50 Advanced Business English Phrases and Expressions | English Vocabulary
Hi everyone, welcome back to English with Max. In this video we're going to look at 50 advanced phrases that are commonly used in business and work contexts. If you don't use English at work, you'll still probably find this useful if you're trying to improve your vocabulary, because many of these can also be used in other situations. Some of these are idioms and some are just collocations, in other words, words that are commonly used together. Before we get started I'd just like to thank the sponsor of this video which is the app Busuu. Now
a problem that many people face when they want to learn a new language is not knowing where to start. Do I start with grammar? Do I start with pronunciation? Should I use a textbook? Etc. Another difficulty if you're learning by yourself, and this is something that I've experienced when learning languages, is getting feedback. Busuu makes the process a lot easier with a series of lessons that are very easy to follow. And those exist for 12 different languages.
Another very useful feature is the feedback function. Basically there are various written and oral exercises in the lessons which you can submit to the Busuu community so that native speakers can provide corrections. There are also a couple of sections on the platform that are aimed at English learners who already have a relatively high level. For example, there's a section on Business English, and some of the phrases in this video are actually in that business course. I've been showing you what it looks like on a computer, but you can, of course, also use it on a phone. There is a free version with limited features, but if you click the link below, you can try Busuu Premium with a free 7-day trial period, so that you can test out all of the features that I mentioned.
Okay, let's get started with the phrases. Number one: a ballpark figure. A ballpark figure is a rough estimate of a number or quantity. For example, if frank has an amazing business idea (I don't know, maybe he wants to design an app that makes fart noises), I could say to him: I know you don't know exactly how much it's going to cost, but could you give me a ballpark figure? Number two is: to be on the same page. This relates to two or more people. It means to be thinking the same way about something or to have the same understanding of something. For example: We should talk to our client again to clarify some things. We need to be on the same page before we move forward. Next we have: to be snowed under.
This is informal. To be snowed under means to be very busy or overwhelmed because you have too many things to do. For example: I'm sorry for not being in touch. I've been completely snowed under at work. Number four is: to bring something to the table. To bring something to the table means to provide something that will benefit a group or a company, or to provide a useful skill. It's often used when
we talk about hiring or contracting people, and the skills or experience that they have. For example: I think Clara will be a good consultant because she's been working in this field for more than ten years, so she has a lot to bring to the table. Honestly, Frank didn't have much to bring to the table when I hired him, but I decided to give him a chance. Now we have: to bring somebody up to speed. To bring somebody
up to speed means to give somebody the most recent information about something. For example, if you've been away for a couple of weeks, you might say to one of your colleagues: Could you bring me up to speed on what's happening with that project? It's like saying: Can you update me on that project, or give me any new information? Number six is: by the book. This means by following rules or systems very strictly. Our boss does everything by the book, which has its pros, but some say that he's too rigid about things. This one is: to call the shots. To call the shots means to be the person in charge or who makes the decisions. For example: Olivia is our manager, but her assistant Natalie is actually the one calling the shots around here.
Now we have: to chair a meeting. You probably know the noun "chair", but did you know that it can also be a verb? To chair a meeting means to run or be in charge of a meeting. Our supervisor was sick, so I was asked to chair the meeting on Monday. This one is: a cold call. A cold call is an unsolicited phone call or visit with the aim of selling a good or service. "Unsolicited" means not asked for. People who make cold calls are contacting people who they've never contacted before.
