Accuracy with Language

WRITTEN November 29, 2018 Author: Rich Atkins

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 photocopier.”
  • “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?

Remove weak language (“I feel that,” “I think,” and “probably”) and then you will have statements of fact. Remember, experts know and speak in terms of facts.


Also, 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. 

As communicators, we want to gain the confidence of others. Communicating using accuracy with language builds credibility.


This content is a part of our Public Speaking curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.

 

Other Resources:

 

The Language of Fact and Opinion

Truth and Fact versus Opinion and Bias

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