TOP Business English Idioms and Expressions

Grover Laughtonreviewed bySana Liashuk / more about Editorial Process13 min
Created: Jul 25, 2022Last updated: Jan 24, 2024
TOP Business English Idioms

The mode and manner in which conversations are being held is a major priority as your manner of speech if not accurately structured can be a turnoff for your potential clients or employer. This is why the decision to pick up learning business English idioms and phrases will be a great choice on your part.

Learning business English idioms and phrases may seem limited to the business world alone but it will do you a lot of good even outside the business world. This is mainly because your grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary will be positively affected.

The Importance of Learning Business English

Understand how the business world works

By intentionally taking the time to study business English idioms and phrases, you'll be doing yourself a whole lot of favor as you'll get to gain an understanding of how the business world works for free. 

Get the job you want

Proper self-expression has become one of the important factors in considering if a person is to be employed. Being good with self-expression is not about you speaking just fluent English especially if you'd like to secure a great job at a multi-million dollar organization. For an organization to be able to grow to the stage of controlling millions in dollars, you would surely know that a lot of work has been put in place. And such organizations will never want to risk employing anyone who will offer less than their standards.

Stepping up your game by learning business English idioms and phrases as an American or a citizen of any country will not only help you secure a job but also get you promoted ahead of your colleagues who have failed to improve themselves.

Sound more professional

The implementation of business idioms and phrases in your speech as a business tycoon will help your partners see you as someone highly experienced and highly capable.

The business world is professional and if you must excel therein, your professionalism must be evident in the way you dress, act, and most importantly, in the way you speak. High-profit gigs are mostly given out by clients that demand professionalism. Therefore, developing yourself in this regard will increase the probability of you landing high-paying clients.

This means your decision to learn business English will not only be beneficial to you but also your business.

Read more about office English and work slang and idiomatic expressions.

The 12 Business English expressions You Need

Business English

●   The ball is in your court

Meaning: The final decision is yours to make. Decide what to do on your own.

●   Behind the scenes

Meaning: This means something was done in privacy.

●   On the same page

Meaning: It means you have the same mode of reasoning or ideas as the person involved.

●   In a nutshell

Meaning: It means to cut a long story short.

●   It's a long shot

Meaning: An action with a low probability of success or being correct.

●   To touch base

Meaning: To quickly have a meeting with someone or to have a short discussion with someone.  

●   Kill two birds with one stone

Meaning: Proffer a solution to two problems using the same method or procedure.

●   A win-win situation

Meaning: A situation with great results irrespective of the method employed.

●   Cool as a cucumber

Meaning: To be in charge of your actions and reactions to happenings around you.

●   Go back to the drawing board

Meaning: Begin something afresh from its initial stage.

●   Hot potato

Meaning: A topic or discussion everyone refuses or refrains from discussing.

●   Beat the clock

Meaning: Complete a task on time, before the due date.

General business expressions

●   Ahead of the pack                   

To be way ahead of others who seem like competitors in different areas. For example; Let's focus on increasing our working hours if we truly want to be ahead of the pack.

●   Back to square one                

To begin something from scratch because of the failure of the actions taken earlier.

For example; Despite the huge amount of money I earned last year, I'm back to square one.

●   Ballpark number/figure           

A non-precise figure.

For example; I'm not sure of the exact amount the new laptops will cost but I'll give you a ballpark figure which is about 1000 dollars.

●   Big picture

To see the big picture in a thing is to see the whole process or steps involved when working towards a cause.                                                               

For Example; If we must complete this job, we'll have to check out the big picture.

●   By the book                              

This means to do things exactly as instructed without deviating or any addition to what has been said.

For Example; You must complete this task by the book if you want to keep working with us.

●   Corner the market                   

To remain ahead of the competition in a market.

For Example; Nike has been cornering the market since the 90s.

●   Cut-throat                                 

Very intense, aggressive, and merciless competition.

For Example; Competition in the food retailing business is cut-throat.

●   Easy come, easy go               

It means anything gained on easy ground will be lost as quickly as it comes.

For Example; Your money is not safe in gambling. Remember that life is easy come, easy go.

●   Game plan

How an expected end is to be achieved.

For Example; Your business is nothing compared to its competitors, What is your game plan?

●   Get down to business            

This means focusing on what matters instead of dealing with trivial matters.

For Example; Why are you still standing there? Get down to business now!

●   Get something off the ground

To begin the implementation of something.

Dor Example; Once I'm done with the first stage in this task, I'll get the second and third phases off the ground.

●   Go down the drain                  

This is used to express something that was squandered.

