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50 English Business Idioms.pdf

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50 English Business Idioms.pdf

  1. 1. 50 English Business Idioms That will help YOU in business meetings
  2. 2. 1. Ahead of the pack •Meaning To be more successful than the competition •Example “If we want to stay ahead of the pack, we’ll have to increase our marketing budget.”
  3. 3. 2. Back to square one •Meaning To start something over again because a previous attempt failed •Example “To make this software finally work, we have to go back to square one.”
  4. 4. 3. Ballpark number/figure •Meaning A very inexact estimate •Example “To give you a ballpark figure, how much the border wall to Mexico is going to cost, I’d say about 30 million dollars.”
  5. 5. 4. Big picture •Meaning Everything that is involved with a particular situation •Example “Working on all these details, we have lost sight of the big picture.”
  6. 6. 5. By the book •Meaning To do things exactly according to the rules or the law •Example “We told our auditors that we do everything by the book.”
  7. 7. 6. Corner the market •Meaning To dominate a particular market •Example “Amazon more or less corners the online retailing market.”
  8. 8. 7. Cut-throat •Meaning Very intense, aggressive, and merciless competition •Example “Competition in the food retailing business is cut- throat.”
  9. 9. 8. Easy come, easy go •Meaning Something gained easily is also lost easily •Example “I lost 500 Euros in a poker game last night, but that’s life – easy come, easy go.”
  10. 10. 9. Game plan •Meaning A strategy or plan for achieving success •Example “What is our game plan for dealing with our new competitor?”
  11. 11. 10. Get down to business •Meaning Stop making small talk and start talking about serious business topics •Example “Now that everyone’s here, let’s get down to business and start with the presentation.”
  12. 12. 11. Get something off the ground •Meaning To start something (e.g. a project or a business) •Example “Now that we have finished the planning phase, we’re eager the get the project off the ground.”
  13. 13. 12. Go down the drain •Meaning Something is wasted or lost •Example “All our efforts in entering this new market went down the drain.”
  14. 14. 13. Go the extra mile •Meaning To do more than what people expect •Example “To give our customers the best shopping experience, we go the extra mile.”
  15. 15. 14. Hands are tied •Meaning Not being free to behave in the way that you would like •Example “I’d love to help you, but my hands are tied.”
  16. 16. 15. In a nutshell •Meaning Using as few words as possible •Example “In a nutshell, we will run out of cash in three months time.”
  17. 17. 16. In full swing •Meaning At a stage when the level of activity is at its highest •Example “Construction of our new production site is in full swing now.”
  18. 18. 17. In the driver’s seat •Meaning To be in charge or in control of a situation •Example “Being offered the position of managing director, I’ll soon be in the driver’s seat.”
  19. 19. 18. Keep one’s eye on the ball •Meaning To give something one’s full attention and to not lose focus •Example “We should not diversify our product offering too much, but rather keep our eyes on the ball.”
  20. 20. 19. Learn the ropes •Meaning Learn the basics of something •Example “I’m learning the ropes in my new position.”
  21. 21. 20. Long shot •Meaning Something that has a very low probability of happening •Example “Winning the lottery is a long shot.”
  22. 22. 21. No-brainer •Meaning Something that is really obvious or easy •Example “Making money working for an investment bank is a no-brainer.”
  23. 23. 22. No strings attached •Meaning Something is given without involving special demands or limits •Example “They will let you try the product for free with no strings attached.”
  24. 24. 23. Not going to fly •Meaning Something isn’t expected to work out •Example “This product is definitely not going to fly.”
  25. 25. 24. On the same page •Meaning To be in agreement about something •Example “Let’s go over the contract details once more to make sure we’re on the same page.”
  26. 26. 25. Out in the open •Meaning Something that is public knowledge and not secret anymore •Example “Our financials our out in the open anyway.”
  27. 27. 26. Put all one’s eggs in one basket •Meaning To rely on only one thing to bring success •Example “It’s not smart to invest in American tech stocks only and put all one’s eggs in one basket.”
  28. 28. 27. Put the cart before the horse •Meaning To do or think about things in the wrong order •Example “Trying to find an investor without having a business plan is like putting the cart before the horse.”
  29. 29. 28. Raise the bar •Meaning To set standards or expectations higher •Example “The iPhone raised the bar for smartphone makers”
  30. 30. 29. Red tape •Meaning Official rules and processes that seem excessive and unnecessary •Example “The new law is going to create a lot of red tape.”
  31. 31. 30. Rock the boat •Meaning To do or say something that will upset people or cause problems •Example “Don’t rock the boat until the negotiations are finished.”
  32. 32. 31. Safe bet •Meaning Something that is certain to happen •Example “It’s a safe bet that computer processor speed will more than triple within the next 10 years.”
  33. 33. 32. Same boat •Meaning To be in the same difficult situation as someone else •Example “None of us has any money left, so we’re all in the same boat.”
  34. 34. 33. See eye to eye •Meaning To agree with somebody •Example “My boss doesn’t see eye to eye with me about our marketing campaign.”
  35. 35. 34. See something through •Meaning To continue until something is finished. •Example “I want to see this project through before taking on another one.”
  36. 36. 35. Sever ties •Meaning To end a relationship •Example “We had to sever ties with several suppliers due to poor product quality.”
  37. 37. 36. Shoot something down •Meaning To reject something (e.g. an idea or a proposal) •Example “You shouldn’t shoot down your co-workers ideas during a brainstorming session.”
  38. 38. 37. Smooth sailing •Meaning A situation where success is achieved without difficulties •Example “Once our largest competitor went out of business, it was smooth sailing.”
  39. 39. 38. Stand one’s ground •Meaning To not change one’s opinion or position •Example “They tried to cut my travel budget, but I stood my ground.”
  40. 40. 39. Take the bull by the horns •Meaning To directly confront a difficult situation in a brave and determined way •Example “My mid-level managers constantly delayed projects, so I took the bull by the horns and fired several of them.”
  41. 41. 40. Talk someone out of something •Meaning To convince someone not to do something •Example “We wanted to take on more debt, but our CFO talked us out of it.”
  42. 42. 41. Talk someone into something •Meaning To convince someone to do something •Example “I was reluctant to redesign our website, but my employees talked me into it.”
  43. 43. 42. The elephant in the room •Meaning An obvious problem or controversial issue that no one wants to discuss •Example “We should have discussed our pending litigation, but no one wanted to talk about the elephant in the room.”
  44. 44. 43. Think outside the box •Meaning To think of creative, unconventional solutions instead of common ones. •Example “Our current approach will get us nowhere. We have to think outside the box.”
  45. 45. 44. Time’s up •Meaning Time for something or someone has ended. •Example “I think his time’s up as the CEO.”
  46. 46. 45. Touch base •Meaning To make contact with someone. •Example “I will touch base with you later today.”
  47. 47. 46. Twist someone’s arm •Meaning To convince someone to do something that he or she does not want to do •Example “My boss thought the budget was a little high, so I had to twist his arm to get him to agree to it.”
  48. 48. 47. Up in the air •Meaning Something is undecided or uncertain •Example “Our international expansion plan is still up in the air.”
  49. 49. 48. Uphill battle •Meaning Something that is difficult to achieve because of obstacles and difficulties •Example “Gaining market share in this country will be an uphill battle due to tough competition.”
  50. 50. 49. Upper hand •Meaning To have more power than anyone else and so have control •Example “Due to my experience, I had the upper had in the argument.”
  51. 51. 50. Word of mouth •Meaning Something is given or done by people talking about something or telling people about something •Example “Many local stores rely on word of mouth to get new customers.”
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