​In life, you will undoubtedly encounter people who want to force you to see their point of you, or to do what they want you to do. When you do not agree, they can become quite irate and aggressive. The key to avoiding a serious conflict is to communicate effectively from the start. You must not lose your cool. To help you to stay calm in difficult situation there are a number of simple assertiveness techniques which you can use to communicate clearly and effectively, preventing the situation from escalating. Assertiveness techniques are simple communication methods which you can implement with ease whenever you notice the potential for conflict. This post covers 3 of the most common and simple assertiveness techniques.

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3 Simple assertiveness techniques

​The following is a brief overview of 3 of the most simple assertiveness techniques which should help you to deal with the vast majority of situations:

1. Say ‘No’

​It sounds obvious and it is obvious; if you do not want to do something, just say ‘No’. However, you may find ‘No’ to be the hardest word to say. This is generally due to a fear of the response you might receive. You may fear that saying ‘No’ to a person in authority will lead to work problems; you may fear the disapproval of others if your response disappoints them; or, you may fear an aggressive response from the other person. It is important to remember that people have the right to ask you to do something but you always have the right to say ‘No’. Contrary to what you may think, when you exercise that right appropriately, people become more respectful of you and your time.  In the long run, learning to say ‘No’ helps you to avoid conflict, set boundaries and reduce stress.

 2. The broken record

​This technique got its name from the days of vinyl records. When a vinyl record was scratched or broken, it played the same piece of music repeatedly. The broken record technique requires you to repeat the same message repeatedly, until the other person becomes clear that you are not going to change your mind. This technique is useful because someone who is trying to manipulate you will constantly try and twist your argument to break down your resistance. However, with the broken record technique, there is only one, consistent message, leaving them with nothing to twist. When using this technique, it is important that your message is clear. An example of a message which may be delivered via the broken record technique is: ‘I understand that you would like me to work late tonight, however, I do have prior engagements’

3. Fogging

Fogging, if used correctly, can be an enjoyable assertiveness technique. While it is a simple assertiveness technique, it is generally not used until someone begins to behave aggressively. When someone becomes aggressive towards you, they are attempting to elicit an aggressive response from you. It is essential that you do not fall for this. Fogging allows you to stay in control and diffuse the situation. You can do this by finding some small level of agreement with their argument. When you do this, you confuse the aggressor because the last thing they expect is for you to agree with them in any way. An example of fogging might be:

Comment: You never work late. You don’t care about this company

Response: Yes, I rarely work late. I work hard on my time management to ensure that I achieve all my goals and objectives within my scheduled working hours, allowing me to spend quality time with my family


Assertivness is a critical communication skill particularly when dealing with difficult people and behaviour e.g passive aggressive behaviour. There will always be people who will try and force or manipulate you into doing the things that they want you to do. While they have the right to ask, you have the right to decline. In the majority of cases, this will be the end of the matter. However, there will always be some who will try and push you further in the hope that you will give in and bow to their demands. It is important for your health, happiness, effectiveness and confidence that you learn to deal with these people. They key is to have some simple assertiveness techniques which you can implement to diffuse the situation. The 3 simple assertiveness techniques, outlined above, will help you to deal with the majority of situations.

Are there any simple assertiveness techniques which you would recommend?


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