Hi, welcome to this week’s episode of The Art of Business English. Have you ever been in an awkward situation and wondered how to express your discomfort in a polite way? Or have you ever needed to ask another person for something you need them to do without sounding bossy? In this episode we are going to review some expressions which will help you to achieve these purposes and pave the way to fix unpleasant situations smoothly.
Some of these phrases are useful to politely introduce a topic you need to discuss or to request a change of conduct; others convey that you are aware that your opinion might not be shared by the other person, but that you are asking for their consideration, and some others are used to make suggestions.
First, I will present you the expressions and then, give you an example on how to use them.
So, let’s see what we’ve got!
Do you know what I mean?
This phrase is regularly used when you think that the person listening understands and so you do not need to say any more.
“When you submit your report late, it puts the whole team behind schedule. Do you know what I mean?”
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There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about
This expression conveys that you have been thinking of how to deal with a topic for some time and it is useful to introduce it.
“There is something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about. It’s just that you often talk loudly on your mobile in the office and it’s disturbing when people are trying to work.”
I’d feel better if you warned me next time...
This expression is used to request a change of conduct, giving as an argument that the previous approach made you uncomfortable.
“I’d feel better if you warned me next time, you’re going to be late.”
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea…
This phrase it used to make sure that someone doesn’t think that something is true when it is not.
“I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, but you keep coming over to my desk and interrupting me to talk about your weekend and I have so much work to do.”
I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but…
Used when you don’t one to offend another person by a remark because they understood it wrongly.
“I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I think it would be easier for everyone if you sent out an agenda before holding a meeting.”
It would put my mind at ease if you’d…
This expression conveys that a change of conduct would make you feel calmer.
“It would put my mind at ease if you’d call me when you get home.”
Do you see where I’m coming from?
The phrase indicates one's motivation or reason for doing something or holding some position or opinion.
“I know that you like to be very perfectionist with your work, but we are falling behind schedule, do you see where I’m coming from?”
How can I put this? It just feels to me that…
This expression conveys that you have been thinking on how to communicate something in a polite way.
“How can I put this? It just feels to me that you don’t’ pay enough attention to what I say.”
There is something I’d like to talk to you about…
This phrase is useful to introduce a topic you need to discuss.
“There is something I’d like to talk to you about. I’ve been offered a position abroad and I’m planning to move by the end of the month.”
Maybe you should… How does that sound?
These couple of phrases are used to suggest what is the right or sensible thing to do.
“Maybe you should talk to Christian before taking a decision. How does that sound?”
How would you feel about...?
This expression is used to ask for an opinion.
“How would you feel about working in another branch for the next few months?”
I hope this doesn’t come as too much of a shock, but…
This phrase means that you don’t want someone to feel upset or surprised by your words.
“I hope this doesn’t come as too much of a shock, but I really want to quit my job in order to start my own business.”
I don’t want to upset you but…
This expression is commonly used to introduce bad news or an opinion which might be disagreeable for the other person.
“I don't want to upset you, but the way that you talk to your colleagues is very disrespectful and I think you need to change that.”
I hope you can see where I am coming from…
This expression has a similar meaning to “I hope you understand” and it refers to the reason for holding a certain position.
“I find it difficult to work when you are making noise, I hope you can see where I am coming from.”
I’m really sorry to have to say this but…
This is another useful phrase to introduce bad news or to communicate a difficult topic, it conveys that you would prefer not to do it.
“I’m really sorry to have to say this, but you should dress more formally when visiting our customers.”
Well, that’s all from me today. I hope that you enjoyed this episode and that it might help you to tune your English social skills when you face an awkward situation.
As always, if you have further questions or if you would like to add other useful expressions, then why don’t you send me a message on speakpipe below or drop me a comment on the blog.
Take care, till next week.