Tip passed on from January's D&D Bullying session: if you feel like someone is bullying or acting unreasonably, start writing down what they say - not just so that you have a record, but it can also make people stop in their tracks and actually assess what they're saying and doing.

Take some time to formulate your response, don't react in the heat of the moment. If necessary, actually respond initially by saying you need to take some time to think - buy yourself some time to respond on your own terms.

When responding to, for instance, an aggressive, bullying or upsetting situation, try not to make it personal, make it about facts and practical issues, not feelings.

When you have to have a difficult conversation, set out the rules of engagement that work best for you, don't let yourself be backed into a corner - figuratively or literally - would it be most effective to tackle the issue in:

an email?

an informal chat over coffee or in the pub?

a formal talk, perhaps with a neutral third party present? a formal letter?

Study - there are courses and books on assertiveness training. Learn to recognise bullying tactics for what they are, you can prepare in advance how to deal with them. Learn from the masters - we can all think of examples of people who seem to deal really well with bullies and difficult people - often with charm, humour and dignity - bullies are always on their best behaviour around people like this, it's hard to imagine them ever being the victims of bullies - what is it that they do? What can we learn from observing how they handle themselves and others?

The Benjamin Franklin Effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Franklin_effect - asking someone for a small favour or kindness can make them feel more positive toward you.

Recognise that bullying often comes from insecurity - figuring out what is making the person insecure could be helpful.

The responsibility shouldn't just lie with the ‘victim’ of bullying - we all can take responsibility to do or say something if we see bullying happening.

It helps to know if someone is a habitual bully in advance - you'll be better prepared to deal with it, and less likely to assume it's your fault.

An idea carried over from the ‘Name & Shame?’ session, and discussed further here: How can people complain / name and shame / warn other practitioners, when we're all afraid of the potential comeback? Would some sort of anonymous feedback / ratings web forum be workable? Something that combined elements of Trip Advisor and the ratings / feedback systems on sites like Ebay and Amazon? Potentially open to abuse, but it generally seems to work on sites such as the above. Possibility for further action to be taken on this by some members of the group…