You know when people who you don't know call you or come to your house trying to sell you something? That's a cold call. If you want to be a salesperson, you can't be afraid of making cold calls. It is also a verb: to cold-call. It simply means to make cold calls. For example: I'm sick of these energy companies cold-calling me all the time. An energy company is an electricity company. Next we have a contingency plan. A contingency plan is a plan for handling an emergency or for something that might or might not happen in the future. For example: You can't predict everything, so businesses need to have contingency plans in place to help them deal with unexpected events. A core competency. A core competency is a business's most
important strength. It's what makes it competitive or unique in relation to other businesses. Perhaps it's creativity, or innovation, or efficiency. It's also possible to have several core competencies. We need to refocus on our core competencies, if we want to gain more market share. Next we have: to discontinue a product. This simply means to stop producing and/or selling a product. They decided to discontinue the product because sales were much lower than expected. Next we have a dress code. A dress code is a set of rules or accepted standards regarding
what you should wear in a specific situation. Workplaces often have a dress code. For example: We have a casual dress code in my office, but that doesn't mean that we can go to work wearing shorts and flip-flops. Now we have: due diligence. Due diligence is a formal phrase. It's the act of carefully assessing things like costs or risks in order to prevent harm to oneself or others, especially before entering into agreements. I know that sounds a bit complicated,
but it basically means being careful about things and doing your research before making important decisions. It's important for companies to exercise due diligence before making major acquisitions. Next we have another formal phrase. This is: due to unforeseen circumstances. This means because of unexpected events. It's often used in emails to provide an explanation or to
apologise for something. For example: We regret to inform you that due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to postpone the conference until next year. Now we have an informal phrase. This is: to get the ball rolling. To get the ball rolling means to do something which starts an activity or process. At first everybody seemed reluctant to talk at the meeting, so Frank put forward his opinion just to get the ball rolling. In other words, he said something just to get the conversation started.
Next we have: to give somebody the axe. This is just an informal way of saying to fire somebody. For example: Tom kept arriving late, so one day his boss gave him the axe. Next we have: a glass ceiling. People often talk about "the" glass ceiling. This is a metaphor that is used to describe a point in a hierarchy that is very difficult or impossible to get beyond. It's usually used to talk
about the fact that it's often very difficult for women to be promoted to top management positions. Despite the fact that more women are working, many still struggle to break through the glass ceiling. Next we have: to go over budget. This simply means to spend more money than you planned to. We've gone over budget this month, so next month we need to watch our expenses more closely. Going forward. Going forward means in the future, or from now on. A lot of people don't seem to like this expression because they say it's overused and rather meaningless, but it's a phrase that's commonly used in the business world nowadays. We'll need to pay closer attention to our budget going forward.
Frank, going forward it would be best if you started work before 11am. This one is: a golden parachute. This is an informal phrase. A golden parachute is a large payment that an executive in a company (so somebody in a top management position) receives if their employment is terminated. For example, if a company is bought by another company and an executive loses their job, they will be guaranteed a large sum of money. The company was criticised for giving golden parachutes to executives who didn't necessarily deserve it.
Another informal phrase. This is: to have a quick word with somebody. To have a quick word with somebody just means to have a short conversation with somebody. For example: Could I have a quick word with you about the report before you leave? Next we have: to hit a target. This means to achieve a specific objective. For example, if you're a salesperson, you might be told that you need to sell 100 units of a product in a month. If you succeed in doing that, you can say that you've hit your target. When my team hit our targets, our supervisor took us out for dinner. This one is: in bulk. In bulk means in large quantities and usually at a reduced price. For example:
My office buys paper and ink in bulk to save money. The next one is: in the loop. In the loop is an informal phrase. It means having information about a particular subject or being part of the relevant discussions. It's usually information that only a certain group of people have. The opposite is out of the loop. My colleague sent me emails about the project while I was out of the office to keep me in the loop. That means that my colleague was sending me information
so that I knew what was going on. Next we have: an intangible asset. An intangible asset is something that a business owns that you can't physically touch and is difficult to measure in monetary terms. These include patents, copyright, brand names or even reputation. It can be difficult to calculate the worth of a company's intangible assets. The opposite to an intangible asset is a tangible asset. A tangible asset is something that a business owns whose value can be measured easily. They're mainly
things that you can touch like buildings and equipment, but a tangible asset can also be money in the bank. The business's most valuable tangible asset is a warehouse close to the city centre. Next we have: to keep on track. You can also say: to stay on track. This means to continue to work, act or progress in the way that is planned. For example: We've been doing well, but we need to focus and keep on track if we want to hit our targets. And now we have: to make a good impression. This is
frequently used in other contexts as well. It means to cause somebody to form a good opinion of you. If you want to make a good impression in a job interview, it's best to dress tidily and not wear T-shirts that have swear words on them. Next we have: market research.
