In our training at CCG, we teach our students to avoid the use of the statement, “You need to.” (try our cpi certificate or our crisis intervention training) The only time I’m going to use the phrase, “You need to” is when it has to do with safety and security. I touched on this earlier, and I can’t emphasize it enough. If someone is in a position where they are doing something that puts your safety and security in jeopardy, “Sir, I’m going to need you to back up.” “Johnny, I’m going to need you to put that chair down.” “I’m going to need you to lower that desk.” Drop that book, drop that knife, step back, let go of me, let go of my arm, I need you to let go of me, etc. You get the idea. Those are all situations where you’re saying there’s no question about what you need to happen. At this point it’s become an imminent danger type of situation and the person with whom you are dealing is about to force the issue.
It’s important to avoid the “You need to” statements until you absolutely need them and only when it has to do with safety and security. Nobody wants to hear anyone telling them what they need to do when they go into crisis. Saying things like, “; You need to calm down, you need to take a deep breath, you need to take a time out, you need to lower your voice, etc.” often only create a power struggle and invite challenge. Although you may prefer that someone they does do what you are saying, the reality is you are abusing the statement of “you need to,”, and in my perspective, wasting its power.
Use the “you need to…” statement/s for when that individual must comply with your demands, or physical intervention for will occur for safety and security.