Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Everyday English 1

4.7 Making your point

Whenever there is a group of people together there will be some who have more to say than others and some who are comfortable letting others do the talking. All of them have views that are equally valid. You will look now at how to get people’s attention when you want to say something.

Imagine the situation: a discussion is in full swing, you keep opening your mouth to speak, but no one seems to notice. You feel you have something important to say. What do you do?

Some people have the knack of getting attention when they open their mouths. Some have to think about strategies to use.

Two people you know are involved in an intense discussion. You need to interrupt to ask one of them to give you a lift later in the day. You go up to them hoping that they’ll notice you want to speak, but they just carry on talking.

You will probably say something like:

  • ‘Sorry to bother you but ...’
  • ‘I don’t want to interrupt; I just want to ask quickly …’

In this way you acknowledge that their conversation is important but still get to say what you want.

Likewise, there are times when you want to get your own point across in a discussion but everyone else is talking and you don’t get a chance. There are ways of interrupting:

  • ‘May I make a point here?’
  • ‘I’ve been listening to all that’s been said. I think …’
  • A loud ‘er’ can be very effective!

Depending on what stage the discussion is at, you may need to use different strategies. It may be that you’ve been wanting to say something and have been waiting for an opportunity. Now the discussion has moved on, but you still think that what you have to say is important. You could say:

  • ‘May I return to the point you were making earlier about ...? I think ...’

Always make sure that you are following the discussion and that your points are relevant. It helps to get other people’s attention if you introduce what you are going to say, for example:

  • ‘There are two points I think we need to consider here ...’

Activity 31 Self-reflection

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Think carefully about how you behave when discussing things with other people. How do you feel? What do you do? What do you say?

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


You might recognise yourself in one or more of the following:

  • I have a lot to say and I say it.
  • I enjoy listening to different points of view.
  • I’m conscious of how other people are reacting even if they don’t say anything.
  • I prefer to sit quietly and let other people speak.
  • I feel embarrassed speaking in a group.
  • People don’t listen to me. I can never get a word in.
  • I have strong opinions.
  • I’m easily influenced by others.

After working through this section, how do you think you need to change when discussing things with people?


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371