In an increasingly globalised world, it is common to deal with co-workers or clients who speak another language. English has become the frank language or universal language and is increasingly important in the professional sphere. We may be thinking about going to work outside or just starting or finding a new job in an English-speaking environment or in which, more specifically, Business English will be our communication tool.
In the same way, when you start a new job, it is vital to make a great impression with your new colleagues. After all, it’s the people you will spend most of your time with while you’re at work. So how do you make a good first impression with your colleagues in your new English-speaking workplace? Being kind is a good start (kindness includes polite gestures such as maintaining eye contact) and these expressions in English will help you with your new native English-speaking colleagues.
While some expressions are more formal than others, this will help you to speak English fluently (as well as improving your communication skills) in an environment where both colloquial and professional English is needed (given that not everyone will be so formal all the time, especially among colleagues, as friendships and fellowships are formed):
1. Could I have your advice on this? Or, Can I pick your brains about something?
What better way to flatter a person than letting them know that you consider them an expert? Do not hesitate to ask for their advice and let them know that you value their opinions.
2. I’ll get right on it
If you can start working on a task immediately, let your boss and/or colleagues know by saying “I’ll get right on it.” Be sure to use this phrase only if you are really going to do your assignment right away though, as they won’t like to be left waiting.
3. It’s great/a pleasure to meet you
If you know a new colleague who works at a level similar to yours, say “It’s great to meet you!” when you meet them. If you meet someone older than you, use this more formal phrase “It’s a pleasure to meet you!”.
4. That sounds like a plan
This is one of the best agreeing expressions to use when one of your colleagues has a good idea on how to do something.
5. Let’s put our heads / minds together or two heads are better than one
If you think it would be proper to work closely with a colleague to solve a problem, you could say “Let’s put our heads / minds together to solve this.” This means that it is better to work together. Discussing ideas and opinions can also lead to some small talk between you and your colleague.
6. Would you like a hand with that?
Helping people will always be a good way to impress. You can offer some help by saying “Would you like a hand with that” if you see that a colleague is struggling with a hefty workload.
7. I’m/I’ll be looking forward to working together
This is mostly used for emails or letters. When you start a project with a new colleague or client, adding “I’m looking forward to working with you on this project” almost at the end of your email shows respect and that you are willing to work together.
8. I’d like to catch up with you on this project.
More often than not, it happens that with so much work, you do not have time to follow up on projects that are not urgent and can be forgotten. If you are interested in checking how that project has progressed, you can use this phrase.
9. To wrap things up…
You can use this phrase to recapitulate the main ideas in closing meetings and presentations, making sure everyone remembers what you are most interested in communicating.
10. Let’s get this done.
When you think it’s time to start working on something, you can use an informal expression like “Let’s get this done” or “Let’s do this” to encourage colleagues to start.
11. I agree with you up to a point, but…
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to express your opinion in disagreement about an issue, you can express it in a respectful and polite way using this phrase.
12. Sorry to hold the meeting up, but…
Sometimes it happens that we need to say something, but we don’t know how to interrupt the meeting without messing up. You can use this phrase to solve the situation next time.
13. Let’s summarise briefly what we have looked at.
Near the end of the presentation, perhaps before the conclusions, it is very good to make a summary to refresh your audience’s memory.
14. Sorry, but could you outline the main points again?
Ideal for when you think you have missed something, because that way you can make sure you understood everything correctly.
15. I’ll be with you in a moment.
With that phrase you imply that you are busy, but that you will soon be available. If you work in a place where customers must make a line, this phrase serves to indicate someone who is next. Keep in mind that you can replace the word moment by minute.
16. Got the sack
This expression is generally used among co-workers to talk about new layoffs. It is better that you do not have to use it because it does not mean good news, but in case you need it, a more formal equivalence in English would be “To be fired”.
17. To work your fingers to the bone.
This expression refers to exercising hard work. If you want to have a wider range of possibilities to express the same idea, you can also use “To work around the clock”.
Working abroad is an enriching and very positive experience for any English student but it also has its complications. Not only because of living in an unknown country, having to adapt to a new culture and learning to connect with new people, but also, no matter how much English you study and how much control you have of the work vocabulary, the natives can have a more colloquial way to communicate, full of phrases and expressions that during your first weeks in the office can make you feel confused.
Here we have left you a few, but to learn all the expressions about work in English it is best to practice it in situ. You can start by taking an English course abroad for adults and learn everything you need before you start working. Also, try to take note of the expressions your colleagues use to continue expanding your English vocabulary business.
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