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