DEAL: a technique for countering inappropriate or disruptive behaviour

DEAL is based upon a number of interpersonal realities.

  • It makes sense to give the person the benefit of the doubt, i.e. that he or she is unaware of engaging in behaviour that is inappropriate or disruptive.
  • When something happens three times it is a pattern.
  • Acting inappropriately or disruptively is often an expression of the individual’s established interpersonal behaviour.
  • Giving feedback to an individual once about his or her inappropriate or disruptive behaviour is unlikely to bring about immediate, or sustained behaviour change.
  • Giving feedback after a single instance has the potential to make matters worse. Similarly giving feedback after every subsequent instance.
  • Your feedback to an individual behaving inappropriately or disruptively must itself be a pattern: gather the evidence (three instances), give feedback, gather the evidence (three more instances), give feedback, gather the evidence (three more instances), then give an ultimatum.


For a copy of the DEAL technique download this PDF