If you often attend meetings and negotiations as part of your job, you will know how important it is to avoid direct disagreement.
A disagreement can occur if we make a very direct and simple statement to express what we’re thinking. Statements which are too direct can sound confrontational and as a result the person you’re negotiating with may be offended or get upset.
Look at these very direct statements:
- The price is high.
- It’s a problem.
- I’ll be late.
- There might be delays with the delivery.
- We have to make changes.
- It’s difficult to do.
Qualifiers will ‘soften’ a direct statementIn order to sound more diplomatic we should soften our direct statements. One way of doing this is by using qualifiers – words which we put before another word to make it sound less direct.
Here are some common ‘softening’ qualifiers in English:
- a little
- a bit
- a little bit
- one or two.
- The price is a little high.
- It’s a slight problem.
- I’ll be a little bit late.
- There might be one or two short delays with the delivery.
- We have to make one or two small changes.
- It’s a bit difficult to do.