How do I disagree in Business English?
There will be times when you have to disagree and express a strong opinion during meetings, presentations, negotiations and at other crucial moments in the workplace. We asked Unique's Business English teachers to explain the best phrases to use.
In Business English, the aim is for speakers to be polite and direct disagreement is uncommon so we should use language that expresses our ideas and opinions more politely. While negotiations can become stressful, there are some phrases that are acceptable and some which are absolutely not. We are going to learn some of them today.
How do I disagree?
Before you disagree with somebody, you should first acknowledge their opinion. Make sure you that you recognise what they have said and that you accept it is a valid argument before you disagree. This shows you are listening to the other person and will make your argument stronger when you express your own opinion. Here are some phrases that you can use for this:
“I understand where you’re coming from, but…”
“That’s a valid point, but…”
“I see what you’re saying but…”
"I see what you mean, but..."
"I agree with you to some extent, but..."
"I suppose that could be true. However, I feel that..."
It is crucial that you always prepare the other person for your disagreement. Another way of doing this is through apologising before you disagree. However, this can soften the impact of your argument. Here are some examples
“I’m sorry but I disagree with you on this.”
"I'm sorry but I really don't agree with you and I will explain why..."
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