Business English: Office chat

29th April 2020

How would you describe the activity in these photos ?

Picture of young angry woman blaming her friend in the business ...
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Use expressions of opinion – 

In my opinion// I believe // I feel // (It) seems to me // I assume 

They look like // In my view // (He / it) appears to me // I imagine 

Business Talk

General questions 

Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work? Yes, But it Depends…

How is it going ? // How are you ? // how are you doing ?

How is it going with the new software ? // How is the new software ? // Any problems with the updates ?

Are you busy ? // Can you give me a hand ? = Can you help me ?

Can you take over from Jill ? = Can you do what Jill is doing now ?

Have you made any progress // Have you made any headway ? // Are you working well on a big task ?

How did your interview go? = How was the interview ?

How did the meeting go?

Get back to me by 5 ? = Contact me by 5 o’ clock

Did you hear back from IT ? = Did IT contact you ?

What are you up to ? = What are you doing

What are you working on ? Can mean at the moment OR in general


Learning the ropes = learning what the job involves

snowed under = very busy

Let’s call it a day = We can finish work now

Can you run that by me again ? = Please repeat.

REMEMBER – saying ‘what ?’ can be quite rude in English; better to say:

Sorry ? Excuse me ? Pardon ?

Asking about current projects: 

  1. What are you working on at the moment ? 
  2. How is it going with your new assistant? 
  3. Have you made any progress with your big project?

a) She is a little slow because she is still learning the ropes

b) We are preparing wages

c) It’s a big job but we’re making headway

Asking about recent events: 

  1. How did your presentation go last week ? 
  2. How was your business trip? When did you get back ? 

a) It was great, thanks. I got back Monday evening.

b) Really well. Powerpoint is so useful !

Asking about news: 

  1. What’s new? 
  2. Did you hear back from that potential big customer yet? 
  3. What have you been up to in your department? 

a) Not yet, I’ll have to chase him up

b) In my job ? Nothing is new, same old thing, day in, day out !

c) We have been doing our year-ends.

Asking about plans and predictions 

  1. When do you think they will finally sign the contract? 
  2. Did you go to the conference this weekend? 

a) No, I couldn’t make it, I was snowed under.

b) We should get their signature by Friday. 

Glitch– a computer term meaning any small, unexplained problem with IT – now used to mean any small problem in life.

To "Learn the ropes" means to learn the... - Eurocentres ...

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