In today’s Business English Pod lesson, we continue our look at the language and techniques of arguing in meetings.
Imagine you’re in a meeting. You are expressing your opinion about something, when a colleague across the table interrupts you. He disagrees with what you’re saying, and he’s determined to make his point. What do you do? Do you sit back and smile? Or do you accept the challenge and defend what you’re saying?
This situation plays out every day in every office. Sometimes the discussion remains calm and the people remain diplomatic. But other times the conversation becomes more heated. At a certain point, it doesn’t seem like a conversation any more but an argument. People interrupt each other, they criticize and accuse, they defend themselves, and they become emotional.
Arguments are a normal part of working life. You can’t avoid them, so you’d better be prepared for them. In our last episode, we looked at several techniques for holding your own in an argument. Today we’ll look at several more key skills, including how to defend yourself against an accusation, how to correct someone, and how to dismiss trivial points. We’ll also learn about rephrasing another person’s words in an argument and bringing an argument back to a reasonable place.
We are going to rejoin Paula, Gavin, and Matt, who have been talking about a promotional event put on by their department store. The event wasn’t as successful as they had hoped for and Matt, Gavin and Paula’s boss, wants to figure out the reasons why the event failed. However, Paula and Gavin seem more intent on arguing about who is responsible rather than why the event was a failure.
1. What does Paula think Gavin could have done to give input on the planning of the event?
2. What does Paula think is not worth discussing?
3. What does Matt want to figure out?