Minimizing Problems

Comparative Adjectives in English By following a few simple techniques you can make any problem sound less serious. Learn how to resolve your difficulties more easily, in business and in life.

Rebecca is talking about how to minimize problems and create greater agreement with interlocutors. You’ll probably recognize some of these both psychological and verbal techniques when going over them because you’ve heard them in various business contexts in different places. These effective strategies help you communicate with your customers and family as well.


Qualifiers are words softening message tone/intensity.

a slight delay

Suppose you work for an airline. A flight is going to be delayed and you have to announce this to 350 tired, anxious passengers. Naturally you’re not going to say ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to have a long delay’. If saying that, the reaction will be harsh. Instead, a polite announcer would say ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we’re sorry to announce we have a slight delay of your flight toLondon’. It might be a long delay but making a delay slight we ease tension. You can use this technique quite effectively in lots of different situations, personal and professional.

a bit of a problem

Saying to somebody ‘We have a huge, gigantic problem!’ would exaggerate its extent/degree. In fact, it might be a really big problem but by minimizing it you make it more possible for people to feel psychologically that they can resolve this problem.

a slight misunderstanding

We have a slight misunderstanding here.

a small disagreement

We have a small disagreement with the client.

It’s something you can resolve, some situation you can overcome.

a little more time

We need a little more time to complete the project.

Perhaps you ask for a little more time several times to make up a lot of time. But initially if you ask someone for a lot of time, they’re likelier to say ‘No’. Asking for a little more time encourages saying ‘Yes’.

a few changes

We need to make a few changes in the contract.

It may take you days/weeks/months to make these changes and in fact there may be a lot of them.