflicts, from workplace dynamics to personal relationships, each lesson delves deep into facets of assertiveness. By the end, you'll be equipped to express, negotiate, and thrive, turning challenges into opportunities.

Begin your transformative journey now, and unlock the power of assertiveness.

Course Motivation

Why Is Being Assertive So Difficult for So Many People? 

There are many answers to this question, but the most common are: 

  1. Insecurity: You lack an accurate, healthy appreciation for your own talents, abilities, and self-worth.
  2. Fear: You worry that you will not get what you want, that you will lose something you need or already have, or that you will be rejected.
  3. Shyness: You are unable to speak up or communicate because your personality is one of quiet reflector, or you are more of a laid back person.
  4. A desire to fit in with peers: Social pecking orders and group pressure do a lot to keep people "in their place." Everyone knows someone who has been ostracized from a group for disagreeing with the status quo or expressing a desire to have personal needs met if those needs conflict with the needs of those higher up in the hierarchy. The more dysfunctional the group, the more oppressed the individual becomes.
  5. Lack of self-direction: You do not know what to ask for because you do not really know what you want.
  6. Lack of knowledge:  Knowledge is power. If you are ignorant of what you are capable of having and do not take the time to do your research or prepare well, you have nothing to back up your desires with.
  7. Inability to negotiate well: You do not know how to communicate the reasons why others should meet your needs and how they would benefit from doing so. 

The later lessons of this course will address all of these roadblocks to assertiveness and self-confidence and help you overcome them with a little hard work and practice. 

As a side note, if you are experiencing more than simple assertiveness problems, then do not hesitate to get extra help with those issues. For instance, maybe you allow abuse of yourself or a loved one, or you think you have more serious issues that stem from being raised in a highly dysfunctional family or from being in a bad relationship. Seeking out a good counselor really can assist you in finding balance. It also will accelerate your ability to learn new behaviors by providing good feedback and a neutral sounding board for conflict problems. This course still will help you learn assertiveness, but addressing any underlying issues will help you achieve what is beyond the scope of this course so that you can realize your full potential.

How Does Assertiveness Differ from Passiveness and Aggression? 

From the time we are very young, we begin to assert ourselves. Listen to any toddler closely and you will hear the word "no" uttered often. You will also hear the same word, equally as often, coming from the parents of that toddler.  

Here is an example of that type of dueling assertiveness: Little Jimmy is presented with a large helping of strained peas for lunch; he shouts "No!" and lifts the bowl to dump the peas on his head. His mother's eyes open wide in dismay, and she responds with a "No!" of her own. If Jimmy were a little older, he would understand how to better communicate his hatred of peas and negotiate some tasty strained peaches from his mother instead by explaining that peaches are just as healthy as peas and taste better, too.  

Even at this early stage of life, Jimmy is learning a lesson about asserting himself. His mother, depending upon her reaction, is teaching him a particular lesson about what happens when he asserts himself, depending on her response. Let us not analyze the situation too much, or the parent-child relationship. Let us just use it for a point of learning reference. Like any new venture, starting the process of being assertive begins with baby steps. So, let us use the Little Jimmy example to compare assertiveness, passiveness, and aggression. 

We will assume that Jimmy's mother is out of everything but strained peas. She has no choice but to feed him his least favorite meal, so she proceeds to spoon-feed him the peas, cajoling, cooing, and attempting all forms of persuasion to get him to eat them: 

  1. If Jimmy eats his peas without a fuss, maybe even gags a little with each bite because he hates them so much but finishes them without protest, he is being passive.
  2. If Jimmy grabs the bowl from his mother's hand and throws it at her, making a mess all over her, the floor, and the walls, thereby upsetting her, he is being aggressive.
  3. If Jimmy takes a few bites, remembers why he hates the peas so much, and clamps his mouth shut, refusing to take one more bite, he is being assertive. 

It really is that simple.  

Passive people eat the hated peas and do what others want them to do to earn their approval without question, whether they like it or not. 

Aggressive people overreact, making a mess and angering people to the point that no one wants to give them anything, or people give them what they want out of fear instead of cooperation.  

Assertive people know what they want and do not want, make those desires clear, and refuse to budge unless a reasonable explanation or alternative is offered from the other person. 

Later on we will cover avoiding another behavior, passive aggression, in more detail; but it is important to understand what that behavior is as well. It is used by many people who do not know how to get what they want from others in a direct manner. It is not healthy and does not help develop happy, trusting relationships with others. 

