Advanced Business English – phrases Only professionals use


You may have noticed that there are some English phrases only professionals use. People use different vocabulary when they are at their workplace, in a job interview, or when they are giving a speech. It’s quite different than how they speak in a casual situation with their friends or family.

In this lesson, Go Natural English teacher Diane shares 15 little tricks and phrases only professionals use.  You can use them, too, to quickly sound much more professional in English.

Do You Lack Confidence When Using Business English?

Today I’m going to help you improve your business English by looking at 15 very common expressions that are used in a professional setting. Try them at your next business meeting, or if you just want to sound more fluent and professional at work.

If English is your second language, it can be very intimidating when you need to use professional English at work or in a job interview. I remember feeling that way because I lacked confidence in my speech. The first thing to remember is that confidence can take you a long way, even if you’re not a fluent English speaker! If you need tips on how to introduce yourself during a job interview in English, click here!

Business English Is Different

Than Casual English

Keep in mind that what we’re going to learn today is not really used in casual conversation. For example, you wouldn’t use business English when talking to a friend, on a date, or at a party. You may find that there are some phrases you will use in both situations, but today we’re going to talk about phrases you will need in business.

What to do?

First, I really encourage you to start paying attention to how your bosses or coworkers talk to each other. Then, pay attention to how your friends sound outside of work. There will probably be a big difference! Also, notice that when you watch TV shows and movies, the characters make a clear distinction when they are in a business setting and when they are in a casual setting.

You can also apply these business English phrases only professionals use to write emails you may need to compose at work.

Top 15 Business English Phrases in American English

1. “Go Back to the Drawing Board”

This means starting with a new idea after all other ideas have failed. This phrase can also be used casually. Maybe you had a lot of ideas for something you wanted to do with a friend, but they all failed.  You can say, “Let’s go back to the drawing board.” It just means, “Let’s start over.”

Let’s go back to the drawing board since our last idea didn’t really work out with the client.


2. To “Touch Base”

To “touch base” means to stay in contact after a meeting. You might schedule a brief follow-up meeting after a presentation or consultation.

I will touch base with you to see how the project is coming along.


3. To “Reach Out”

To “reach out” means to contact someone. It might be a phone call, an email, or something else. “Reach out” is not very specific. It just means to contact someone to see if they have everything they need to continue working.

Can you reach out to the client to make sure that we are good to go?


4. “Forward Planning”

“Forward planning” means the same thing as “planning.”

Is crucial for our business to grow.


5. To “Elaborate”

This phrase, “let me elaborate,” is another way to say “explain something in detail.”

He will elaborate on our business plan during the meeting today.


6. To “Be Proactive”

To “be proactive” means to take initiative on a task or a project without being asked.

We always need to be proactive to get more sales.


7. Do Your “Due Diligence”

To “do your due diligence” means that before you make a decision, you research it very carefully.

I did my due diligence before accepting the deal.


8. “Going Forward”

“Going forward” simply means that from this time on, something different will start.

Everyone needs to come into the office at 7:00 am instead of 8:00 am.


9. A “Brief Overview”

A “brief overview” is a summary of what was discussed at a meeting or in a presentation.

Let’s give them a brief overview of what we talked about last week in the meeting.


10. “Down the Line”

“Down the line” means in the future.

Things might change down the line so we need to be proactive and adjust to these changes.


11. The “Best Course of Action”

Taking the “best course of action” just means the best plan.

Our best course of action is to  meet with our investors next week.


12. To “Streamline”

Streamline” just means to simplify a process.

Our shipping process needs to be streamlined so that we can improve our turnaround time.


13. “Quick Recap”

A “quick recap” is a summary of what was discussed or talked about in a previous meeting. It has the same meaning as Phrase 9, a “brief overview.”

To quickly recap, we need to improve on our customer service.


14. To “Get the Ball Rolling”

If you want to “get the ball rolling,” you want to start something.

Let’s get the ball rolling by introducing ourselves.


15. “Keep Me in the Loop”

If you want to “keep someone in the loop,” you want to make sure they have the most current information.

Keep me in the loop about our future clients.


Flowery Phrases with Simple Meanings

These phrases only professionals use may all sound more difficult than they really are. It’s just flowery business jargon that might sound complicated, but when you look at what these expressions mean, you see that the meaning is usually basic. You will get used to it! If you’d like to learn more expressions to use in American Business English, check out this post!

How do these two factors conversation and vocabulary differentiate in their workplaces?

Like I mentioned before, just start paying attention when you’re at work or watching movies. Notice how conversations and vocabulary are different when a group of people is at work, or in a business meeting. My suggestion is to practice these expressions in front of a mirror! Maybe record yourself, so you can hear how your business English sounds. Build confidence! There’s nothing more professional than confidence in yourself.

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Picture of Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

About the Author
Gabby Wallace is the Founder of Go Natural English, where you can quickly improve your confidence speaking English through advanced fluency practice. Even if you don't have much time, this is the best place for improving your English skills. Millions of global intermediate - advanced English students are learning with Gabby's inspiring, clear, and energetic English lessons. Gabby has a Masters Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Boston University and 20+ years experience helping students become fluent through her online courses and membership program.

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