There are many times when someone will need your agreement on points that were raised during a conversation. To do that, they may ask if you’re okay with what’s been said.
People who are good at communicating will usually ask precisely for what they need. However, sometimes you’ll have to guess what’s being asked because the other person has not put their request across clearly.
They may ask if you’re cool with that or if you have any questions. So how should you respond to “ok?”
If you agree with the previous statement, respond to “Ok?” with a nod and “Yes, all right.” If you are unsure or disagree, say so clearly and ask for clarification. For example, “No, I need more information about this decision. Could you provide more detail on this?”
Observe Their Body Language
Sometimes a person’s body language can tell you more about exactly how they expect you to respond. They may not be sure how they should continue with the conversation, so they’re trying to get information from you by asking questions.
Another person may have a conversation style that’s different from yours. It might make it harder for them to understand exactly where you are in the conversation. They might also find it difficult to read your body language to know whether you need more information, need to think about what they’ve said, or want to change the topic of conversation.
Sometimes, they may even be in a hurry and want to move on but they want to be certain that you’re also at the same place. Their facial expression can give you more information so you’ll know what you’re responding to.
Using okay might just be another person’s way of asking whether you have any more questions. They’re not in a rush and are perfectly willing to stay with you and talk about the issue for another hour or more. However, they’re trying to determine what your thought process is like.
If you’ve asked a customer service representative for information, you might find yourself in this type of situation. They’ll explain how a product works and if they’re not trained to use questions that help them to understand if the client is at ease with the level of information that they have, they’ll simply revert to “okay?”
Ask for Clarification
If someone has given you an opening to say that you’re not okay and you require more information, you should take it.
You could say:
“No. I’m not okay. I need some more information.“
“You had raised a point earlier about this device not being compatible with other tools made by this manufacturer. Could you explain further?“
“I need some more information on the dates. Could you provide me with that?”
Tip: Read our full guide on how to politely ask for clarification.
Pause for a Short While
It’s perfectly okay to pause during a conversation. A pause gives you time to reflect on everything that has just been said. It also allows you to carefully consider your next words.
How long that pause will be, depends on several factors. For example, if you know the person with who you’re speaking well, you’ll know what type of pause they’re comfortable with. Similarly, in some cultures a fairly long pause is appropriate.
However, in others, a pause of the same length might lead to worry or uncertainty.
Say You’ll Think About It
Sometimes okay is used to gain your agreement on a particular point or action. However, in either of those situations, you may be uncomfortable agreeing to what has been said immediately.
You may need time to consider all of your options or respond to what has been asked of you. In that case, say that you’ll need a few minutes or even a few days to think about what has been said.
To indicate that you’ll require more time to give your response, you could say:
“I understand what you’re saying. Give me a few days to think about it.“
“I can’t give you a response right now but I understand the urgency. I’ll get back to you before the end of business today.”
“I’m not in agreement with that and I would like some more time to think about other solutions.”
Change the Direction of the Conversation
Sometimes you’ll notice that a conversation is headed in a particular direction. The other party may try to get a few small agreements from you and then progress to a big yes.
If you notice that they’re building up towards your agreement on a major issue, you can divert their course early on. When they say okay, you can simply change the topic. This tactic is most effective when you know that the other person is trying to manipulate you and doesn’t want your input.
You can take things in a slightly different direction if you only disagree in minor ways with what has been said. If you disagree completely you may need to make a drastic shift in the conversation. Make it clear that you’re not okay with whatever they said.
Introduce an Alternative
If you’re not in agreement and the other party seems open to discussion, you might want to consider introducing an alternative to whatever they’re proposing.
When they say okay, you could say:
“No. I don’t agree with that. I was thinking that Thursday would be better.”
“No. I don’t see it that way. I thought that red would be more effective.”
“No, I don’t agree. Do you have any other options that you would like me to consider?”
Confirm That You Agree
People may sometimes use “ok?” near the end of a conversation via text or telephone when they want to be sure that you’re both on the same page. If you realize that this is the case, you can simply agree by saying:
“Yes. That’s fine by me.”
“Yes. I agree with what you’re saying.”
“I completely agree.”
“Yes. That also works for me.”
“Yes. We can do it that way.”
You can also give a quick nonverbal response. For example, you can nod to indicate that you agree and by doing so, you’ll also increase the other person’s level of agreement. 
You could also give the person a thumbs up. You could even smile and wink if it’s appropriate for the situation.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.