Disagreeing in a meeting can be like walking through a minefield. In an English meeting you might find yourself often saying ‘no’, or ‘I disagree’. This language is strong and final, and has its function and place. Here are a few more examples of how to disagree strongly
- I totally disagree
- I couldn’t agree less
- It’s not possible
- You’re quite wrong
- I can’t see that idea working
- This option isn’t feasible
- It’s just not suitable at this time
- It will be very difficult to implement
Disagreeing using ‘but’
If you use a more cooperative approach and are trying to move together towards a mutually agreed decision, you can try softer language. In the section on Agreeing in meetings, the following language was introduced. It offers the advantage in combining your ‘no’ with a ‘yes’
- I see what you mean, (but)
- I see your point, (but)
- I can see what you’re getting at, (but)
- I see where you’re coming from, (but)
- I hear you, (but)
- I know what you’re talking about, (but)
- I’m not against it , (but)
- You have a point, (but)
It is also possible to say ‘no’ in a meeting without ever saying the word ‘no’. You can show that you disagree but simply asking a question.
- Are you sure about that point?
- What’s the evidence to support that idea?
- Is that really true in this case?
- Won’t that idea put us even further behind schedule?
- Have you considered … ?
- What about …?
|Tim:||We could cut costs by reducing our R&D budget|
|Donna:||Are you sure about that? Reducing R&D could destroy our competitive advantage in the long term.|
|Tim:||I see where you’re coming from, but our new strategy as a low cost producer requires less focus on R&D|
|John:||I can’t see that idea working. The R&D budget has already been cut substantially.|
|Donna:||Cutting the R&D budget is just not feasible at this time.|