Office English: 20+ Popular Phrases to Communicate with Colleagues
So you finally mastered your office English to enough level to use it for your future work. But apparently, there are still situations where you can’t find the right words to describe your thoughts or ask your colleague for help. Sounds familiar? There is no wonder why.
Even though using English is ubiquitous in different fields of activity, many people don’t know how to use it correctly. There are several reasons for that: first, most phrases are very context-specific and can be used only in particular situations. Second, some expressions are too formal or informal to use daily. In this article, we would like to help you with that and provide you with a list of the most popular workplace English phrases with explanations and examples.
What is effective workplace communication?
Workplace communication is the process of exchanging information and ideas within an organization. It can be verbal or written, formal or informal, one-on-one or in a group. The primary purpose of workplace communication is to ensure that everyone in the company is on the same page and understands what needs to be done.
However, effective workplace communication is not just about exchanging information. It’s also about building relationships, creating a positive work environment, and motivating employees to do their best.
Finding the right balance between too much and too little communication is key to effective workplace communication. You also need to ensure that your messages are clear, concise, and timely.
Why is it important to learn business English?
It is essential to learn the English office language for many reasons. First, it can help you to get ahead in your career. If you can communicate effectively, you will be able to impress potential employers and clients, and you will be more likely to succeed in your chosen field.
Another reason why it is essential to speak the professional language in the workplace is that it can help you conduct business more effectively. If you can communicate clearly and concisely in the language, you will get your point across more effectively and find it easier to negotiate deals and contracts.
Finally, learning English for office communication can also help you better understand international partners. If you are familiar with the language, you will be able to follow discussions and debates more efficiently and be better placed to make decisions about international business matters.
There are many ways to use business English phrases and words at work properly. If you want to do it yourself, try reading more business literature, listening to podcasts, and checking out thematic magazines from time to time. You can also seek help from professional tutors. Many offline teachers will tell you how to use English at work. And you can also find an online English-teaching platform, like Promova. Here you can learn everything about business language with experienced tutors.
20+ phrases to communicate better in the office
Like in social life, many different situations that may catch you in the workplace. And that is why there are plenty of communication phrases that can be useful for you. Let’s take a closer look at the most common ones.
Phrases for practical Issues
So, what are you doing at the workplace? Doing your job...mostly. That’s why you should first remember the office phrases that can be helpful in different practical situations.
- Can you help me with…?
This phrase is one of the most important and valuable in any workplace. Sometimes you may need to ask your colleagues for help. And it is the most polite way to do so. For example:
Can you help me with this report? I can’t seem to find the correct data.
Could you show me how to use this software? I’m not very good with computers.
- Do you have a minute?
This phrase is also widespread in the workplace. You can use it when you need to talk to your colleague but don’t want to bother them too much. For example:
Do you have a minute? I need to ask you about the project we are working on.
- I’ll be right there.
This phrase is usually used to let your colleagues know you are coming and will be there in a minute. For example:
I’ll be right there. I just need to finish this report.
- What do you think?
This phrase will come in handy if you need to ask for opinions or suggestions. For example:
What do you think about this design? Should we change something?
Phrases for small talk
Office conversation is an integral part of communication in the workplace. It helps to build relationships, make a good impression, and create a positive work environment. Here are some phrases that will help you make small talk and sound more like a native speaker.
- How are you?
This phrase is probably the most common one when it comes to small talk. You can use it to greet or ask about your colleague’s wellbeing. For example:
How are you today? Did you have a good weekend?
- Good to see you.
This phrase is usually used as a greeting or when encountering someone you know. For example:
Good to see you. How have you been?
- What’s new?
Use this phrase to discover what’s happening in your colleague’s life. For example:
What’s new? I haven’t seen you in a while.
- Did you hear about…?
This phrase can be used to start a conversation about something that is happening in the office or discuss the latest news. For example:
Did you hear about the new project we are starting next week?
- Have you seen this?
You can use this expression to draw your interlocutor’s attention to something. For example:
Have you seen this article about the new trends in web design?
- I’m sorry, I have to go.
When the small talk turns into a long conversation, and you still have a lot of work to do, use this phrase. For example:
I’m sorry, I have to go to a meeting now. I’ll talk to you later.
- Have a good one!
This phrase is usually used as a way to say goodbye. For example:
I have to go now. Have a good one!
Phrases for a telephone conversation with a colleague
In today’s business world, having to make telephone calls to colleagues is widespread. Here are some useful phrases that will help you sound more confident and professional on the phone.
- Hi, this is...
This phrase is used when you start a telephone conversation with someone you know. For example:
Hi, this is John. I’m calling about the presentation we are supposed to give next week.
- Who am I speaking to, please?
If you don’t know the person you are talking to, use this phrase to find out their name. For example:
Who am I speaking to, please? I’d like to talk to Mr. Smith, please.
- Could you put me through to...
If you need to talk to someone specific, use this phrase. For example:
Could you put me through to Mr. Smith, please? I have a question about the presentation.
- Can you hold the line, please?
This phrase is used when you must put the person on hold for a minute. For example:
Can you hold the line, please? I need to check something.
Phrases for talking to colleagues via email
Email is another common way of communication between coworkers. There are many different situations when you have to send an electronic letter. And here are some phrases that will help you sound more professional in such correspondence.
- I hope this email finds you well.
