Opinion and Fact Depend On Audience
Express opinion and fact in the correct settings to make your point effectively. For example, when expressing an opinion among friends, instead of saying that something “is the best,” say, “I think it is the best.” Here is where phrases like “I feel,” “I think,” and “I believe” work very well. You’re sharing a belief with friends. It’s fine to use those examples of soft language. In personal discussions about opinions, it’s not necessary to use strong language. In fact, opinions stated as fact with friends (“That movie was the worst …”) may alienate them.
In business, it’s different. “I feel,” “I think,” and “I believe” weaken your position. They take away your credibility as an expert. Think about how these examples come off as sounding lame, or wishy-washy:
- “I feel that we need a new photocopy machine.”
- “I think you’ve got some decay on that molar. The tooth is probably going to have to come out.”
They don’t inspire much confidence, do they?
Take away the weak language (“I feel that,” “I think,”and “probably”) and then you will have statements of fact. Remember, experts know the facts.
As communicators, we want to gain the confidence of others. Communicating accurately builds credibility.
Remember, when using statistics make sure they are researched and accurate. Sometimes, people say things like “I’m 99 percent sure that …” A statement like that is almost never believable.
This information is from the Improving Communications Effective Business Writing class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.