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English Phrases To Use In Business Meetings

In the corporate world and in meetings, using a good turn of phrase is commonplace in the UK an having a strong understanding of at least some of them is a vital part of localised corporate English. These phrases could be the difference between striking great rapport with a business connection and having a complete misunderstanding of what is happening during the meeting. Here are a few for you to take advantage for meetings with clients and colleagues as well as some options to mix into your every day use of the English language.

English Idioms To Use In Meetings

Here is a list of some of our favourite idioms you may come across in the office environment:

  • A blessing in disguise – A good thing that seemed bad at first.
  • Don’t beat around the bush – Stop avoiding saying what you mean, typically because it’s an uncomfortable situation.
  • Go back to the drawing board – Start something over again.
  • It’s not rocket science – Something isn’t as complicated as it initially seems.
  • Miss the boat – When it becomes too late to achieve something.
  • On the ball – Doing a good job.
  • Time flies when you’re having fun – Not realising how much time has passed since doing something you’re enjoying.
  • Under the weather – You’re feeling sick.
  • Wrap your head around this – Getting a good understanding of a complicated situation or project.
  • Hit the nail on the head – Understanding something perfectly and explaining it.

Using these idioms and phrases are a fun way to improve your general conversation skills and create a more diverse selection of terminology for you to use. Moreover, understanding these will make it a lot less confusing when talking to a native English speaker who may use several of these at once. Explore these and more (because there are plenty more) to enjoy playing around more with the English language. For more information on English phrases and idioms or to start learning English for the corporate world, talk to our language skill experts today and really hit the nail on the head with your English language skill set.

Benefits Of Corporate English

Learning a language through your employer is an excellent opportunity to develop a new skill and help reinforce your communication skills overall. Additionally, England is famous for using unusual terminology and slang that can be difficult for non-native speakers to understand straight away. These terms are frequently used around an office environment and in meetings (even video calls), so having a strong comprehension of the language will be a powerful tool, especially for those looking at career development and advancement in the UK. Being bilingual has shown to have an increase in pay of 5-20% compared to those who don’t speak a second language and it also increases your chances of being hired and promoted as well.

Employers Benefit From Bilingual Staff

There are obvious advantages for an employer to train or pay for the training of their non-English speaking employees to learn the language and studies show that there are more hidden benefits to having bilingual and multilingual members of staff. The obvious being stronger communication both internally within the team and externally with any clients and suppliers the employees may speak to. But some benefits that employers and maybe the employees themselves haven’t considered are; having more confidence speaking to clients and other professionals on an international landscape, being able to reach a more diverse audience for a customer base, bilingual people typically have stronger listening and communicating skills, and there is even evidence of bilingual employees being better at multi-tasking and having good mental health. So if you’re looking to talk to your employer about taking an English language course, these may be some useful points to research and present to them.

View Our Corporate English Training Here

Employee Advantages Of Speaking Corporate English

If you’re curious about improving your English language skill for the workplace, take a look at some of the advantages you’ll have by brushing up on those language skills:

  • Be more confident during meetings and business discussions
  • Using flawless tone and language in written communication and emailing
  • Use of additional English phrases applicable in everyday conversations
  • Increased chances for future job prospects and promotions
  • Displays your willingness to learn a new skill and go beyond the minimal requirements for your job

As well as the personal benefits of learning another language; it’s good for the mental health and brain, it increases the number of countries you can easily communicate in, and a generally impressive skill to have all together. Learning English for the workplace is not only a great opportunity in itself but will lead to further great opportunities for your career. Whether your employer is offering a scheme to learn through the company or it’s something you tackle outside of office hours, the investment you make in learning English will pay off in a number of ways.

In addition to personal career development, there is more you can bring to the table with having a command of the English language under your belt. In an increasingly global working environment, English is becoming known as the “international common language” with almost 70 countries speaking it as a first language and over 25 with it listed as a second language. Being confident in this arena will set you apart and build trust with both your internal teams and your clients that you may talk to from different countries, creating strong business relationships with them. There are a number of benefits to learning corporate English, both for personal improvement and professional development. In today’s global environment, it will really set you apart and strengthen your skillset and relationships in and out of the workplace.

