5 Business English expressions to get you one step ahead of your English boss

Business English is full of interesting idioms and specific vocabulary that can be confusing if it’s new to you. A lot of business English expressions don’t have the same meaning when translated literally so it’s important to understand the meaning of the whole expression rather than just the individual words. Make sure you know the meaning of these five business English expressions to stay one step ahead of your English boss.

1. Please get me up to speed

This phrase has a simple meaning: “Please update me on what’s going on.” Your boss might say this when he wants an update on your progress with a project and you can give him a brief overview of progress so far to get him ‘up to speed’. If someone says this after entering a meeting a little late, then you should summarize what has already been discussed in the meeting.

2. Please keep me posted

This isn’t actually related to mail. The speaker just wants you to give him regular updates on what is going on. If someone asks you to keep them posted on the general progress of a project, you may want to say, “Ok. I’ll keep you updated.” Alternatively, if they are waiting for some specific information you can say, “Ok. I’ll let you know as soon as we hear something.”

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guy checking his phone

3. Take it and run with it

This is one of many business English expressions taken from the world of sports. IF you present an idea to your boss and he asks you to ‘take it and run with it’, he thinks the idea is good. He wants you to act on it and be creative in implementing it. One way to respond is to say, “Thanks! I’m on it!”

4. Can you get the ball rolling for us?

Think about a rolling ball. It’s rolling along quite nicely and smoothly. However, someone initially had to be the one to push or roll the ball to get it started. Your boss is asking you to do just that – to get a project started. Once you’ve ‘got the ball rolling’, then other people can join in to help you. The best way to respond is, “Sure. I’ll get started right away.”

5. Don’t drop the ball on this one

Here’s another business English idiom from sports. If you think of the ball as the project itself, to drop it would mean that you made a mistake or caused the project to fail. With this comment, the speaker is stressing the importance of the project by basically saying, “Don’t do anything wrong. Be very careful.” At this point, you should be reassuring. You can say, “Don’t worry, I’ve got it under control.” or “Don’t worry, you can count on me.”

Remember, as well ask knowing the meaning of these expressions, being able to use them correctly will help your English sound more fluent. So, have a go at using them at work and keep us posted on how you get on using the comments section below.

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Article related: 9 common business English expressions you need to know