For Example: Why did you do it this way? You just made all of my efforts go down the drain.
Business English Idioms

Business expressions to start a meeting

●   To open with

Definition: To commence by speaking about something.

Example: To open with, I'll be reading the report from the previous meeting.

●   To hand over to

Definition: To allow someone else to continue what has initially been started.

Example: After my tenure is completed, I will be handing over to Theresa.

●   On the agenda

Definition: Something fixed in a to-do list to be spoken about.

Example: The last thing on the agenda is the closing prayer.

●   To get down to business

Definition: To deal with the more pressing issues instead of handling the less pressing ones. talk about the most important issues.

Example: Let's leave this aspect for later and get down to the business of the day.

●   To kick off

Definition: To begin.

Example: We'll be kicking off the meeting by checking the list of our debtors.

●   To take the minutes

Definition: To jot all that was spoken about in a note.

Example: Andrew is the new company secretary and it is his turn to take the minutes.

Other business expressions to start a meeting;

●   Since you are all set, shall we proceed?

●   I'd suggest we commence since we all are on seats.

●   Let's go straight to the issue of today.

●   Let's begin. Shall we?

●   There's a lot to do today. Shall we begin?

●   Good morning, all. It's great to have you here.

●   Welcome to today's meeting. To begin with …

●   I will like to appreciate every one of you for showing up today.

●   I'm glad you all made it to today's conference.

●   Before we proceed, let me do a bit of introduction.

●   With a round of applause, let's usher in …

●   Kindly join me in welcoming …

●   It is my delight to introduce …

●   Before we proceed to the business of the day, join me in welcoming …

●   To start with, I'll be introducing the newly transferred …

●   I consider it a great honor to usher in …

●   I am … Can I know your names?

●   To start with, all new employees should do a brief introduction about themselves.

Corporate expressions to get down to business

●   Today, we will be discussing …

●   I called this meeting because …

●   My focus for calling this meeting is to …

●   You all were invited to this conference to…

●   Kindly take a look at the agenda with you. We will be discussing …

●   Let's take a look at this section of the agenda before …

●   To start with, we’ll focus on the …

●   Once we're done with this aspect, we'll move swiftly to …

●   After this, we'll …

●   Considering our time, let's address …

●   After my speech, … will be taking over to …

●   Lastly, let's check through …

●   After the briefing… I'll be delighted to hear your points of view.

●   To cap it all, let's …


Asking practical questions

●   Can you take a recap? I don't seem to get you.

●   I don't seem to be able to connect with your point of view. Could you kindly rephrase?

●   I'd suggest you take this all over. Or could you explain in clearer terms?

●   Do you feel the task will be accomplished with this idea? Or how will it be implemented?

●   Are you trying to say that …?

●   I suppose this is what you're trying to pass across to us … (rephrase what has been said with other words but the same meaning).

●   Did you mean to say …?

●   Kindly spell that word. Or can you pronounce it in a clearer tone?

●   Can you spell that word? (repeat what they said in your own words) … is that what you mean?

●   Is this process reliable? How do you intend to go about it in detail?

●   Are you sure the following … would provide us with an accurate result? 

Business words list for the main part of the meeting

●   You've got a great idea there but I'll suggest we look more into it tomorrow so we can move to the next section on the agenda.

●   We'll see to that area as time goes on.

●   Looking at our time, we'll address this at a later date.

●   Our time is far spent. Let's get to the next business of the day.

●   What is the next issue that needs to be resolved? Time is not on our side.

●   I have just a few minutes left to end my speech, let's look into the next section.

●   How about we discuss this at a later date? We still have a lot to cover. 

●   Let's keep this aside till when we are done with the other aspects of the agenda.

●   Our time is almost up, let's quickly scan through …

●   We should conclude this section before moving to that one. One at a time, please.

●   Let's try to listen up. That can be talked about at a later time after today's session.

●   This is not listed among the sections to be treated today. Kindly move to the next thing.

●   This can't be discussed now. We'll include it only in the next meeting's agenda.

●   Let's take a thorough look at the next section.

Can you politely interrupt? Yes. We'll tell you how

●   Yes, you're on point.

●   I'm in full support of …

●   Please, permit me to buttress that point you made.

●   Can I add my point of view as regards …?

●   If I'm permitted, I would suggest …

●   Can I chip in my point of view, please?

●   Can you kindly be more audible? I'm finding it difficult to grasp what you're saying from behind.

●   Please, can I add my contribution to …

●   The statement you made earlier is a great one. Can I chip in my point of view?