It’s All About Online

For a company that offers online English courses, it won’t be a surprise we are very much behind the move to online services but Covid-19 has pushed this trend even faster than anyone predicted. There are lots of new ways people interact, new software tools, and even new vocabulary around the new online world so we thought we would look at it in a little more detail.

More Online Than Ever Before

We have been offering high-quality online English courses for a few years now and we know how popular they are. So learning online is certainly not a new thing. However, as we saw schools shut across Europe and many parts of the world people turned to online learning like never before. In many cases, it was school-age children trying to keep up with lessons they were missing. But many people stuck indoors during lockdown also had free time and wanted to do something constructive. So they turned to online learning, whether it was learning to sing, write, play an instrument or cook, for example, people starting to find online courses for everything. We saw a large increase in the number of people signing up to learn English online from all over the world as they decided to take the time to learn for work, family, or other reasons. But it’s not just learning, there has been a huge increase in the number of people shopping online, ordering food online, using streaming services, as well as subscription models for anything from beer to male grooming products and even gardening supplies. Online was big before…it’s even bigger now.

Common Online Tools

For many people, the idea of a video chat was not something they would normally think of before the pandemic. Now, chatting online to family and friends is normal. Programmes like Zoom have become totally normal. Skype is still very popular too. If you were not using WhatsApp before the pandemic then you probably are now and not just or chat, video too! Whatsapp groups have now become very popular. TikTok also seems to be a great way to communicate online by making fun videos, it certainly helped a lot of bored people during the lockdowns in various countries.

How We Communicate

It may seem like we talk in exactly the same way on a video call as we do in person but it really can be quite different. If you use Zoom calls for business meetings, for example, you may notice that it is harder to see if people are listening to you. What people now do is nod their head a lot more. When you are in a meeting with someone face to face you can see if they are engaged with you. On a screen with perhaps 6 faces, it is much harder. So we are all using exaggerated movements like waving and nodding to communicate. We are also not talking over each other as much, video calls do not work very well if everyone talks so people are becoming much more polite and waiting for others to finish speaking. Smiling, shaking our heads, and using our hands are all becoming more important as a way of showing we are involved in the conversation online.

Will we continue using online services as we are now? perhaps, with more and more people working from home and not wanting to use trains and buses online shopping, meetings and learning is certainly likely to stay popular well after Covid-19 is gone.





News Flash for English Learners

We are very proud to have launched a brand new service for our Student Plan and Pro Plan subscribers. News Flash is an amazing new learning aid that makes news for English learners even more useful and effective.

If you are learning English then you will know how useful news articles can be. They are an interesting way to learn new phrases and vocabulary, they are a great talking point around which you can practice your English with other students, friends and family, and they can be very useful for people learning English for business.

However, no matter how useful news articles can be it is often hard to find news specifically written for people learning English. Often news for English learners can be out of date and not very useful as news. Not with Perfectly Spoken! News Flash is a news service for English learners that is powered by news coming directly from Reuters so you know it is accurate, unbiased and up to date!

Real and Authentic

News is not only topical and a good learning aid it also helps English learners understand and use real and authentic phrases and words. Real news uses real words and the vocabulary people use in it are up to date and real. Real language is so important when learning English, it helps students understand the English native speakers use and good quality English news is a great place to get this kind of content. Not only is our news real it is also high quality from one of the best news agencies in the world.

So Much More than Just News!

Of course, you can expect the latest news articles, video and audio stories, but we are offering more than just a chance to learn about what is happening in the world. Our News Flash service also has special tasks carefully created for Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced English students. These tasks help you understand more, learn and comprehend new vocabulary and phrases and test yourself to see how well you did. We carefully select news stories and then create tasks for each learning level; this means no matter what English level you are you can understand and learn using our News Flash service.

