Most Black women know that it can be a challenge to be assertive without having the “angry Black woman” stereotype slapped on them. If you don’t push back, when necessary though, at least a little bit, you will appear as weak and easy to agree with anything people throw at you. Your career and relationships could suffer if you aren’t a little pushy from time to time. Here are seven ways to push back without being too pushy:
1. Know the different between the person and the position. When you are engaging in a debate and you disagree with someone, don’t make it seem like they are wrong. Understand where they are coming from and respect their opinion too.
2. Back up your disagreement with a solution. Don’t just say “I disagree”, make sure that you have an explanation as to why and offer up a great solution!
3. Knowledge is power. Back up your position, in an argument, with facts and case studies. This will help people to see where you are coming from and may alleviate any fears or misgivings they may have about your position.
4. Keep it professional. State the business aspect of your side, not your opinion. Opinions are great, but facts and business logistics will help your case more than what you think personally.
5. If you don’t understand, ask. Inquire about where others came from with their idea so that you can get a better understanding instead of just flat out disagreeing with someone.
6. Don’t say “yes, but…”. This shows that you disagree and that is the end of it. Try saying “yes, and…” instead, as this will open up more discussion.
7. Finally, if you don’t get your way, don’t throw a temper tantrum and stalk out of the room. Accept your defeat graciously and professionally. Alternately, if you win the debate, don’t gloat as you will come off as arrogant.