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Hi, I'm Anne Marie with Speak Confident English and welcome to your Confident
English Wednesday lesson. Earlier this year I did a lesson on everything you
need to know when you want to complain about a bad day in English. Imagine that
you've just had a terrible day and you want to talk about it with your friend
or your coworker. But sometimes you need to make a
complaint and you need to be effective and polite so that you get what you want.
You resolve a problem or someone fixes something for you. And that is our focus
today: how can you complain in English politely so that you get what you want
in the end?
Let's imagine that something went wrong - you had a terrible haircut at a salon or
you ordered something from Ikea and it was missing some parts
now you can't build your bookcase or a client missed a deadline - in all of those
situations you might want to make a complaint and you want someone to fix
the problem, you want a solution. To get us started on this topic we need to
focus on indirect language in English. Indirect language is used to soften the
tone. You're still polite and you are saying what you want but you're not
being too aggressive or even threatening. You're being careful about showing that
you're frustrated or angry. Remember your goal is to get a solution, to get
something fixed and to do that we need to have a professional, polite, and
effective tone in English. Let me give you a couple of examples to show you
what I mean by indirect language. If I order something from a company and they
send me the wrong product or they don't include everything that I need, I'll need
to call the company to make a complaint and I might say: I'm sorry to have to say
this but you sent me the wrong part. I'm sorry to say this but you sent me the
wrong order. I'm sorry to say this... Now in reality I'm not really sorry. I'm
actually frustrated or angry, upset because I really wanted this product
today. But remember, my goal is to soften my language. If I'm too aggressive or I'm
too threatening I could be offensive to the other person
and they won't want to help me. I really want them to help me solve this problem
so using indirect language for example I'm sorry to say this
but... that helps us soften the language so that we can get what we want. Another
great example is: perhaps there was a mistake in the order. Perhaps there was a
mistake in the order. Now with that example I'm not blaming anyone. I'm not
blaming the person I'm speaking to, I'm simply saying there was a problem
without being too aggressive or direct. And finally another example is: excuse me
but I think there's a problem. Excuse me but I think there's a problem with my
order. In each of those examples that I gave you, using words like I'm sorry,
perhaps, excuse me... those, again, help use indirect language so that we are polite
and effective in making our complaints. Now as usual in the online lesson I've
given you many more examples of common expressions that English speakers use to
make complaints indirectly and you can review all of those to find which ones
are easiest for you to remember and use when you need to make a complaint. Now
using that indirect language is essential when you want to politely and
effectively complain in English but let's look at a few other ways that will
help you do that. Number one keep your voice calm. Yes, I know that you might be
furious inside, you might be really angry. Maybe someone made a huge mistake and
there are some terrible consequences. You might be truly angry but you want to try
to keep your voice calm and smooth. So if you need to practice beforehand, do
something before you have to make that phone call to get all of that anger out
so that when you make the complaint you can keep your voice calm. A second useful
tip is use modal verbs. Modal's are those
words like could, should, would, might and those again help us soften the language.
They're not so strong or direct so you might say something like: could you help
me with this? Who should I speak to about this? Who should I talk to about this
problem? Would you be able to help me? In all of those examples I'm using modal's
to be more diplomatic and polite in my request for help.
The third tip is to end your complaint with a question not a demand. And let me
explain what I mean. If I make a complaint and I'm talking to someone on
the telephone, I've told them what happened, why I'm upset and that I really want
this problem fixed, I could say: I want you to fix this or fix this. But that is
a demand and it's very direct, it's very strong and aggressive. Just changing that
into a question and using a modal softens it it makes it more diplomatic
and polite. For example, how can we fix this or what can you do to help me fix
this? Is there something that you can do to help me solve this problem? In each of
those examples I'm using a question to request help and most people, when
someone asks them for help, they can't say no. It's really hard to just say no
to someone when they politely ask for help. So that small change can be really
effective when you have to make a complaint and you want someone to help
you solve the problem or get it fixed. And my final tip for effectively and
politely complaining in English is to always explain why you are upset
or frustrated or angry. And a great way to do that is to use something like:
perhaps there was a misunderstanding but I'm really frustrated because... or I'm
really angry because... that simple expression is perfect for introducing
your reason for being upset. It's still indirect - we're using that word perhaps
which softens the language - it's polite and it's effective. It helps the other
person understand why you're angry and when we do that in a polite way it makes
it easier for the other person to help us. So with that you have essential tips
for how to effectively and politely complain in English so that you get what
you want so that you solve the problem. As I mentioned, I do have more examples in the
online lesson so you can review all of those and then be sure to check out the
challenge question at the end of the lesson so that you get practice and
feedback. Now if you liked this lesson be sure to give it a thumbs up on YouTube
or share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook. Thank you so much
for joining me and I'll see you next week for your Confident English
Wednesday lesson.
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How to Complain Politely in English and Get What You Want

1060 Folder Collection
Samuel published on July 9, 2018
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