A Few Minutes

We know most people do not have hours to read the news. We know that most people learning English online are doing so alongside working or studying. So our News Flash stories and short and direct. They only take a few minutes to read or watch and then you can take the test to see how much you have learned.

Find Out More

If you would like to find out more about News Flash – Powered by Reuters then please Click Here. This amazing new service is available to Student Plan and Pro Plan Subscribers along with hours of the best quality online English lessons available, tests, useful additional content and more.



Why It’s OK to Ask People to Speak Slowly or Repeat Something in a Business Meeting

When you are learning English for business there will come a time when you are using your new skill in a business meeting. The meeting could be online via Skype, on the phone or in person, it could be a presentation and it can be tough! But do not worry, the challenges are something a lot of people go through, and they are not something to be embarrassed about. In this blog, we look at some of the issues around asking people to slow down and help you understand.

The Same Thing Twice

What a lot of people do when asked to repeat something because someone doesn’t understand is say the same thing again. This is really no help at all. They think you simply may not have heard them properly but the real reason to ask them to repeat is that you didn’t understand the terms or vocab they used. It is important to state this when asking them to repeat. It is perfectly OK to say “sorry, I don’t understand that phrase, can you explain” rather than saying “sorry, I didn’t get that”


People from different parts of any country will speak differently. But people learning English who live in different countries will also speak differently. So how someone speaks can be a really big challenge in a business meeting. It may be you are talking to an English company but you find the accent very hard to understand. It is not offensive to politely say “I am very sorry, I find your lovely accent hard to understand”. You can compliment them on it and ask where they are from and most people will be happy to talk about their home town and help you understand them. It may be useful to ask any colleagues before the meeting about any strong accents so you can prepare a little or have them be ready to help you if you get stuck.

Details and Notes

There are certain points that come up in meetings that are important. It might be an email address or a website, it could be a phone number or some important meeting points. It is really important you are confident you have the correct details in this situation. Do not be afraid to ask the person to slow down while you write it all down and then confirm the details. On online meetings, you can ask someone to simply write these details in the chat window to make sure they are correct. But getting it wrong because you didn’t ask to clarify could cause problems later on. Be confident and make sure you have the right details.

Slow Down

Most business meetings would benefit from everyone slowing down and making sure all the point are covered properly. It is important you feel confident to ask other team members or clients to slow down so you can understand them properly. You are learning a new language and it is something to be proud of, but you cannot learn it all from the beginning. Most people will be happy to go over anything and help support you, and that bit of extra time is far better than a list of confused notes and mistakes because you chose not to say you didn’t understand.


A Simple Guide to Brexit Vocabulary

Whatever country you are in you have probably heard about Britain leaving the EU. It is a very complex situation and people learning English with a view to working or studying in the UK or with people from the UK may find it useful to understand a bit more about it. Some people are very passionate about this subject and can get angry about different sides of the argument. It is really important to be careful about discussing this topic with people from the UK at work or other places. However, understanding some of the key terms used can be very useful!

Here is a shortlist of the main vocabulary and terms used when talking about Brexit. Understanding and being able to use these terms will make understanding Brexit a lot easier.

Article 50

When the UK joined the EU it agreed to all the rules and Article 50 is part of the agreement that allows any country to leave the EU. An article is simply part of an agreement like a chapter of a book.

No Deal

This simply means that the UK will leave the European Union with no agreement relating to trade or anything else. This is an extreme situation and one that many people fear while others feel it would be OK.

WTO Rules

The WTO is the World Trade Organisation. This organisation sets trade fees that countries who do not have a trade agreement use. It is a baseline way of doing business with any country when no discussions and agreements are made. Often WTO rules are more expensive than trade deals agreed between countries so buying and selling with countries under the WTO rules costs more.

Transition Period

Transition means change and this period of time after the UK leaves the EU was agreed to help both sides plan how their relationship would work. For the transition period to be started the UK would need to agree on the plan Theresa May had negotiated with the EU. During this period the UK could not have any kind of say in any EU laws but would still have to abide by the existing rules.