●   I do not agree with you as regards this section.

●   I feel this plan is not realistic enough. Can I kindly share my thoughts?

●   I'm sorry for chipping in but can I air my opinions as regards …

●   In my opinion, I don't think …

●   If I would share my contributions. This method …

●   Excuse me, can I share my thoughts? Thank you. I feel that …

●   (Name), Is there any positive feedback regarding …?

●   (Name), can you let us in on the report from last week? We will need to compare the results.

●   Alright, (name) kindly come over to explain …

●   (Name, did you finally finish up with the …?

●   (Name), what is the feedback from last week's research about …?

●   Do you all have the documents to …?

●   (Name), kindly come forward to share your views on what has been discussed?

●   Excuse me, what do you think is the way to resolve this …?

●   Pardon me, do you think this will work out?

●   How about we review this form?

●   What do you think about …?

●   (Name) will take us through … before we round up today.  

●   The next aspect to be looked into is … and it will be taken by (name).

●   Let's proceed to the next aspect which is …

●   If there are no more opinions and contributions from anyone, let's move to the next thing on the agenda.

●   I'm sorry to chip in unannounced but from experience, I don't think this will work out.

The best ways to end a meeting

●   Is there any aspect of the agenda that has been left untouched?

●   Does anybody have anything else to chip in?

●   Is there any other information?

●   In the absence of contributions, opinions, or views, let's bring the meeting to a close. 

●   Let's scan through the main points that were enlisted today so we can draw the curtain.

●   In conclusion …

●   Let's go over all the main points before we call it a day.

●   I guess that will be all for today, thank you for taking part.

●   I think we should finish here.

●   We seem to have been very efficient today, so let’s wrap up early.

●   We have covered everything on the agenda, so let’s end it here.

●   If there is nothing else to add, I’d like to adjourn the meeting.

●   If there are no other comments, I’d like to wrap this meeting up.

●   Lest I forget, ...

●   Before we bring today's meeting to a close, I'd sincerely like to appreciate …

●   If there are other suggestions, opinions, or ideas, do not hesitate to reach out to me via …

Bonus: sentences that make you sound smart

●   We can leverage this.

●   We need to think out-of-the-box.

●   Let me do some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations.

●   This involves a lot of moving parts.

●   Let's not try and boil the ocean.

●   Let's peel the onion further.

●   My ballpark estimate is...

●   That's a very cookie-cutter approach.

●   We got to take this from soup to nuts.

●   We are talking an X percent delta here...

●   So, what is the value proposition here?

●   I'm just thinking laterally here.

●   Let's blue sky a bit.

●   We are creating a body of work.

●   We don't want to be cannibalizing our product.

●   WHY is not the question but HOW?

●   What are the details of this plan?

●   How can we attract customers that are as influential as our existing ones?

●   Can we have a more detailed conversation after lunch?

You can also practice how to pronounce business idioms and expressions with this video.

Wrapping up: professional business English is the key to success!

Most assuredly, stepping up your speaking game by the adoption of business English will do you and your business a lot of good. You will begin to sound smart through your speeches, can be assured of getting promoted, a new high-paying job, land high-paying clients, and many other benefits. You've got this with Promova!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are trite business phrases?

Trite business phrases or business cliches are statements that sound appalling in the ears of business tycoons when you use them. If you are fond of using statements like 'With all due respect', 'To be honest', 'It is what it is', and others like them, you sure are not doing your business any good as they are examples of trite business phrases. This is the reason learning English business phrases and idioms or corporate expressions with Promova will be of benefit to you.

How to find small business terms and phrases?

Business terms can be confusing. Finding easy-to-use terms can be tasking as well. Taking up classes on the Promova platform will be very helpful to guide you in your search.

What are three business phrases that show optimism?

● Cut corners “To cut corners” means to carry out an assignment in a carefree manner in a bid to complete it fast without following the due processes involved to get a perfect result. ● Back to the drawing board To go “back to the drawing board” means to begin a task all over with fresh opinions that will serve as ideas to aid the completion of the task. ● Drill down into To “drill down into” something means to search further and deeper towards a cause to get better and quality information.

What phrases should I use to attract customers?

See for yourself. Do you want to (include the advantages and disadvantages of your services)? What do you have to lose?


MarianSep 19th, 2023
as someone who works in a multinational company, these idioms are a game-changer for my everyday conversations)
Piers DoggettJun 20th, 2023
I am personally familiar with several of these idioms and expressions, and I can attest to their effectiveness in conveying specific meanings and creating a rapport with native English speakers in a business setting.