How To Enter An Ongoing Conversation Politely

How To Break Into A Discussion By Gene Griessman

I heard a guest on CNN use the following power phrase to get into the discussion:

“I’m going to differ slightly from the other people on the panel.”

Here’s why I recommend this particular power phrase. One, it is courteous. By using the word ”slightly,” you send a message that you value parts of what had just been said.

Two, it creates enough space for you to present an entire thought, not just a question or a brief comment.

After you are in the conversation, you may “differ” much more than “slightly.”  But you have the floor.  So use it. You may in fact be able to point the discussion in an entirely new direction.

If you decide to use this power phrase, you can modify it to “I’m going to differ slightly from what’s just been proposed.” Or you can abbreviate it: “I’m going to differ slightly”…and then present your idea.

The goal is to get your idea heard, and this power phrase helps you do it with virtually no friction.

The Words Lincoln Lived By

“Not a single Lincoln quotation that’s spurious in the entire book.”

“This is a book to cherish and share.”—Bill Marriott, CEO, Marriott International, Inc.

“Not only does Griessman give us Lincoln quotes, but he also weaves each one into a little jewel of an essay on that particular subject.” Wayne C. Temple, renowned Lincoln scholar, Illinois State Archives

A stirring, inspirational treasury of quotations from our greatest and most admired president.

You will also enjoy Lincoln Speaks To Leaders by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams.

Don’t leave yet. You’ve found a goldmine. Check out additional power phrases and unusual quotations.


Gene Griessman is a thought-leader who's celebrated around the world for his books, training videos, and memorable presentations. As an actor and playwright, he has performed at Ford’s Theater, the Georgia Dome before 25,000, the Lincoln Memorial, and aboard the famed carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln. He has conducted exclusive interviews on TV and in print with Presidents, actors, sports stars, and business leaders. He has won numerous awards including the Benjamin Franklin Award. he has performed his Lincoln one-man play at Ford's Theatre. His award-winning book “The Achievement Factors” is considered a classic. “Time Tactics Of Very Successful People,” published by McGraw-Hill, is in its 43rd printing. “The Words Lincoln Lived By,” published by Simon & Schuster is in its 23rd printing. He is author of “Lincoln Speaks To Leaders,” “Lessons from Legends,” “Lincoln’s Wisdom;” and the celebrated training film “Lincoln On Communication.” He is a member of the Television Academy. His newest book "Lincoln and Obama" has just been released by Audible.
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