How to Express Opposing Ideas in English Despite Although Nevertheless in Spite of

How to Express Opposing Ideas in English Despite Although Nevertheless in Spite of

Melbourne Classical Radio In 2021, the topic of COVID vaccines has become a hot topic of conversation. And in some situations it's even become a contentious conversation. What that means is that it causes or is likely to cause an argument it's controversial. 

One of the greatest challenges my students have is feeling comfortable and confident in sharing their opinion, especially when someone has a differing or opposing opinion. And you might have the same frustration. How do you express your opinion politely when others disagree or have a different point of view without getting into an argument? Of course, one strategy is to simply stay silent and say nothing, but that's not a good long-term solution. 

If you're here, you're here to become confident in your English language skills. And that means the ability to express yourself clearly to share your opinions no matter who you're talking to or what the situation might be. The good news is there are strategies you can use to help you effectively, politely share your opinions and handle differing opinions using neutral language. 

If you don't already know, I'm Annemarie with Speak Confident English, this is where you want to be every week to get the confidence you want for your life and work in English. By the end of this article today, you will be able to clearly and politely express disagreement or share an opposing perspective using neutral phrases with three powerful strategies. 

Plus at the end, I'll share three quick tips to help you stay clear-headed when you're in a conversation that is particularly controversial, Let's get started. If you don't already have them, I'm going to ask you to get a pen piece of paper or notebook ready for you to use, because there will be a lot of new phrases for you today. 

And I want you to keep all of them so that you can practice using them, get comfortable and start using them regularly in your English conversations. And now let's get started with strategy number one, when you're working to use neutral language. Acknowledge the strengths of the opposing argument or point of view in a conversation. 

You might know that you absolutely disagree with what someone else has said before you jump in to share that disagreement, take a moment to acknowledge the strengths of the other person's perspective. This doesn't mean that you agree with what they've said, but you did listen and you're acknowledging that they've made some good points. 

After you acknowledged those strengths, then you can go on to use some neutral language to introduce your opposing perspective. When we do that, we tend to focus on functional phrases, such as in my opinion, based on my experience, it seems to me or my concerns or my thoughts are. Let me put all of that together in an example for you: imagine that you and a team member are talking about your budget at work. 

And there's a bit of disagreement when you respond to what your coworker has said, you can start by acknowledging the strengths and then get into your opposing point of view. And here's how that might sound. Your points are valid. And I agree with what you've said about the expenses. Based on my experience, an increase in the price for more profit can have a negative impact on consumer demand. In that example, I'm acknowledging the other strengths. 

I've validated what they said and I've introduced my opposing idea, but in doing that, I haven't used any negative language. It's all very neutral. I didn't use however, or I disagree. I simply acknowledge the strengths and then introduced my own perspective. We can use this same strategy in casual or informal conversations as well. Here's an example. 

I understand your reasoning and you've made some good points. In my opinion, gradually reducing our expenses will help us save money for a new house more quickly. Again, I'm acknowledging the strengths and validating the other perspective. And then introducing my own. 

The second strategy for handling differing opinions using neutral language is to use I-statements. Using I-statements helps to reduce tension because it avoids blaming others or pointing the finger. In other words, there's no accusation and we're separating the person from the topic or the problem that we're discussing in this process. We also can avoid negative language such as, but, however I disagree. The goal is for you to share your opinion on neutral ground. 

So to do that, we use things like, I think, I believe, I understand, I'm convinced or I would. In using these I statements instead of focusing on my disagreement, I'm shifting the focus to my opinion and my reasons for my opinion. Let me give you two examples of what this looks like. One for professional situations and the second for more personal or informal conversations, let's start with the professional example. 

Well, your proposed cuts will help balance the budget. I think we should be mindful about how those cuts will affect our business longterm and in a personal situation. I understand that you have certain goals in mind. I believe we should focus on how to minimize the costs of daycare. Look at those two examples carefully. 

You can definitely see examples of, I think I believe, and I understand I've also avoided any negative language or direct disagreement, but I was still able to introduce and state my opposing perspective. And now strategy number three for handling differing opinions using neutral language is to use the power of suggestion. 