Passive aggression is when people use covert, sneaky, and indirect methods of being aggressive. They do this because they cannot express anger or be direct about their real emotions, wants, or needs. Often, passive aggressive behavior becomes a response to dealing with another passive aggressive person or from continually not getting what one wants and needs from another regularly. Fear is at the root of passive aggressive behavior: fear of being rejected or having to deal with another's anger, or fear of the consequences that will result if they assertively ask for what they need. The fear of asking for what they want, expressing their true emotions, or admitting they need the other person is very profound. Passive aggression is used often to retaliate against others for real or perceived slights by using or displaying some of following behaviors:[ii] 

  • Forgetfulness: I forgot your birthday, or I forgot to finish my assignment, call the client, take out the garbage, call you, etc.
  • Blaming: It is not my fault I am late; it is the traffic every night. It is not my fault I get fired every few months; all my bosses are unreasonable. I have no faults; nothing is my fault.
  • Lack of anger: While never or rarely showing anger externally or directly, passive aggressive people retaliate in an underhanded way.
  • Obstructionism: This behavior involves never really giving others what they want or need; in fact, going out of the way to deny others what they want, while pretending all the while to have intentions of fulfilling those wants and needs. 

What Does Assertive Behavior Look and Feel Like?

Since Little Jimmy was such a good example of simple assertiveness, let us use him again to get a handle on what assertiveness looks and feels like. Taking the stance of firm refusal to accept what he does not want, peas, it appears externally that Jimmy is being confident and self-assured. To people who may be controlling or inflexible themselves, it may appear that he is being stubborn, willful, or bratty. Wrong! He was clearly asserting himself and not being defiant. Throwing the peas? That is another story.  

If there is one important point you take away from this lesson, let it be this: There is nothing bad or wrong about being clear and firm regarding what you want and do not want. Often people will make us feel that it is wrong, but that is on them. So, what do you think it felt like to Jimmy to stand his ground? Empowering? Comfortable? Natural? Quite possibly all of those things. Children are such good asserters because they have not yet been conditioned to accept what they do not want. They also are very clear about their wants and needs because their needs are, essentially, simple and uncomplicated. 
Going forward, be like a child in your assertiveness. Know what you want and do not want and what you like and do not like; be firm about not accepting what you do not want and just as firm about asking for what you do want. Do not "throw peas" or passively eat them if you hate them. Do not let others convince you that your calm assertiveness is bad or wrong.
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  • 6 Months to Complete
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Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.4 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(3,280 votes)

Lesson 1: Assertiveness Defined

This lesson will provide an excellent foundation of understanding for future reference as you begin to use the assertiveness skills you will learn later on in this course. Additional lesson topics: Assertiveness scenarios: Several examples 11 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2: Methods of Assessing and Developing Healthy Self-esteem

Healthy self-esteem is the very first step in achieving confidence and learning to be assertive. Additional lesson topics: To Be Assertive, Change Your Thinking 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3: Your Personal Level of Assertiveness

This lesson will introduce you to the most common personality types. Additional lesson topics: The Assertiveness Quiz; Assertiveness; Personality Test 14 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4: Improving Communication

Regardless of your personality type or weaknesses, everyone can learn how to communicate better. Additional lesson topics: Deciding When to Speak Up and When to Shut Up; Communication Skills; Several Things to Practice daily to Improve Communication Skills 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5: Conflict Resolution

When possible, negotiate and compromise to avoid conflict; but when you cannot, use the tools in this lesson to resolve it instead. Additional lesson topics: Conflict Resolution in Several Simple Easy Steps; The Types of Conflict in Communication; Association for Conflict Resolution; Managing Conflict In Your Workplace; TED Conflict Negotiation; Verbal Judo: Diffusing Conflict Through Conversation 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6: Appropriate Workplace Assertiveness

This lesson will help you deal with handling work- related situations properly. Additional lesson topics: How to Be More Assertive at Your Job : Workplace Etiquette and Tips; Assertiveness Techniques: These are the only Several you will ever need!; Assertiveness Techniques that Work 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7: Appropriate Personal Assertiveness

Being assertive in our personal lives has differences from and similarities to the way we assert ourselves at work or in business. Additional lesson topics: Four Ways of Understanding Passive Aggressive Behaviors, while Keeping your Sanity!; How to Be Assertive: Several Assertive Communication Secrets 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8: Combating Fear of Assertiveness

This lesson will help you deal with the inevitable fear that will strike when you first begin to assert yourself. Additional lesson topics: Barriers to Assertiveness 8 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9: What Do You Really Want?

