Sweet darling,

You’ve probably done it.
And maybe you’ve done it without realising it.
I know I’ve done it.
And I realised it….too late!
Done what?

Disagreeing with someone in a way that could be perceived as being too ‘blunt’ or ‘aggressive’.

You know – saying things like ‘No way.’ ‘No.’ ‘That won’t work,’ etc. All of these work beautifully in Dutch and in Dutch culture. However, in English, depending on the situation, they might be perceived as being too harsh. Way too harsh.

So let’s smooth out the edges a bit.
How about trying one of these phrases in your next international meeting or negotiation session?

“Thanks so much for that suggestion, but I’m afraid that’s not going to work for us right now.”
“I understand your position, however we are unable to commit at this time.”
“We appreciate your offer, but unfortunately, that’s beyond our budget this year.”

Do you see what all of these have in common?
There’s a secret formula.
(Which will not be secret any longer because I’m going to REVEAL IT TO YOU RIGHT NOW.)

1. Start out with something nice – “Thanks so much”, “I understand your position”, “We appreciate your offer”, etc
2. Use softening language – “I’m afraid…” “However…”, “Unfortunately”,etc.
3. Disagree
4. End with a temporary time indicator – “right now”, “at this time”, “this year”, etc.
5. Enjoy the idea that no one hates you and that you sounded really professional and awesome!

I hope that helps.
Of course, there are situations where these won’t work, because they might be considered to be too formal or polite.
But guess what?
There are tons of situations where these WILL work.
And it’s always good to be prepared!

If you think you will never need these phrases at work, I can only disagree. But I will do so politely!

Let me know how your next meeting goes! I think you’re going to rock! Don’t you agree?

XX Buffi

PS: There are only 2 spaces left for Songwriter’s Day! This is my way of giving back to new talent. It’s half-price, private 1-hour coaching sessions, on Feb 24th in Den Bosch. If you’re interested, hit ‘reply’ and I’ll send you the info! Feel free to forward this mail to all the artists in your life! X