The Broken Record

Why and when is it useful?

This is a technique to use when you are clear about what you want to say and you want this to be known. It helps you to avoid getting angry, helps in situations of conflict and when others are not listening to your expressed feelings or opinions. It is also useful when you are asking questions for clarification or when people are trying to take advantage of you. The BROKEN RECORD is a good way to deal with red herrings, attempts to steer you away from the point, guilt tripping and manipulation.

How do you do it?

You speak as if you were a record that is broken or cracked and so repeats itself again and again. You need to be persistent, to stick the point and keep saying it; ignoring all the side issues. Use a calm voice. Eventually you are likely to be heard if only because it is uncomfortable to have to listen to a broken record for too long!

How do I use this technique?

  1. Identify your goal and make a clear and specific statement:
    • ” I won’t be able to work late this evening”
    • ” I don’t want another drink, thank you”
    • “This item is damaged and I would like a refund”
    • “The cheese is stale and I would like my money back”
  2. Acknowledge the response of the other person whilst maintaining your statement:
    • “I understand you are under a great deal of stress, but I won’t be able to work late”
    • “You may want to have another drink, but I don’t , than you”
    • “I understand you weren’t serving here yesterday but I want a refund as this item is damaged”
    • “It may not be unusual for you to get complaints about this cheese, but it is stale and I would like my money back”
  3. Moving up a gear. Repeat the statement without getting sidetracked:
    • “That’s really not relevant to the main issue which is that I won’t be able to work late”
    • “No, I don’t want another drink”
    • “But the point is that the item is damaged and I want a refund”
    • “Regardless of others opinions, this cheese is stale and I would like my money back”
  4. Do not let the distractions of the other person confuse you. Do not introduce other information or start making excuses. You may wish to offer some explanation later, but this must come after you have got your point across and when you are sure that the point has been heard and understood.
  5. 5. If an important side issue comes up, you may want to say something like
    • “I would be happy to talk about that as soon as we settle this …”. If you do say that you are going to deal with a side issue afterwards, it is important that you do.
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