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10 Business English Expressions You Need to Know

In the business world there are a ton of very common expressions used in daily conversation that don’t make a lot of literal sense. In this lesson, you’ll learn 10 common business expressions to help you sound more fluent and professional.

Be sure to watch to the end of the listen- I've included a quiz to test your learning! :)

Phrases and sentences used in this lesson:

1. Back to square one: to start over from the beginning when you haven't made any progress and may have failed completely

The client didn't approve any of the initial designs, so we're back to square one.

If this doesn’t work, we’re back to square one.

2. Back to the drawing board: to start over from the beginning and develop a new plan because the first one didn't work

The new facebook ad design didn't convert like we'd hoped, so we're back to the drawing board.

They rejected the proposal so it’s back to the drawing board.

3. Bring someone up to speed: to give someone all the latest information about something

Before we meet with the team, let me bring you up to speed on the latest developments.

Can someone bring me up to speed before the morning meeting?

4. Get down to business: to get serious and focused about what needs to be done

Now that introductions are over let's get down to business.

Now that all the distractions of the holidays are over, it’s time to really get down to business. 

5. Be on the same page: when two or more people are thinking the same way and are in agreement

I want to make sure we're all on the same page about how to handle this moving forward.

I’m so glad we’re all on the same page.

6. A long shot: when something has little chance of succeeding

I know it's a long shot, but let's give it a try and see what happens.

It’s a long shot, but it’s the best idea we’ve come up with.

7. Get the ball rolling: to make something begin or happen

If we want to wrap up by 5 we'd better get the ball rolling.

(Bonus idiom- to "wrap up" means to complete or finish something successfully)

We need to get the ball rolling on this project immediately.

8. To look at the big picture: to look at the situation as a whole, not the tiny details

Let's take a look at the big picture to determine the next logical steps.

It’s easier to make a decision when you can see the big picture.

9. Gray area: an area of uncertainty, an undefined position

There's a lot of gray area here about what's legal and what's not.

There’s a lot of gray area on the issue of cell phones in the classroom.

10. Bring to the table: to provide or offer something useful

She was the right person to hire. She brings a lot of experience and some essential skills to the table.

The proposals are very similar in terms of what each vendor brings to the table.

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