Top 3 Common Business English Expressions

Top 3 Common Business English Expressions

A few months ago, I had the pleasure to have a conversation with the ESL teacher, Business English Coach, and Ph.D. in Germanic Languages Uliana Tykha. We talked about her Instagram blog, business English, ESL, methods of improving English, useful English expressions, and teaching English online.

In this abstract, I would like to share with you 3 English business expressions which we discussed with Uliana. 

Uliana, I know that you are a business English teacher, so could you share with us the top three business English expressions? 

– There are so many of them that I really like, but the ones that I would like to share with you today will be the first one:

  1. To make a killing, which means to get great financial success, so we can say that the company made a killing on this retail project.

– I heard this expression. It's probably like “to break the bank”. 

– Yes, to have a breakthrough in business, yes, to have great financial success.

– Unfortunately, I didn't make a killing because I was afraid and withdrew my money from Bitcoin, and Bitcoin skyrocketed. How stupid I was. I didn't make a killing.

– Yes, this is a risky business to invest yes all your savings in some digital currency.

– Yes, but we say: “who doesn't take a risk, that doesn't drink champagne”.

– It would be nice to know how it sounds in English, maybe they have some good alternative to this expression.

– Yeah, that's right, maybe the similar expression is “hit or miss”.

– So another one is rather informal, but I really like it.

  1. To go belly up means you can imagine when something goes belly up. So basically it fails, or the company goes bankrupt. You can imagine it like an animal is dying, they're going belly up. So this is the origin of this expression. It means to fail or to go bankrupt. 

– This expression is when some fish can go belly up, a fish or turtle, but this is associated with the kind of cockroaches. 

– You can say that a lot of businesses have gone belly up during this pandemic, maybe some restaurant chains.

– Yes, and things like catering businesses went belly up. However, delivery businesses are making a killing.

– Yes, for sure, definitely yes. Okay, and number three is to talk shop. 

  1. To talk shop means to discuss something related to your work, some matters related to your work when it is not quite appropriate when you're outside your work where you're not in the office. So you can be talking about your job when people are not interested in that and say, Mark, stop talking shop, we are not in the office. 

– Yeah, something like that, and we would say: “oh, good for you” (laughing).

– It means to annoy a person by always discussing your business-related matters, maybe at home, maybe among your friends. This is to talk shop. These are the expressions that I really like, but there are so many of them, you can check them up on my Instagram page of course. 

– As far as I know, you are a business English coach for some successful international companies. What are your methods of teaching business English, and what does your business English class look like?

– So I would say at the beginning that I'm trying to focus on the specific needs of my clients or students and some learning outcomes because there are so many requests from them: some people speak English, but they need English as a means to achieve some specific career-related goals, for example, they need to communicate in English in their work environment.  Someone is looking for a job and needs to have an interview in English. Some people are traveling and having these business trips, and they need to be able to communicate in this international business environment, to have this business small talk, things like that. Some people, like managers at some companies, need English to get some customers or clients from abroad. I tried to design our recessions, basically to customize the sessions to meet these specific needs and, of course, apart from this, functional language and this specific business vocabulary we're also trying to develop the awareness of different communication strategies in business, to develop an awareness of some communication issues like building rapport, some customer service communication managing conversations and so on, and also we are developing some important business skills like negotiating, presenting ideas resolving some conflicts, things like that, so English as a means of communication in an international business environment. And on top of this, we are also discussing a lot of realistic business cases, so with all these things integrated into our sessions, these business people have excellent results, and I'm very happy when they give me their feedback and say to me that I was abroad, and I'm extremely happy when they give me this feedback and um tell me that, for example, they managed to get some clients from abroad that they were extremely difficult to reach out to because of some lack of you know professional business communication and our recessions really brought them a lot of value. So this is basically how it works, and I'm really enjoying it.

– Thanks a lot, Uliana. It was nice to talk to you! 

– It was nice to talk to you, too, Mark! You are welcome! 



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