Market research is the process of collecting information about consumers and target markets. It's important to do market research before launching a new product. Null and void. This is a formal phrase. It's a legal term which usually relates to contracts or
agreements. It means having no legal effect or not valid. It's a bit of a silly phrase because "null" and "void" basically mean the same thing, but it's nevertheless an expression that's commonly used. The contract became null and void when the supplier did not fulfil his obligation. Next we have: on a need-to-know basis. This means that people are only given the details that they need to know when they need them. It's to talk about things that are secret or confidential. I don't know all the details of the project because information is only being released
on a need-to-know basis. Now we have: a pain point. No, this is not about physical pain. A pain point is a problem or a need that a business's potential customers have. The idea is that once you discover your customers' pain points, you can better design your products and services. And marketing
strategies. Reading competitors' product reviews is one way to figure out people's pain points. Per my last email. This is a fairly formal phrase. It essentially means as I said in my previous email, or as previously discussed. Some people say that you shouldn't use it because it can be passive-aggressive. For example, some people use it as a polite way of saying: I already gave you that information. But I don't think it's always used like that. It can just be used to indicate when you mentioned something. For example: Would you be happy to proceed with
the plan per my last email? And now an informal phrase. This is: to put something on the back burner. To put something on the back burner means to postpone something or to temporarily not deal with something, usually because it's of low priority. We've decided to put that project on the back burner for the moment because we have some more urgent issues to deal with.
To reach a tentative agreement. This means to decide on an arrangement with somebody that's not certain or definite. We haven't written a contract yet, but we've reached a tentative agreement. Repeat business. Repeat business is a customer or client returning to buy goods or services from
the same company. For example: Focusing on repeat business is often more profitable than trying to attract new customers. Next we have: to run behind schedule. To run behind schedule means to do something or happen later than expected or planned. You can also say: to be behind schedule. We had to work late on Thursday because we were running behind schedule. Next we have: to run on schedule. To run on schedule means to happen at the time that was planned or expected.
If everything runs on schedule, the prototype should be ready by next week. Now we have: to secure funding. This is just a formal way of saying to get funding. "Funding" is money for a specific purpose. Funding might come from governments, investors or other individuals. Frank is currently trying to secure funding for his business idea.
Good luck, Frank. Next we have: soft skills. Soft skills. These are personality traits or behaviours that enable you to succeed in a workplace. They include things like communication and problem solving skills. Most employers these days aren't just interested in technical skills. Soft skills like time management and adaptability are also highly valued. A stumbling block. A stumbling block is a difficulty or problem that prevents progress. When you start a business,
it's normal for there to be some stumbling blocks, but those shouldn't make you give up. And now we have: to think outside the box. To think outside the box means to think differently, or to try to find solutions or methods that aren't always obvious. If we want people to remember this marketing campaign, we need to think outside the box. Through the roof. This phrase simply means at a very high level. For example: Prices have been through the roof lately. That just means that prices have been very high recently.
It's often used with "go". To go through the roof. Prices have gone through the roof lately. That just means that prices have increased quickly to a high level. Next we have: a tight budget. If you have a tight budget, you have a small amount of money to spend. The marketing campaign was done on a tight budget, but it was surprisingly successful. Now we have:
to touch base. This is an informal expression. To touch base means to talk with somebody or to exchange messages with somebody to find out how they are or what is happening. It's similar to "catch up with somebody". For example, a supervisor might say to somebody: I just wanted to touch base with you to see how your training was going. And you can't really
make a list of common business phrases without including: unique selling point (also known as USP). Unique selling point is what makes a business or product different or better than its competitors. Our unique selling point is that all of our products are made from recyclable materials. We're almost at the end, guys. This one is: to waive a fee. To waive a fee means to officially allow somebody not to pay an amount of money. For example, if your bank waives an account keeping fee, it simply means
that you don't have to pay it. We'll waive the installation fee if you sign a 12-month contract. That's something that internet companies often say, for example. And finally we have: word of mouth. Word of mouth is the process of people telling other people about a particular product, service or company, normally because they want to recommend it. It's normally preceded by the word "by". We get most of our clients by word of mouth, so we don't spend much money on advertising. That's it, guys. Thank you very much for watching. Remember that if you'd like to check out Busuu,
you'll find the link down below. I hope you found this useful. Uh... this was the first video that I've made on Business English. If you'd like to see more videos on Business English, just let me know in the comments. See you next time!