Get your point across

When people won’t listen, you need to focus their attention. Use the Broken Record technique to do this.

This technique involves repeating your message until it is heard. The name ‘Broken Record’ refers to what happens when old fashioned vinyl records are scratched – the needle of a record player loops over the same section of the recording indefinitely. There are six steps involved in using Broken Record.

1. Identify your need

Work out the key point you want to make. For example, imagine that a friend is insisting you stay out late with them. You need to get some sleep, because you’ve got an important meeting in the morning. Your key point is you need to go home now.

2. Design your message

Create a short, concise sentence to express your need. Use no more than seven words to do this. For example “I need to leave now.” This is the message that you will repeat until your friend listens. It’s the ‘groove’ that the record player gets stuck on.

3. Acknowledge their position

This opens your message on a respectful note. It lets the other person know you’ve been listening. And it helps you lead gently into your core message. For example, you could say “I know that because we’re having fun, you’d like to stay out longer.”

4. Connect your need to theirs

Instead of negating the other person’s need, continue to respect it. Do this by using ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ in the next part of your message. This minimises the chance that you’ll sound aggressive. For example, say “…and I have an important meeting tomorrow morning so I need to leave now.”

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5. Pare back your message

If the other person fails to accept your message, it’s time to repeat yourself. This time, stick to your core message only. Keep it clear and simple, saying “I need to leave now.” Finish off the message by saying the other person’s name.

6. Redirect and repeat

Most people will accept your message the second time you communicate it. But some will continue trying to influence you. In this situation, respond to their arguments by saying “That’s not really relevant to the main issue.” Then repeat your core message. For example “That’s not really relevant to the main issue, which is that I need to leave now.”