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Expressions for giving an opinion in meetings

Participating in a meeting can seem like a pretty scary thing to do, especially if you are not a native English speaker. Sometimes you are asked to give your opinion on a range of topics, and this can cause some people to freeze, mumble or speak quickly making no sense at all.

The worst part of not being able to give your opinion clearly is that you don’t get the respect or credit that you deserve. I mean, imagine this, you are the expert in your company of a given topic and because you can’t confidently give your opinion then your opinion is ignored, and your expertise wasted.

This is incredibly frustrating, but I know exactly how you feel. Making people understand your opinion is an essential business skill.

If you struggle with giving your opinion, then in today’s episode you will be learning all the tips and tricks to give your opinion in three important ways. Firstly, I will teach you to give a strong opinion when you are very convinced of something. Secondly, I will show you how to give a neutral or standard opinion and finally, I will show you how to give a tentative opinion.

In the last part of the episode I will also give you some expressions to also help you ask others for their opinion. This will be a big help when keeping the meeting moving and making sure you don’t do all the talking.

Remember, take note regarding tentative opinions. This is an important skill to have, you don’t want to give your opinion on something that you are not 100% sure about.

So, with that being said let’s dive into today’s episode.

Giving a strong opinion

When you are sure about something or feel strongly about a certain topic, or you are trying to convince people, it is sometimes necessary to give a very strong opinion. Remember, words are powerful, so with the below expressions you can transmit to the other people in a meeting that you have a lot of conviction or feel strongly about the opinion you are giving.

Let’s take a look at them.

  • I firmly believe that…
  • I’m absolutely convinced that…
  • I’m certain that…
  • I have no doubt that…
  • As far as I am concerned… 

You can see here that we are making it very clear to anyone listening that we hold a strong conviction about the opinion that we are presenting. 

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Giving a neutral opinion

Sometimes in a meeting we want to express an opinion, yet we feel neither strongly nor weakly about the idea. We are only participating showing others that we hold a view on something.

Neutral opinion giving is the most common form of opinion giving used by people. When I am training students to give an opinion, I always encourage them to avoid using “I think”, this is the most common and overused.

English offers you many more alternatives to “I think”, so we should try really hard to vary our use of expressions for giving a neutral opinion.

I am going to show you some great alternatives below:

  • I think/believe/feel/consider/suppose that…
  • In my opinion,
  • From my point of view,
  • To my mind,
  • In my eyes,
  • I hold the view that,

Watch the episode here

Now that you have these expressions in your toolbox of expressions, you can start to use them and stop using “I think”. This will be much more helpful when you are also writing. These expressions will help you to avoid repetition and make you sound much more native and confident.

Giving tentative opinions

In the next section we are going to look at giving tentative opinions. These expressions are extremely useful. We need to be aware of them as sometimes we don’t have all of the information or we are not an expert on a topic and it is hard for us to offer either a strong or neutral opinion.

To put these into context, we would often use them when we don’t have all the information, or we don’t want to commit to something. Additionally, we feel that the situation may change and therefore we may also wish to change our opinion or, finally, we don’t think we are the most knowledgeable person to be offering and opinion.

Let’s take a look at some great expressions for offering a tentative opinion:

  • I guess that,
  • It seems to me that,
  • I am under the impression that,
  • It is my impression that,
  • As far as I can say,
  • I gather that,

As you will see, these expressions are not a strong way to express your opinion. They transmit to the listener that you are not 100% sure of the opinion that you are giving.

Know the difference between strong, neutral and tentative opinions is very important, as you can change the meaning of your message by just changing a few words.

Asking people for their opinion

In the last part of today’s episode, we are going to be looking at some expressions that you can use to include others in a meeting. It’s great to be able to offer your opinion, however, sometimes we need to ask others for their opinion.

If you need to ask someone for their opinion, then you can use one of the following expressions:

  • What’s your opinion of…?
  • What’s your position/view on…?
  • What do you think of…?
  • John, can I get your input on…?
  • Mary, could you share your impression?

Final thoughts

Participating in meetings does not have to be a stressful experience. You can clearly express your opinion using this set of expressions. The best part is you will know if you are giving a strong opinion, neutral or tentative one.

Understanding the messaging between these different degrees of opinion giving is essential to you becoming a better communicator in English. Native people are very sensitive to understanding the differences. You need to make sure you understand them too, in order to avoid in misunderstanding.

Well, that is it for this week. Make sure you put some of these expressions in to practice in your next business meeting.

Comment below and tell me your favourite expressions for giving opinions.

I look forward to having you next week. Till then, take care.

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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