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Rubrica di Jeffrey Flew

Business English with Jeff. Column 1: Common Business Expressions

Jan 24, 2020

Welcome to the first in a series of Business English columns I will be publishing on Cafetalk. In this first column I will introduce some common English expressions and idioms used in business and work situations. These types of expressions are commonly used by native English speakers but often have a "figurative" or hidden meaning which can make it difficult for those learning English as a second language to understand their meaning.

They are commonly used in business, especially during meetings, presentations, job interviews and networking events so it's very useful be able to recognize and understand them when you hear them or better still start using them yourself. 
So, let's explore some of these expressions and find out what they mean and in what context or situations they are used.
1. get straight to the point
Meaning: To talk about the most important thing first. Commonly used when there is something very important to say or if running short of time and want to say the most important thing immediately.
Example: Let me get straight to the point. If we don't start cutting costs the company will be bankrupt within six months.
2. hear it on the grapevine
Meaning: To hear some information through informal channels or an unofficial source. For example, overhearing a conversation about a colleague while in the office tea room.
Example: I heard it on the grapevine that Allan's been fired. Is it true?
3. beat around the bush
Meaning: to talk about many unimportant topics because you want to avoid talking about what is really important. Often because the important topic is difficult, unpleasant or embarrassing.  
Example: Stop beating around the bush and tell us what you think of the proposal.
4. go the extra mile
Meaning: to put in extra effort, more than is required or expected in order to achieve something. A boss may ask this of his staff or team when working on a very important project or an urgent deadline is approaching.
Example: This is a very important client, so I need you to go the extra mile to ensure they are totally satisfied. 
5. on the same page 
Meaning: when two or more people understand and agree about what is being done or suggested. Often used when multiple people or teams are involved in a major project or undertaking to ensure they all work effectively and in a unified manner. 
Example: Let's have a team meeting to ensure we're all on the same page about our sales targets for this month.
6. in a nutshell
Meaning: to summarise or sum up an issue briefly or in a few words. Commonly used when there is not enough time, or it is not required to give a detailed explanation.
Example: To put it in a nutshell, our customers don't like our latest product.
7. in the loop
Meaning: to be kept informed about something or be part of a particular group making an important decision. Often used to keep important people (such as senior management) who are not directly involved in a project updated on its progress.
Example: Please keep our lawyers in the loop about all communication we have with this contractor.
8. ballpark figure
Meaning: a rough estimate or approximation of a value or cost of something that has not been fully or accurately calculated yet. Often used in the early stages of a project or important decision, before there has been time to do detailed analysis.
Example: So how much are we looking at to upgrade all our factories? Give me a ballpark figure.
This is the first of many columns on Business English I will be publishing here on Cafetalk in the near future. I have more than 15 years of experience in the business world working for companies such as Nomura Securities, Lehman Brothers, Citi Group, NTT Japan and Qantas Airways. And I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with you here on Cafetalk. For those wanting to know more about my Business English and Commuication Lessons and Courses please use this link:  https://cafetalk.com/lessons/detail/?id=195418&lang=en

Feel free to contact me at any time to discuss your Business English needs or any other English language learning requirements or interests you have. I teach not only Business English but also English Conversation, Grammar, Communication, Listening and Reading skills, Vocabulary, Preparation for English Tests such as IELTs and can also tailor lessons specifically to your individual needs. I also offer a free introductory consultation to all prospective students, so please get in touch and let me help you achieve your goals in English language learning.

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