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Assert Your Way To 100
Poon also describes his centenarians as being assertive. Being assertive means taking care of your own interests while maintaining respect for the interests of others. (As opposed to being aggressive, which implies that you attend to your own interests with a lack of regard for others.) Here are some assertiveness training tips:

Ask. Get into the habit of asking for what you want. Be persistent. Don't take no for an answer. In my negotiation training seminars, I am always amazed at how many participants are reluctant to pursue their basic interests. We have been led to believe that there is something wrong with taking care of our own needs.

Next time you take a commercial flight, read the card that describes what to do in the event of a loss of cabin pressure. You are advised to adjust your own breathing mask before you attend to that of your child. In other words, if we don't satisfy our own needs, we aren't in a very good position to help anyone else. People who ask for what they need are people who receive.

Eliminate negative self-talk. Self-awareness is the key. Every time you become aware that your inner voice is telling you not to be assertive, give yourself a pat on the back. Substitute a positive thought for the negative one. "I have a good chance of getting what I want if I ask for it" is more productive than "They'll never say yes."

Practice expressing your feelings without anxiety or anger. Let people know how you feel in a non-threatening way. Practice 'I' statements. For example, instead of saying, "You shouldn't do that," try substituting, "I don't feel comfortable when you do that."

Learn how to say no. In other words, set limits. If you perceive yourself as a separate human being, you can establish your boundaries. Don't permit other people to step over those boundaries. This is how we learn to withstand intimidation. "I'm sorry, but I'm really not interested in buying a car today, thank you."

I hope you're as excited as I am to know that being an avid negotiator means living longer. Please let me know if this works for you -- call me when you reach 100! If I don't answer, keep trying.

Ed Brodow is a keynote speaker, negotiation guru on PBS, and author of Negotiate with Confidence andBeating the Success Trap. His latest book, Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals, will be released by Doubledayon December 26, 2006. For more information on his keynotes and seminars, call 831-372-7270 or e-mail, and visit

Copyright © 2006 Ed Brodow Seminars, Inc. All rights reserved.

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July 2006