Hi there! I’m your English coach Christina, welcome to Speak English with Christina, where you’ll learn American culture and business know-how to become confident in English.
In American offices, somewhere between the pre-meeting meeting and the water-cooler, a specific language was born: corporate lingo. Office jargon, business buzzwords, corporate jargon phrases, whatever you want to call them.
Like it or not, some expressions are especially popular, and to really fit in American corporate culture, you’ll need to know them.
1. Thinking outside the box
“Thinking outside the box” means looking for answers in new, surprising ways – stepping out of the mental box of conventional thinking.
It’s a sentence that makes innovation look simple, and a good catchphrase for anyone who’s interested in looking daring but still in the service of the business.
“Lateral thinking” is another popular synonym.
“What do you mean, it’s impossible? There’s always a solution, just think outside the box!”
2. Crunching the numbers
“Crunching the numbers” means “making the relevant calculations, coming to a decision in a visibly mathematical, accounting-based way.” It’s a good sentence to use to add weight to an argument, without sounding too math-focused either, since “crunching” is a bit of a colloquial word with a funny sounding. And the best thing is, if you pull it off well, you might not even have to explain your process – so you can still make decisions based on your personal intuitions!
“So I crunched the numbers, and I think we can afford buying me a better company vehicle!”
3. A no-brainer
“A no-brainer” is a very easy decision, or problem with an obvious solution.
It can be used to make your favorite option look better. This can be useful on your clients, your colleagues or your boss.
“So who should we hire for this position? A total nobody, or my brilliant cousin? I think it’s a no-brainer here.”
4. A win-win situation
“A win-win situation” is a situation with no downside for anyone, like a mutually beneficial trade.
True win-win situations happen rarely. But the expression can be used to make the other person forget the trade-off they make, and focus on the positive.
“Our products will make both you and your clients more successful. It’s a win-win situation!”
5. Reach out
“Reaching out” is a more informal, emotional way to say “asking questions and intruding in your private space.” It’s very important!
In your private life, you should reach out to your friends – to share on their problems, or get help with yours.
As a business, you want your employees to reach out to each other (to work more productively), and to reach out to your clients to improve your sales.
There’s also a subtle idea of influence there: “having a wide reach” means being influential on many people and areas. And that’s something your company craves.
“With your new ad, I think we should reach out to the Millenial demographic.”
6. Going forward
“Going forward” means “in the future, from now on”, but like, in an active way. You can add it in most sentences, so try it going forward.
“We’re going to think outside the box, going forward.”
“Challenges” are problems with an active mindset. This is a staple of office jargon.
“2018 was a year of big challenges for our company, and I don’t expect less from 2019.”
8. “I’m amped !”
“I’m amped!” means “I’m excited, l’m enthusiastic, I can’t wait!”
It’s a way to show that you personally care about some business event or project.
“Amped” found its way from common slang up to corporate offices.
We have to spend the night here to meet a deadline? Oh boy, I’m amped!
Your turn, now!
Tell me: What is the English office jargon expression you hear the most often?
Write your answer down in the comments! It’s a great way to practice, and share with the world!
There are many more American expressions you can learn. That’s why I’ve created a new ebook, “What was that?”: How to correct 50 common mistakes and avoid confusion in American English It includes 50 short, easy-to-learn lessons so you correct your common grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation mistakes.
It also includes common idiomatic expressions and American culture do’s and don’ts, helpful quizzes to get you remember what you learn, and so much more!
Thanks for watching Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next time!
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