This guide offers advice on key phrases and specific business terms, including introductory, negotiation and financial language
10 essential business English phrases
There are plenty of important terms and phrases crucial to conducting business in English.
Conducting business in a language that is not your own can be daunting. It needn’t be, though, as by grasping the basics you can use phrases to engage people and close deals. It’s important to know several key terms in English in order to follow expected protocol in introductions, negotiations and goodbyes.
Whether you’ve already done a business English course at a language school or you’ve only just started learning, this guide is well worth a read as it provides 10 key English phrases that may help at different stages of business, with examples of specific business terms too.
My name is…, it’s nice to meet you
First impressions in business are really important. Use phrases like this to say hello and to introduce yourself and anyone you are with. To introduce somebody else, you say ´this is…´ When formally greeting and saying goodbye to somebody in England it is common to shake hands.
The purpose of this meeting is…
If you’re holding a business meeting it is essential that you set out exactly what that meeting is about. Start off with a clear purpose and it’s easier to follow. You can continue by using such phrases as ´my first point is…´, ´secondly´, and when finishing, ‘to conclude…’
I see what you’re saying and I understand your point
One thing you need to have in business is the skill of negotiation. Hold the upper hand by acknowledging someone’s point of view or price suggestion before you put forward your own. You can then continue with, ´however, I would like to make a suggestion…’ and try to come to a compromise.
That’s a good place to start, let’s look at alternatives
Another key aspect in negotiations is being firm. It’s all well and good telling someone you know what they mean, but you have to express your opinion too. You can accept their ideas or proposals and then suggest some of your own.
I’m not sure I understand, can you please explain that again?
This is key! Not only will you ensure you know what’s going on or what’s expected of you, it will also show that you’re confident. Don’t accept things if you don’t understand them. Be sure to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when making requests as well – the English are well known for their politeness!
I look forward to hearing from you
If you hear or read this phrase it means you’re expected to respond to something. Use it yourself to make sure people know you expect action in response to your meeting, question or request. If it is a letter that you´re writing, remember to sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’ if you know the person’s name, and ‘Yours faithfully’ if you don’t.
Features and benefits
This refers to what someone is offering and what the customer will get from it. For example, the latest cushioning technology in a new pair of shoes is a feature. The benefit to the customer is less shock on the joints.
Core business aims
When you hear this term it refers to the overall business operation. It’s as simple as that. For example a coffee shop’s core business is to serve its customers a range of drinks and snacks.
Sales forecasting is key in any corporate business driven by profit and loss. It’s basically a way of predicting the amount of money that will come into a company as a result of sales activity.
Closing the deal
If you’re at the sharp end you’ll hear about closing the deal. This means making things happen and agreeing on prices and terms of any contract before it is signed off.
These business phrases will come in handy to those conducting business in English. If you’re teaching yourself, there are plenty more online resources that you can look at. If your level is a bit lower and you’re struggling, however, it is worth taking a course as they are well structured and will keep you motivated.
What are the most important phrases to learn?
Central London language school offering courses at all levels – visit this website for more details
The BBC’s guide to indispensable business language
Article in The Telegraph looking at the most disliked business jargon in the UK