There are several techniques you can use to respond assertively in a difficult situation. Here is a very effective one:
Stuck on the same tune
The Broken Record technique is the skill of being able to repeat over and over again, in a calm, relaxed and assertive way whatever it is you want or need. This continues until the other person concedes or agrees to negotiate with you. Let me give you an example:
I recently bought a small number of items at my local supermarket. When the lady at the checkout asked me for £8, I handed over a £20 note. She handed me a £2 coin.
I said: “I gave you a £20 note, so I need another £10 please.”
She replied: “Are you sure, I think it was £10.”
“No it was a £20 note, so I need another £10 please.”
“But I’ve shut the till now and I can open it until I do another transaction.”
“I understand, however, I gave you a £20 note so I need another £10 please.”
I was under a certain amount of pressure because there was a queue behind me and people had their shopping on the belt.
The checkout lady said: “I would need to get a supervisor to come and check this and these people would have had to move to another till.” (More pressure)
I said: “It would be good if you could get a supervisor because I gave you a £20 note, so I need another £10 please.”
The supervisor arrived and she explained how the till couldn’t be opened. I repeated my request using the same words in a calm and relaxed tone.
The supervisor said: “We’ll check the till at the end of the day and if its £10 over, we will contact you. Can you give me your phone number please?”
I replied: “I understand why you would want to do that. However, I have just given this lady £20 and she has given me change of £2, so I need another £10 please.”
Eventually the supervisor instructed the checkout assistant to open the till and give me my £10. She added: “We will still need your address and phone number.”
I said: “No problem, here are my details.” I never heard anything again from this supermarket.
When I tell this story to the participants in a seminar, I can see some people starting to squirm. But this is about standing up for your rights and you need courage to do this.
I wasn’t becoming irate or angry; I wasn’t being unpleasant to the supermarket staff. I just wasn’t leaving that supermarket without the money that was rightfully mine.
Use the Broken Record technique to:
Stand up for your rights
Stand your ground
Say what you want or how you feel.
Believe me, once you start to apply this in difficult situations, your life will be so much easier.
Next week: When to use the Fogging and Negative Assertion techniques