The power of suggestion can be used to share an opinion or perspective without emotional language. Emotional language tends to get us into problems. That's where we start to get frustrated or angry and it starts to show, but we want to avoid all of that by using more neutral suggestive language, such as let's consider or let's think about, have you thought about what if we, what about, what are your thoughts on, or what do you think about all of this language helps us to introduce a suggestion, an alternative idea, opinion or perspective without being confrontational or bringing emotion into the conversation. 

For example, in a professional conversation, I might say something like, I agree that customer satisfaction comes first. What do you think about training team members by assigning them different roles every month? In that example, I'm introducing a different perspective, maybe even an opinion that I know others won't like. 

And instead of doing it in a direct, aggressive way, I'm introducing it as a suggestion in a personal conversation. I could use an example like this. I agree that we need a more affordable option. What if we minimize a few other expenses like going out on the weekends while we look for a more affordable daycare option. 

Now that you have three powerful strategies using neutral language to help you have successful, productive conversations on differing opinions, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to help you stay calm. And clear-headed when you're discussing a topic that is particularly controversial or that you feel strongly about. 

Tip number one is to clarify, in order to avoid assumptions. When you find yourself poles apart from another person, in other words, you're on two absolutely opposite sides of an issue, it can be easy to start making assumptions about the other person's perspectives or their reasons why. 

But in order to have a successful conversation on a sensitive issue, it's important to know exactly what the real reasons are behind someone's position, not what you think they might be the best way to do this is to ask clarifying questions. Now, if you're not sure what kinds of questions are clarifying questions or what are the best to use, keep an eye out for a future lesson because I've got a lesson coming on that topic very soon. 

Tip number two for staying clear, headed is approach problems together, include the other person in your thought process and in your problem solving approach that isn't always easy to do, but it leads to a much better outcome and it helps to avoid things getting tense or conversations getting into something that becomes an argument. 

Instead of focusing on the two different perspectives, you can bring the focus on how you can work together toward a common goal or solving a problem to do that. It's always important to find the places that you agree on. 

For example, maybe both of you agree that you need to reduce expenses. So that becomes the common goal and you work on finding solutions that you're both okay with. And tip number three for staying clear and calm headed is to always be aware of your tone and volume. 

Honestly, this one is really tough when you're communicating on a topic that you're passionate about. It's very common to start increasing the volume of your voice or change your tone to indicate frustration, sarcasm, or even passion for the topic, but in order to disagree successfully and move forward in the conversation, it's important to be careful about the tone and volume. 

I have to admit that I'm particularly passionate about politics. So I have to be careful when I talk to others with an opposing point of view, to help me stay calm and clear headed. I will often step back from the conversation and say something like I need a moment to collect my thoughts. And while I pause and take time to reflect, I'm also very careful about breathing in a way that helps to reduce anxiety or frustration. 

And that is something I often share with my students as well. In addition to saying something like, give me a moment to collect my thoughts. You could also say I need a moment and that's it. Just take a pause in the conversation. 

Step back from the frustration so that you can have a productive conversation now that you have these three powerful strategies with examples of neutral language, and you have some tips to help you stay calm and clear headed. I have two challenge questions for you. 

I know that giving opinions or sharing your point of view in a situation where someone has an opposing point of view can be really difficult. So let's practice. I have two different scenarios or topics for you. And in both, I want you to think about how you would respond using what you've learned today in scenario. 

Number one, I want you to imagine that one of your friends strongly believes that children should not go back to school until September, 2022. However you disagree with that opinion. How could you express your opinion without upsetting her, try using some of the example language that you've learned today to do that. And now scenario number two, your son's teacher recommends that your son switch from an advanced placement level class to a regular class based on poor performance. 

You know that your son has had a particularly tough month and you also know that your son is more than capable of doing well in the advanced placement level. How would you express this? How would you disagree with your son's teacher? Again, go over the strategies we've talked about today, review all the examples of neutral language and then share an example below. 

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