3 Ways To Sound More Assertive When Speaking English At Work - Business English

speaking practice Apr 18, 2021

Tip #1: Try and leave out modal verbs

Modal verbs are great when we want to make polite, diplomatic requests, but they can also come across as somewhat weak, especially when we are trying to get our point across in a full room. 

So instead of using words like “could”, “would”, “might” and “should”, use WILL instead. It comes across as stronger and more assertive. 

For example - WILL you send me that report by the end of the morning? When will you let me know? Will you give me a chance to say my piece, please?  


Tip #2: Avoid words and speech that undervalues what you say.

 A lot of the time non-native English speakers will use words that really undervalue what they are trying or wanting to say. So in this section, I’m going to give you a few different phrases that I often hear in meetings, and then I’m going to give you a stronger, more assertive way to say the same thing. 

One thing I always hear is: "excuse me, but could I quickly say something? Instead, SAY - "I want to say something, please." 

Another common one is the phrase, “I guess”. GUESS conveys to the listener or audience that we don’t really believe in what we’re saying, so instead, SAY - I believe, or I honestly think…


Lastly, and probably the biggest trap most of you make, is overusing apologies and the word SORRY. Sorry is a great word, but we should use it for genuine, apologies and it shouldn’t be overused as it undermines our message. So remember, you should only be using the word “sorry” when you have actually made a mistake and want to admit and own up to it. 


Tip #3: Use "My Statements”

My statements can deliver your points with strength and conviction. Just listen to how these example “I statements” sound. 

  • I believe
  • I want
  • I feel
  • I need
  • I’m more than sure
  • I’m certain
  • I will


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