Perhaps the most essential part of asking for what you want is knowing what you want to ask for. Additional lesson topics: How to Make an Action Plan to Achieve Any Goal 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10: Achieving Balance

This lesson will explain how to achieve balance in being assertive. Additional lesson topics: Achieving Life Balance is Essential to Your Health 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam

Course Conclusion

As you go forward, be confident. 73 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Lesson discussions: What do you think about this course?; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Assessment: Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define assertiveness and understand how it differs from aggression.
  • Summarize defined methods of assessing and developing healthy self-esteem.
  • Identify your own personal level of assertiveness and determine what improvements may be needed.
  • Describe basic techniques for improving your communication skills.
  • Describe methods to use in peaceful conflict resolution.
  • Summarize and establish appropriate assertiveness techniques to use in the workplace.
  • Determine your own personal level of assertiveness that is appropriate for you.
  • Recognize the fears you have associated with assertiveness and define techniques to combat them.
  • Determine and describe what it is you really want and identify how assertiveness can achieve this goal.
  • Identify ways to balance the level of assertiveness to use in everyday life.
  • Review your own personal level of assertiveness and identify how you will use it in the future.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
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  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Assertiveness Training
Course Number: 8900266
Lessons Rating: 4.4 / 5 Stars (3,280 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: December 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.8 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: UniversalClass Instructional Team
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "I learned a lot in this course and was able to identify where my communication skills causes conflict. I am looking forward to practice and improve the way I approach and handle issues in the future." -- Jennifer J.
  • "As someone who just recently got out of a relationship and has started a brand new position at work and has had trouble asserting myself in both areas, I found this course to be a really helpful tool in moving forward and conquering both aspects of life." -- Mackenzie T.
  • "It was extremely helpful to me. I learned that being assertive doesn't mean being aggressive. Also, not to be intimidated by another's aggressiveness, believing that I did something wrong and deserve the disrespectful treatment. Also, not to be dismayed when another's personal attacks try to shift the responsibility for their unreasonable behavior off them and to me (or to let them). I have learned that in asserting myself dealing in business matters a 'short and sweet' interaction, explaining problem and desired solution is all that is required, not lengthy complaints and arguments. I am glad I signed-up for this class, and it has made clear that I am not responsible for another's problems or decisions. I've also seen that one or two attempts at asserting myself in certain situations will not succeed at once. But I always have options to remove myself from certain toxic personalities. Patience is needed to discover that option." -- Jane F.
  • "I looked forward to each lesson of this Assertiveness training course and was pleasantly surprised that each lesson was so relevant to everyday living, interacting with people. This morning, when I logged into my final lesson, I was sincerely inspired by the words of encouragement that you offered. This doesn't happen often in life anymore and I was so grateful for your kind and supportive words of wisdom. Thank you for offering this course and for the instructor's kindness and clear communications. I am grateful for the opportunity to have taken this and am confident it will provide positive growth and support for me as I move forward into retirement and a new chapter in my life." -- Diane S.
  • "I entered this course in the recovery stage of a failed long term relationship. It helped me tremendously as I began to rebuild a stable and successful new life. It took me almost six months to complete the course, because the topics were hitting home in a deeply personal way. I needed the information and tools to help me make the transition to health and to understand how to assert myself appropriately. Thanks again to the instructor and for a well laid out course of study. Bravo!" -- Arlene A.
  • "Thank you for all your help with me being able to be more assertive in my life by these teaching tools." -- Sandra W.
  • "Excellent course. The assertiveness courses I've taken focused on self-esteem and behavior. I was surprised that knowing what you want/goal making is important to assertiveness. This has helped me tremendously! Excellent course and thanks soo much." -- Marvett B.
  • "I recommend this course to anyone, but do your own additional research and try and do your best in the assignments. For me, this is the key area where I did most of my learning." -- John B.
  • "This course has helped me understand what assertiveness was and it will help me in the future in my personal life and my work life." -- Kristen A.
  • "I appreciate all of the feedback from the instructor. Even when I had 5 out of 5, he gave me further instruction." -- Lori G.
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