A zillion years ago, before I came to Japan, I took a short introductory course on Japanese. In it, they showed a video of a business meeting where an American businessman is speaking to a Japanese businessman.
The Japanese businessman kept saying
「はい、はい」 throughout the business meeting. The result being that the American assumed that the Japanese guy had agreed to the proposal they discussed. However, the Japanese person was only saying
はい as a way of expressing agreement that he heard and understood what the American was saying.
From there, it was explained that in Japanese, agreement is often about the person making the statement, not the topic.
はい can be used to mean "I agree to the degree that it allows this conversation to continue." A little like saying "sure, okay" in English.
In English, I can differentiate between agreeing with a premise and agreement with a person. If I say "yes", I am definitely agreeing with the premise. If I say "sure", I'm going along with the person, leaving room to be ambivalent about the premise.
I'd like to get better control of the same thing in Japanese. Without resorting having to express myself with lengthy sentences or explanations, how can I be sure I'm conveying that I agree with a premise or with the person?
Are these appropriate for stating definite agreement with a premise:
Are these more ambivalent?
Are there other phrases and words I can use to be clear in differentiating whether I'm agreeing with a person or a premise?
Please note I'm specifically looking verbal ways of handling this, not other contextual clues like gestures or facial expressions. I would like to be able to express myself clearly in writing and on the phone as well as in person.