This is one a lot of people have heard of but most people do not understand. At the moment Ireland is split into two countries; Northern Ireland which is part of the UK and The Republic of Ireland which is a separate country. At the moment there is no border between the two countries so goods and people can move freely. Because the Republic of Ireland is in the EU and wants to stay there is a lot of confusion about if there should be a border once the UK leaves the EU. The backstop is an agreement between the UK and EU that there will be no Irish border during the transition period while a solution is found. It is a very contentious issue and one that it is best to avoid talking about.

Brexit is very complex but it will be an important part of UK history and whatever happens, will affect living and working in the UK for millions of people for many years to come. Learning about it while learning English may be useful.

Why Learning English Isn’t Just for Working in English Speaking Countries

One of the main reasons people learn English is for work. For thousands of people, the desire to travel and to work and build a career in an English-speaking country is a big reason to learn English online. But there are other benefits to learning English when it comes to work even in countries that do not use English as the main language.


As a lot of people from non-English-speaking countries want to travel and work in other places, so do people from English speaking countries like the UK and the USA. But a lot of people in English speaking countries also want to work in other places too. Many of them learn Spanish, Portuguese, German or other languages, so they can travel and work away from home. Why does this mean learning English can help? Well, if you are from Spain, for example, and you are working abroad you may be working with someone who speaks English, and this can help build better relationships. They may enjoy speaking their native language with you and it also shows you know another language.

International Business

You may be working in a country that doesn’t use English but the company you work for may deal with companies from countries that do. Being able to speak English may be very helpful to the company and could be useful in getting a promotion! A lot of large companies use English as the international language, so it is a very useful one to learn. It means you could speak easily with clients overseas as well as colleagues that may be based in English speaking countries.

International Business Events

Once again, while you may not wish to work in a country that uses English as the main language. However, you may have the chance to go to a conference or a large business event in a country that does. Being able to speak English may be very useful in making new connections and interacting with other people in your industry. It may also mean you understand some more of the keynote speakers and more.

Learning English is Very Useful

Even if you are not speaking English every day in the company you work for knowing English is very useful for international business in all forms. Perfectly Spoken offer a range of free online English lessons and specific advanced business courses for those who want to invest more in business English.


3 British Sayings You Can Use Anywhere

Just like every other language, there are sayings in English that are used to say things differently. These sayings are often called idioms. They are common across all countries and are often funny, or they are a simple way of describing something complicated. Nearly all sayings come from history, many were created a long time ago and some use historic language too.

Understanding Sayings

Being able to understand saying is an important part of learning English. Using them at the right time can make people laugh, it can also really show you understand English and it can help build relationships with friends, new family and people at work.

Below are just 3 English sayings that may be useful at work, home or school.

Open a can of worms

This is a very common saying. It is quite a complicated saying. A can of worms is a very messy subject that once started may end up being a lot of work, trouble, effort or time. For example; you may suggest at work that someone tidies the office cupboard. But people who have worked there a long time know that if you start trying to do that you will find more and more things to tidy and it could take all day. They might say “do not do that, it’s a can of worms” or “do not open that can of worms”. It can also be used when talking about people who may get upset or want to talk a lot about something. You may think it is best not to mention a certain subject as it is a can of worms.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Again, this is a very common saying and one that it can be very useful to understand. It is quite a simple one to understand. It is something a person may say if they tell you something bad and you are angry with them. However, they were not the person that did anything wrong; just the person that told you. They may say “hey, don’t shoot the messenger”. By this they mean do not be angry at the person who told you the bad news as they are just the messenger.

Skeleton Staff

This is a very useful saying for word. A skeleton staff is a way of describing having very few people working. In fact, it means having the least amount of people working somewhere while still keeping it going. So this might be used over a holiday period perhaps. When no customers are coming in, the manager may suggest running a skeleton staff of just 2 people to make sure the shop is OK. Normally there maybe 10 people working but a skeleton staff is enough when it is not busy.



