What is asserting dominance?- Know More

We’ve all heard about how asserting dominance can help us advance in our personal and professional lives, but what does asserting your dominance actually look like? 

As a species, human beings are very sensitive to body language, and this is where a lot of dominance is asserted. You can signal your authority to others and gain their respect through your stance, your posture, your tone of voice, and the kind of language that you use to talk about what you want. Ultimately, asserting dominance is about commanding respect from others. It isn’t about bullying the opposition into submission – it’s about establishing yourself as an authoritative figure worthy of respect.

This article covers a few practical ways that you can assert dominance and command the respect of your peers. Read on for tips on what asserting dominance looks like in different situations, and what you can do to make yourself more assertive. 

What is asserting dominance? 
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One of the most powerful ways that you can assert dominance using body language is with your stance. Let’s imagine that you are in a business meeting with a co-worker who keeps talking over you. You can begin boosting your confidence and asserting your dominance over this person by standing square with your feet in line with your hips, your arms crossed or hanging loosely at your sides, and your chin tilted slightly upwards. Make sure that you are making direct eye contact with this person. If you are seated in this meeting, then sit with your feet flat on the ground. It’s important that you feel grounded and that you keep your stance open, signalling that you are not afraid of confrontation and that you are not defending yourself out of fear of this person. Maintaining direct eye contact also helps create a sense of confidence and control. 


Posture is closely related to stance when it comes to asserting dominance through body language. It is difficult to be taken seriously at a job interview or on a date when you are slouched over. Hunching your back gives an impression of weakness and a lack of self-confidence. To amend your posture, remember that the power that keeps you upright comes from your core muscles, not your back muscles. Engage your core by pretending to suck your belly button into the middle of your back. Once your core is engaged, create a straight back by pretending that a puppet string is pulling you from the very top of your head. These exercises are applicable for both sitting and standing positions. Remember to relax your shoulders away from the ears and to unclench the muscles around your jaw. Maintaining correct posture like this gives an impression of self-assuredness and has the additional benefits of reducing tension headaches and improving muscle weakness! 

Tone of Voice

Changing the quality of your speaking voice is not always possible, but it is not necessary when it comes to asserting your dominance through the tone of your voice. Generally, when we feel uncomfortable or unsure of ourselves, we tend to end our sentences with an upward inflection. This makes it sound like we are asking a question, which implies that we do not have the answers. That’s no good for someone trying to assert dominance! If you are looking to create an impression of control, then ensure that your tone of voice is either commanding or neutral. Let’s go back to the example of the coworker who keeps interrupting you at the business meeting – you can assert your dominance by politely telling (not asking!) them to stop doing so. Observe the difference in tone here:

“Could you please stop interrupting me?” 

“Stop interrupting me, please.”

Can you see how one is a question and one is a statement? A few changes in inflection can make a big difference in conveying dominance through your tone of voice. 

It is always advantageous to remain courteous during confrontations (especially in the workplace). For starters, it’s just good manners. Furthermore, it’s a powerful tool for asserting dominance. It shows your adversaries and your superiors that you can maintain your composure in the face of all kinds of confrontation. It can also have the effect of unsettling your opponent, which makes you look even more competent. Although it might be challenging, try to keep your voice even when speaking, articulate your words properly, and maintain a reasonable speaking volume that is loud enough for everyone to hear but does not force you to shout. 

Using Language to Assert Your Dominance

We’ve spoken about how the tone of your delivery helps assert dominance; now, we’ll talk about what you can say to assert dominance. We’ll be looking at the following tips: 

  1. Using the active voice instead of the passive voice
  2. Stop apologising and start thanking people instead
  3. Use fewer “I” statements

One of the best ways to inject some confidence into what you’re saying is by using the active voice instead of the passive voice. This works for both spoken and written communication, like email. Consider the following example of the difference between the passive and the active voice:

“I need those reports sent to me by the end of the day” versus “Sarah, please send those reports to me by 5PM today”. 

Spot the difference? Instead of requesting that the reports are sent (passive voice), you might want to ask someone directly to do something for you in the active voice. Note that, in the second example, there is also a specific deadline. Addressing people directly, using the active voice, and providing specifics in your requests will lead people into following your instructions and, therefore, assert your dominance. 

Another tip for asserting your dominance through language: stop saying “sorry” and start saying “thank you”. Have you run late for a meeting? Instead of saying, “I’m sorry I’m late”, try “Thank you for waiting for me”. Thanking the other person for their patience instead of apologising for your tardiness still acknowledges the sacrifice of their time, but it still asserts your dominance. Constantly apologising – especially for things that are outside of your control – can make you appear less dominant. 

Finally, a great way to assert your dominance is to start using “I” statements less. Phrases like, “I think” or “I feel like” can be useful for identifying your personal experiences, but they can also make you sound less assertive and, therefore, less dominant. Instead of saying something like, “I don’t think that that is going to be an effective approach”, try something like, “That isn’t going to be an effective approach”. By removing the “I” in the sentence, the perspective becomes instantly less subjective and more objective, which gives an impression of fact instead of opinion. Presenting your views as fact instead of feeling or opinion can make you appear more dominant. 


Asserting dominance means to command the respect of those around you. This is especially important if you are in a leadership role like that of a parent, a manager, or a teacher. The most effective way to assert your dominance is through your body language, followed closely by the words you use to express or assert your dominance. By making small adjustments to your stance, posture, tone of voice, and language, you will quickly win the respect of those around you as a dominant person. 

What is asserting dominance?- Know More

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