It is a great way to start your letter. For example:
Hello! I hope this email finds you well. Can you please tell me details of the project you are working on?
- It is a quick follow-up.
You could use these words at work for emails if you didn’t get the answer from your colleague. It is a polite way to remind them about your discussion. For example:
Hello, Jane! It is a quick follow-up on that letter I sent you last week.
- I’m writing to you regarding…
If you didn’t contact the person before, you need to explain to them the reasons for your letter. You can use this sentence to start. For example:
I’m writing to you regarding the meeting planned for next week. Will you be able to join us?
- Looking forward to hearing from you.
This phrase would be the best way to end your letter. After explaining your topic in the body of the email, use it to show the person you are contacting that you are waiting for their reply. For example:
Thank you for your attention! Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Phrases for important negotiations
If you work in business, you probably know that negotiations are a big part of your job. Here are some useful phrases to help you sound more confident and professional during important meetings.
- I’d like to start by…
This phrase is used to introduce your topic of discussion. For example:
I’d like to start by discussing the budget for the project.
- As I see it…
You can use this phrase when you want to give your opinion on something. For example:
As I see it, we need to increase the budget for this project. Otherwise, we won’t be able to finish it on time.
- I was hoping we could…
This phrase is used to make a suggestion. For example:
I was hoping we could increase the budget for this project. That way, we would be able to finish it on time.
- I’d like to add something.
Use this phrase when you want to say that you have something to add to the discussion but don’t want to interrupt the speaker. For example:
I’d like to add something. I think we should also consider this option.
- Can we take a 5-minute break?
Use this phrase when you need a break during the meeting. For example:
Can we take a 5-minute break? I need to make a phone call.
- I’m not sure I understand.
Use this phrase when you want to say that you don’t quite understand what is being discussed. For example:
I’m not sure I understand. Could you explain it again, please?
- Thank you for your time.
This phrase is used at the end of the discussion to thank the person for their time. For example:
Thank you for your time. I think we made some excellent progress today.
Phrases for presenting your work
When presenting your work to colleagues, it is essential to sound confident and professional. Here are some useful phrases that will help you do just that.
- I’d like to present...
It is a great and polite way to start your presentation. For example:
I’d like to present my findings from the research I have conducted.
- As you can see from the data...
This phrase is used when you want to draw attention to a specific part of your presentation. For example:
As you can see from the data, there has been a significant increase in sales since we launched the new product.
- Are there any questions?
If you want to check if anyone has any questions, use this expression. For example:
Are there any questions? If not, I’ll continue with the next part of my presentation.
- Thank you for your question.
When someone asks you a question, after all, don't forget to thank them using this phrase. For example:
Thank you for your question. I’ll answer it now.
Phrases to communicate with a manager
If you need to communicate with your manager or supervisor, it is essential to sound professional and confident. Here are some useful phrases that will help you do just that.
- I’d like to discuss...
This phrase is used when you want to talk to your manager about something specific. For example:
I’d like to discuss the progress of the project we are working on.
- Can I have a minute of your time?
This phrase is used when you want to talk to your manager, but he doesn’t have much time. For example:
Can I have a minute of your time? I just wanted to update you on the progress of the project.
- I’d like to request...
It is a great expression to ask your manager for something. For example:
I’d like to request a raise. I have been working hard and feel that I deserve it.
- Can we schedule a meeting?
Use this phrase when you need to talk to your manager about something, but he is busy, and you can’t talk now. For example:
Can we schedule a meeting? I’d like to discuss the progress of the project with you.
- Is there anything you’d like me to work on?
This phrase is used when you want to know if your manager has specific instructions for you. For example:
Is there anything you’d like me to work on? I’m finished with my current tasks and looking for something to do.
- I have a question about...
This phrase is used when you need clarification from your manager about something. For example:
I have a question about the project we are working on. Can you explain the task in more detail?
How to expand office vocabulary with Promova?
If you really want to learn some tips on using English for workplace, you should install the Promova application on your device right now. This convenient app was created for students of all experience levels, so you can definitely find suitable lessons for yourself. You can also practice how to pronounce office slang with this video or the movie “The office”.
Using the Promova app, you will expand your office vocabulary and improve your communication skills. It will help you feel more comfortable and confident at your workplace – speaking with your colleagues, negotiating with potential customers, talking on the phone, or discussing important topics with your boss.
How to improve your business English?
You can do a few things to improve your professional language in the workspace. First, make an effort to learn new vocabulary related to your industry. Try finding the necessary words in trade magazines, thematic books, or online. Then do some practice using this vocabulary by writing or speaking about work-related topics. And finally, use as many different Business English resources as possible to get exposure to various business topics.
Why is English important at work?
English is essential at work because it is the most commonly used language in the business world. By learning business English for the workplace, you will be able to communicate with colleagues and clients worldwide. In addition, many companies require employees to have a specific English proficiency level before being hired.
How to become a confident English speaker at work?
How can I improve my English for office culture?
Here are some things you can do to familiarize yourself with the office culture and improve your English for the workplace:
- Read business books or articles related to your field. Attend seminars, webinars, or conferences related to your industry.
- Practice speaking with colleagues, friends, or family about work-related topics.
- Use Promova to learn new vocabulary with the office words and improve your communication skills.
These simple yet useful tips will help you improve your speaking skills in the workplace. Use them and feel more confident when communicating with colleagues, managers, or potential clients.