Top 20 Terms to Enhance Your Business English Vocabulary

Top 20 Terms to Enhance Your Business English Vocabulary
Our vocabularies often exceed 50,000 words – but those words we rarely use are more easily forgotten (Credit: iStock)

Having good business English vocabulary is a critical need in today’s modern era of globalization & cut-throat competition.

An employee that has a good size of business English vocabulary is likely to be able to climb up the ladder with ease. And that applies to business as a whole too.

A recent study conducted by Global English reveals that 97% of employees surveyed believe that poor communication as a result of inadequate business language skills can create misunderstanding.

A staggering 83% of employees report that poor business language skills have resulted in a negative impact on sales, profitability, and efficiency of operations in their organizations.

It is therefore imperative that anyone who wants to succeed in business, managers and workers alike, focuses on improving business English vocabulary.

Business Terms

Let’s start by looking at the top 20 business English terms that you might hear or need to use when you gain full-time employment (or even set up a business of your own).

  • Make redundant:     

v. [made, made] to dismiss because of not being needed – redundancy n.

  • Perk:   

  abbr. prerequisite; something additional to regular salary [eg: free meals; a car]

  • Matters arising:   

  n. the item on agenda for discussion of what has happened as a result of the last meeting.

  • Accord:

A formal agreement between two organizations; countries, etc.

The two sides signed a peace accord last July.

  • Touch base:    

 to talk to someone for a short time to find out how they are or what they think about something: I just wanted to quickly touch base with you: did you get an email from my secretary about the meeting?

  • Wing it: 

to perform or speak without having prepared what you are going to do or say: I didn’t have time to prepare for the talk, so I just had to wing it.

  • Off the cuff: 

If you speak off the cuff, you say something without having prepared or thought about your words first:  I hadn’t prepared a speech so I just said a few words off the cuff.

[ before noun ] an off-the-cuff remark

  • Train of thought/event: 

a series of connected thoughts or events: What amazing train of thought led you from Napoleon to global warming?   The book describes the train of events that led up to the assassination.

  • Helicopter View:            

A broad general view or description of a problem.

I’ve only got ten minutes so give me the helicopter view.

  • Boil the ocean: 

(Informal) To attempt to do something very difficult or impossible.

Don’t try to boil the ocean by supporting every device imaginable.

  • Blue -sky:

A form of open-minded brainstorming

The government has been doing some blue-sky thinking on how to improve school standards.

  • Cascading: 

This essentially means ” to convey or to pass information, knowledge, etc. it often crops up in the titles of performance management seminars.

Align your business by cascading your performance objectives.

  • Drill-down:

A “deep dive” or further in-depth analysis into a particular subject matter. Getting into the nitty-gritty details.

Navigation is good and there’s a display to show how far you’ve drilled down.

  • Flick through email: 

To look quickly at the emails or the pages of a magazine, book.

I’ve only had time to flick through your emails.

  • One throat to choke: 

Holding an individual to account when things go wrong – in other words, finding a scapegoat and hanging them out to dry.

Oracle’s approach is to offer a complete system, making it a single throat to choke.

  • Thought Shower: 

The buzz term is often used by executives to generate ideas among their staff. “brainstorming”

After a great deal of thought showering, the term “epic fail” has been branded profane since it offends those who are prone to failing or innately fail at life.

  • Martech:  

Martech is the blending of marketing and technology. Virtually anyone involved with digital marketing is dealing with martech.

  • Millennials: 

connected with the generation of people who became adults around the year 2000.

Millennials will make up more than one in three of your workforce by 2020 and by 2025.

  • Synergy: 

the combined power of a group of things when they are working together that is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately

Team work at its best results in a synergy that can be very productive.

  • Push the envelope:

to behave in more extreme ways, or to try new things that have not been acceptable or tried before

We will keep trying to push the envelope – our market demands it.

the Oxford English Dictionary contains some 600,000 words, and even these do not represent the totality of the English vocabulary. The active vocabulary used by an adult in speech and writing is much less than this, but according to David Crystal it often exceeds 50,000 words.*

There will, of course, be many more words that a person understands but does not use in everyday speech and writing. Words from this passive vocabulary form a large subset of the words experienced in lethologica.