Work Language – Idioms and Sayings

It is very common for people to use different words and sayings around friends and family to when they are a work or School. This is something that is very natural when speaking your native language but it can be very hard if you are learning English at any level.

Bad Taste

Using the wrong word or phrase at work can be very bad. It can be rude if the terms is simply something you would only use with close friends or for humour. But if the timing is wrong it can also be in what is called “bad taste”. This describes something that is not rude but is also not very nice. It is not the same as simply insulting someone, it is more subtle. Think of a food that doesn’t taste very good and then image a phrase or word being just like that.


It is certainly common in English to swear among friends, or in anger. A lot of British humour uses rude words and many jobs will be filled with people who use swear words. It is VERY important to understand when swearing is OK and when it can be so rude it could mean losing your job. The best thing to do is simply not to use swear words. This is the only way to be sure you will not offend someone. But, in some cases swearing a small amount can help with working relationships. Until you are very confident at speaking English, avoid swearing. If you need help, ask a friend. If you have heard a word you should test it out with someone who knows the language and ask when it is OK to use. Using the wrong word with the boss could be a very big problem.

Idioms and Sayings

Idioms are a big part of the English language, but they must be used properly. Using them at the wrong time can simply be funny, and if other people know you are learning English they will not be offended. But in some cases, they can cause problems.

Below are some examples of idioms that are fine to use at work

  • Bark up the wrong tree
  • The straw the broke the camel’s back
  • Sitting on the fence
  • A night owl
  • An early bird

These all describe things that are not offensive and could easily fit into a work conversation.

Below are some idioms that may not work so well at work

  • To cost a bomb
  • Up the creek without a paddle
  • Has the cat got your tongue?
  • Too big for your boots

These idioms are all potentially a little rude or are related to rude words. To cost a bomb is very casual and not appropriate for work. The last two are normally used when telling someone they have done something wrong and also not very common at work and certainly not good to use when speaking to the boss.

How Learning Better English Can Help With Linkedin

LinkedIn is a powerful tool and one that is used right across the business world. It is great for people looking for new jobs, people learning more about their own careers and much more. However, how people communicate on LinkedIn can have a very big impact on if they are successful. Approaching people with badly written messages in the hope of getting a job does not work very well, and the same goes for commenting and joining in with discussions. For many people, LinkedIn is a great way to look for work in the UK and other English speaking countries but to be successful you need to make sure your English is good enough.

Conversations and Comments

One way to be successful on LinkedIn is to join in with discussions, comment of articles and posts and join groups. This is a great way of interacting with other users in a less formal way and also being noticed. It is really important to say useful and interesting things in comments so that people reply to you and engage with you. If your English is not as good as you would like you may notice people do not comment and reply as much as they do with other people. This may be because they are not sure what you meant, or they feel you may not understand their reply. By improving your English and earning more your comments and discussion points will get more response and help you build more connections.

Linking with People

If you have a shared interest or you frankly want to work with someone you can just request to connect. Along with this connection, you can add a message. Once again, if the message is written in poor English this may put the person off, and they may not accept your request. Do not forget, most people get connection requests every day and a lot of them are from salespeople or others whom they have no connection with. If your message is well written and it uses really good English you are far more likely to succeed.

After the Connection

If someone does accept your request it is really important to follow it up with something useful and engaging. If you just connect in the hope they will offer you a job, you are going to be disappointed. Once they have accepted you perhaps comment on some of their posts, get involved with discussions and become a useful connection yourself. Think about posting interesting articles you have read and information about your work. Once again, in order for this to work and to attract English speaking managers, recruiters and business owners you will need to make these posts count, and they need to be well written.

Learning English

By building on your English skills and learning more all the time you will find you become more successful in connecting and engaging with potential employers. Learning English is a powerful tool to have if you want to work in the UK or English speaking countries like the USA. We offer a range of courses and access to many hours of video lessons so you can make sure your English is as good as it can be. It is something you should always keep working on and keep trying to get better at in order to give yourself the best chance at success in working in an English speaking environment.