Imagine you are in an important meeting & you are asked to comment or answer a question, but you are not sure what to say, or how to express yourself well in the moment. You want to sound professional, confident & share your point concisely in English.
Sound familiar? There is nothing worse than feeling stuck, is there? And the last thing you want to say is, ‘Sorry, I don’t know,’ or ‘I am not sure’.
This happens surprisingly frequently & one of my clients described this situation to me almost as if she were frozen in the moment. The longer the pause lasted, the more uncomfortable & awkward she became, and that distracted her further from being able to focus on answering.
The first thing to remember is that there is a reason why you are in your current role. You have been recruited or promoted to be in this role for your professional skills, and people want to hear your opinions & thoughts, even if they are not perfectly formed every time in English. Remember, the objective is communication & connection, not saying it 100% perfectly.
However, you do want to sound professional if you are experiencing challenges to express yourself.
So, I am sharing with you today my English phrases you can say in the moment to buy yourself some time to think about what to say next, while still sounding natural & professional.
English phrases when you don’t know what to say next:
- That’s a good question, I’ve never considered that before, but if I were to give you my first thoughts….
- Mmm, let me think about that for a moment…I would say that…
- My initial thoughts on that topic are…..
- Thank you for asking me that, that is an interesting point. My gut instinct says….
- First/ to start with I think…., but also I could look at it from the point of view of….
- On the one hand… , on the other….., however saying that….
- Yes, I can see where you’re coming from. From my point of view…
- Off the top of my head, I think….
- Just thinking out loud for a moment…
So, how do you use these?
Clearly, you are not going to pause & ask them to wait while you look these phrases up again on my blog! So, there are a couple of ways to implement using these phrases practically in your own meetings:
- Print out the list of phrases & stick them onto or behind your laptop, so you can glance at them during an online call.
- Alternatively, choose 1 or 2 phrases in advance of your meeting that you want to try, just in case you get stuck. Write them down on a stick-it note or on your notepad.
- If you do have the chance to try a phrase in the meeting, make sure you reflect & capture your learnings immediately after the meeting:
- How did the other person/ people respond when you used the phrase?
- How did it feel using the phrase? How did it help your speaking confidence?
- Would you try the phrase again? If so, keep it noted!
- If the phrase did not work for you, I suggest you try it out in one further meeting situation, before leaving it to the side & selecting another phrase to see if it works better for you.
- Ideally, you are aiming for 2-3 phrases you can use comfortably in this type of situation.
So, which phrases do you prefer & find work for you?
Let me know your favourite ones, or please share with me if you have any other phrases you find helpful to sound natural & confident in English in the moment.
Victoria Rennoldson, Founder of Perfect Cuppa English
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