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How To Use Diplomacy In Real Life




Five Rules of Thumb for Polite and Diplomatic Language Posted by Luke Thompson on March 21, 2012 Bookmark and

Share Our guest blogger Luke Thompson teaches at The London School of English and prod uces Luke s English Podcast, which won the Macmillan Dictionary Love English Award for Best Blog 2011. This blog post is about how hedging and indirectness in English can be used to e stablish a respectful and polite relationship between speakers. This is particul arly relevant in business negotiations in which subtle changes in tone can have an effect on the rapport between the counterparts, which in turn affects the out come of the meeting. Whether you use direct language or not depends on what kind of relationship you wish to have with your counterparts. Sometimes directness can be an effective ne gotiating style. Nevertheless, using indirect and diplomatic language is a way t o avoid sounding aggressive, which can put people off. It can allow you to say s omething negative while still maintaining a positive attitude, and generally it can help to create an atmosphere of respect in which reasonable agreement can be reached. Using hedging and indirectness in statements is something native speakers take f or granted. We do it automatically, especially us Brits. But learners of English have a tougher time producing this kind of diplomatic language. It could be a c ultural thing, or perhaps it is because polite language is often more complex du e to the vocabulary and grammatical structures used when hedging statements. Through my experience of teaching business English over the years I have come up with a number of pieces of advice which I always tell my students. The aim is t o help them to hedge their sentences, sometimes in simple ways. I ve tried to make the advice simple by making it into a list of five points. For some reason usin g short odd-numbered lists really helps people to digest information! So, here i s the list of my five Rules of Thumb for polite and diplomatic language. 1. Listen and be understanding If you show other people that you are listening to them, and that you understand them, they will be more willing to listen to you and accept your opinion. Don t j ust say I disagree , show them that you are listening and that you understand them before you explain your opinion. You can do this by using statements like: Yes, but I see what you mean, but I agree up to a point, but For example: I think we should wait until a better opportunity comes along. Yes, but we might not get another opportunity like this for a while. I think we should ask for a 20% discount because it will show them that we are s erious. I see what you mean, but I think 20% might be a bit too much. It might put them off. 2. Avoid negative words instead use positive words in a negative form People react to positive sounding words, even if they are used with a negative a uxiliary verb. Don t say: I think that s a bad idea.

com/five-rules-of-thumb-for-polite-a nd-diplomatic-language . and let me know if there s anything I ve missed in my list. If you re a teacher. those are my five pieces of advice for being polite and diplomatic. to disagree. If you a re a learner of English. and put the focus on I or So.Say: I don t think that s such a good idea. but I think that s out of the question. try to use them when you re speaking. Sorry. They might see through it. Use little words to soften your statements Break down negative sentences with some softeners. Don t say: You didn t explain this point. but I don t really agree.macmillandictionaryblog. Don t say: You don t understand me. Don t say: You need to give us a better price. bad cop approach in this negotiation! I don t think that s such a good idea. I m afraid. Don t say: I don t like it. Say: Sorry. Say: I don t really like it. I didn t quite catch that. Say: Perhaps I m not making myself clear. but can I just say something here? Sorry. Don t say: Can I say something? Say: Can I just say something here? Don t say: I didn t catch that. source : http://www. 4. consider ways you can help your students to communicate diplomatically. Avoid finger pointing statements with the word you This is aggressive and too direct. to apologise. 3. Say: I didn t understand this point. to show you don t understand. Say: We re looking for a better price. Try to avoid saying you we . 5. Say the magic word: Sorry This word can be used in many ways: to interrupt. Sorry. Let s go for a good cop. It defuses tension and it allows you to start a stateme nt more comfortably.