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How to Have Polite Conversations in English

How to Have Polite Conversations in English

Whether you are a babbling baby or a senior citizen reminiscing over the past or just having a general conversation in English, conversation happens everyday and is the key to communication. I am going to take you back to the very young school stays where it all started on that cold school hall:-

In the younger years at school, each morning would begin with an assembly where you all had to go and sit quietly and find out what‘s been happening in and outside of the school.  It was mandatory to begin by saying ‘good morning’ to the teacher in charge and then ‘good morning’ to everybody.  This is a very polite way to start your conversations and is often overlooked on a daily basis outside of school. We raise our children to be polite and respectful and as adults this kind mannerism seems to float away in the distance.  When you start something new, it is a good idea to start at the beginning..

Before you start your conversation there are a few things to think about:-

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 feedback. One thing that I always think is important, is to make eye contact, this really shows that they have your full attention.  I never trust anyone that avoids eye contact with me!

Try avoiding negative words and keep things on a more positive level.

People react to positive sounding words, even if they are used with a negative auxiliary.

Unpolite version: I think that’s a bad idea.

Polite: I don’t think that’s such a good idea and explain why, keep them interactive (keep it positive) with you and don’t just shut them down.  If you shut them off you will find the conversation has ended and will be difficult to resume from there.

Be brave and say that little magic word that seems to fix everything: Sorry

This word can be used in many ways: to interrupt, to apologise, to show you don’t understand, to disagree. It diffuses tension and it allows you to start a statement more comfortably.

Sorry, but please let me just say something here

Sorry, but I don’t really agree

Sorry, but I think that’s out of the question

Sorry, I feel that I was in the wrong, can we talk about it, please.

See, you just said sorry, how hard was that!  Easier than you thought.

Use words that soften your statements.

Break down negative sentences with something a little softer.

Don’t say: I don’t like that

Say: I don’t really like it I’m afraid

Don’t say: Can I say something?

Say: May I just suggest something here please

Don’t say: I didn’t hear that

Say: Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that

Avoid pointing your finger and being too direct by using the word ‘you’

Body language can be used when explaining and speaking but if used in the wrong way, it can also be too aggressive. Avoid direct words and focus on ‘I’ or ‘we’.

Don’t say: You don’t understand me.

Say: Perhaps I’m not making myself clear.

Don’t say:You didn’t explain this point.

Say: I didn’t understand this point.

Don’t say: You need to give us a better price.

Say: We’re looking for a better price.

Non native English Speakers can often come across as being rude but if you look into their eyes and read their body Language, you will understand that it’s simply just a slight difference in the translation.  As a nation the English are known for being too polite so everyone else just seems rude to us, but this is simply not the case.  

In the real world most conversations are now done via a phone call, modern technology seems to have had a negative and positive impact on communication and socialisation.

Communication skills are not too different to the road safety guides, and so it is important to Stop, Look and Listen.

Who will you have a conversation with today?  Will it be a work colleague, a friend, clients at a business meeting or perhaps an English Language School like English Language Homestays to book your next English Course?

It doesn’t matter who it is with, just enjoy it.

Be Polite Make Eye Contact Don’t Point The Finger

Don’t Be Too Direct Use Your Manners Wisely

Sorry is NOT the Hardest Word be Positive

Learn English have Polite Conversations in English

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