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Negotiations: language expert

Giving your personal viewpoint

When you are talking to people in a business situation, it is important to be able to make it clear when you are talking about a fact and when you are giving your personal viewpoint.  There are several ways that you can show that what you are saying is your personal viewpoint.

Verbs: mean, think, expect, believe, would like, understand

You can add a personal dimension to what you say, by making yourself the subject of your comment. See the examples below.

In unit 1, Michelle says: 'I mean I think I've made an effort... I think it's become less interesting'

In unit 2, Sean says: 'I expect you to do that job... I know it’s difficult...'

In unit 3, Abigail uses 'do' to give extra emphasis when she says: 'I do believe that what I've contributed to the department...'

In unit 4: Angela says: 'I'd like to help you.  I understand...'

Adverbs: frankly, hopefully, really, just

Adverbs are a useful tool to express a personal judgement or opinion.

'Frankly' means 'honestly and directly'.  It is often used when the speaker wants to prepare the listener to hear something that he or she knows will make the listener feel uncomfortable. 

In unit 1, Sean says: '...since then, frankly, I've seen very little change.' Sean also uses 'hopefully' to personalise what he says: '...hopefully you come back from leave refreshed...'

In unit 2 he says 'I really want to see some improvement...', and Abigail personalises what she says by using 'just' (meaning 'only') in unit 3 when she says 'I just think it's time...'


Sean uses several adjectives to express his personal views of a situation. In unit 1, he says 'I'm afraid that...' and in unit 2 he says:

'It's important that...'.  In unit 1 he combines an adjective with an adverb to say: 'I wasn't particularly happy...'

You can use all these techniques to indicate that a statement is your personal viewpoint – whether what you are saying is good news or bad news for the listener!

A note about context
When choosing your words, it's also important to think about your relationship to the person you are talking to, since this can affect how your words are understood.

For example, if your boss says to you 'I'm afraid you'll have to work late tonight', it could be understood as a polite instruction rather than an apology. But if you say to your boss 'I'm afraid I'll have to work late tonight', it might be seen as an apologetic way of telling your boss that you haven't managed to finish your work for the day!