How to Perfect Office Communication: 10 Essential Business English Phrases for Success

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1) Action point

A specific proposal for action to be taken, typically one arising from a discussion, a report or a meeting.

“They drew up a list of action points on the board at the workshop.”

”As an action point, I will watch some training videos.”

”I came out of the meeting with five action points. Number one – email the marketing team about the new ad campaign. Number two…”

2) Annual leave

The time a person is allowed to take off work as holiday in any one-year period.

“She realised that she was burnt out and made a note to ask her boss for annual leave in her next one-to-one meeting.”

“The Company cared about the welfare of employees. They offered a good starting salary and 30 days of annual leave.”

“A third of office workers do not take all their annual leave with some feeling guilty about asking for time off, research suggests.”

3) At the end of the day

In conclusion and after everything else has been considered.

“The new accountant was a nice person but, at the end of the day, she couldn’t do simple calculations and she had to leave the firm.”

“Our Company needs to hire more employees. It’s a costly decision but, at the end of the day, the company will not be able to meet demand if we don’t.”

“She loves her job and at the end of the day that’s more important than a higher salary.”

4) Ballpark figure

A number that is a guess but is near the correct number.

“The organisation requested that the building company provide a ballpark figure for materials needed for the project.”

“But what are we talking about here a few thousand or a million followers. Could you give me a ballpark figure?”

“I’ll need to go away and calculate the cost carefully, but as a ballpark figure i’d say that it will be about 1.5 million dollars.”

5) Behind schedule

Not having progressed as much as is necessary to meet a particular deadline.

“He planned his project timetable very carefully so he didn’t fall behind schedule.”

“He was worried. He was behind schedule with the report that he’d promised his boss for Friday.”

“The plans to link our cities with motorways are behind schedule.”

6) Bring home the bacon

To earn a salary and to bring home money earned at a job.

“I’ve got to get to work if i’m going to bring home the bacon.”

“He lost his job so now his wife has to bring home the bacon.

“I felt a responsibility to take care of my child. That was the motivation to bring home the bacon.”

7) Get straight to the point

To talk the main part at once and avoid and talking about what is not essential.

“I don’t have much time so please get straight to the point of your story.”

“I’ll get straight to the point. I’m afraid we’re going to have to make some budget cuts.”

“Her boss was annoyed with him. He wasn’t answering her question about his poor work performance and sales she told him to get straight to the point or risk losing his job.”

8) Get the wrong end of the stick

Complete misunderstanding of a situation plan or idea.

“She got the wrong end of the stick and thought she’d done poorly in the interview. In fact the opposite was true. She’d done a brilliant interview and the next day she got the job.”

“You’ve got the wrong end of the stick. She’s not going abroad and i am going instead.”

“He misunderstood the message that he received from his boss. He got the wrong end of the stick.”

9) Start from scratch

To start doing something over from the beginning and to begin something from nothing.

“If you want to start your own business you’ll have to start from scratch, do lots of research and build it from the ground up.”

“We’ll have to start from scratch. We lost all the programming code and had no backup.”

“Can we fix the current computer system or would it be better to start from scratch with a new system?”

10) Take the bull by the horns

To directly confront a difficult situation in a brave and determined way.

“My team constantly delayed projects so I took the bull by the horns and fired several of them.”

“He took the bull by the horns and asked his boss for a sales bonus. His boss agreed much to his delight.”

“She took the bull by the horns and finished the assignment a week early.”