Revolution Learning and Developemnt Ltd

The Broken Record Technique

You are here:
Estimated reading time: 2 min


The broken record technique is an approach that can be used when we are being assertive. The technique is widely used in assertiveness skills training to help us to provide a response that is firm and clear.

Much like the name suggests, the broken record technique suggests that we act like a broken record - where the record gets stuck and keeps repeating the same thing over and over.

The Broken Record Technique

A broken record repeats itself, and that is exactly how this assertive approach works. When used with other assertiveness tools and techniques, it can be a highly effective way of showing someone else that you are steadfast in your position and, no matter what tactics they try, you won't move.

You simply need to keep repeating yourself until the other person gives in or concedes to your demands.

If you imagine a child, they are masters of this technique but somehow adults tend to lose this skill as they see it as being annoying; however, used correctly it is effective.

The idea behind the broken record technique is that you pick a phrase that describes your current position and, no matter what the other person comes back to you with, you answer with the same phrase.

For example

YOU:  "The holiday was not up to standard, and the hotel facilities were not like those described in the brochure so I want a refund."

REPLY: "No one else has ever complained about this hotel. In fact, most of the feedback is excellent."

YOU:  "That might be the case, but I want a refund as in my option it was not up to standard."

REPLY: "In my opinion, the holiday was up to standard."

YOU:  "I can appreciate that is your opinion but I want a refund."

REPLY: "It’s not company policy to give refunds."

YOU: "That may be your policy but I want a refund".

As you can see in the above conversation, the term 'I want a refund' is your position and this phrase is used over and over.

Revolution Learning and Development Assertiveness Skills Training Course - the broken record technique

When to Use the Broken Record Technique

The broken record technique will not work in all scenarios where you need to be assertive. We should pick and choose the times that we use it.

You should use broken record when:

  • Dealing with people in authority, or when you feel as though the other person has more experience than you
  • You think you are not getting what you are entitled to
  • You are dealing with people who are more fluent than you
  • The other person is likely to attack you verbally or use language that suggests you are weak in order to change your position

How to Use the Broken Record Technique

While the premise of the broken record technique is simple, there are a few things to keep in mind when using it. To use the broken record technique you should:

  • Keep the statement that you choose to repeat short
  • Not change the statement in any way
  • Keep to the same tone and volume of voice (for example, subtle changes may give the impression that you are becoming frustrated and therefore wavering)
  • Not deliver your statement in a tone that can be perceived to be aggressive or threatening. Your aim is not to upset or intimidate
  • Repeat what the other person has said to show that you have listened.
  • Try not to use the word 'but' as a conjunction. Instead, leave a pause.

Further Learning

You can learn more about the broken record technique by attending an assertiveness skills training course. Take a look at our Assertiveness Training Course for more details.

Was this article helpful?
Dislike 0
Views: 215
You are free to use the content published in the Revolution Learning and Development Articles Hub providing copyright is acknowledged and a reference and link is included to where you found the content. Content may not be republished or sold at any value without express written permission from Revolution Learning and Development Ltd.

Our Approach

No PowerPoint
Yes, you read that right! We’ve removed PowerPoint from our face to face training courses.

Instead we opt for more creative ways to deliver course content and create more discussions in our courses.
Always Interactive
No matter how you attend your course, we will alway ensure it's interactive and engaging.

Our courses are designed specially for the delivery method to ensure we maximise the tools available.
Less Theory, More Practical
We don’t spend time on theory. We’ll introduce it but focus more attention on practical tools and ideas that you can actually take away and use.

We’ll provide the theory in your course materials to take away with you.
Clear Pricing
Our pricing is clear. You’ll see the exact price of our open training courses on our site where these are available.

We’ll quote an all-inclusive price for in-house and bespoke work. You won’t pay a penny more than we quote you.

Stay in Touch

Get our newsletter and be the first to hear about news, courses and blog posts.
Revolution Learning and Development Ltd
3 Balkerne House, Balkerne Passage
Essex, CO1 1PA, UK

03333 444575 
Copyright © Revolution Learning and Development Ltd
Article Quick Search
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram