Business Spotlight

How to say it

In this section, you’ll find a collection of the phrases and expression­s used in the extracts on the previous pages (pp. 6–11). The numbers (1–12) after each of the phrases refer to the extract it was taken from.


Discoverin­g problems

How are things going? [2]

What’s wrong? [2]

What are you dealing with right now? [4]

Stating the problem

This is supposed to be a trendy cafe, but there’s no almond milk. [1] It sounds like the ultimate firstworld problem, but I’m lactose intolerant. [1]

The problem is I missed an important email. [2]

It’s a real nuisance when… [3] My biggest challenge right now is personal. [4]

We’ve hit a snag with the new offices. [5]

What’s at issue here is the budget. [5] We need more space. [5]

Asking questions about the problem

How could that happen? [2]

What’s the worst thing about the situation? [3]

Why is this happening now? [3] What are the underlying causes? [3] Can you give me some background on this? [10]

Clarifying success criteria

The best outcome would be if we could… [6]

Ideally, we want to be able to… [6] We need a solution that covers all aspects. [11]

How do we know it will work out? [12]

How do we measure our success? [12]


I have a suggestion. [3]

Could you simplify your emails? [3] We should keep an open mind. [7] No idea is too stupid! [7]

How about we convert the conference room into an open-plan office? [7] Would it be possible to combine the conference room with reception? [7] If we move the photocopie­rs into the hallway, we could turn that room into an office. [7]

Off the top of my head, I can think of one thing we could do. [8]

What if we moved further out of the city? [8]

I say we should increase the budget for the rent. [8]

Let’s withhold judgement for now. [8]

Encouragin­g ideas

What other options are there? [6] How could we reduce costs elsewhere? [8]

Let’s consider that as well. [8]

I’d like to explore a couple of ideas further. [9]

What would be the biggest downside for us? [9]

What else? [9]

What are you thinking? [11]

Keeping positive

Maybe we can find a temporary workaround. [6]

Let’s not make this personal. [8] Let’s keep the facts in mind. [9] We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. [9]

Let’s avoid making any assumption­s right now. [10]

We need to step back and look at this from another perspectiv­e. [11]

Empathizin­g with others

To be honest, I have the same issue. [4]

We should look at their needs. [10] We need to put ourselves in their shoes. [10]

Let’s talk to them. [10]

Talking about testing

Why don’t you try it for a month? [3] What have you got to lose? [3] I suggest we run a small-scale pilot test. [12]

Expressing concerns

If we make too many compromise­s, it won’t work. [7]

We’re going to have to look at the op tions that are realistic. [9]

That might be counterpro­ductive. [10]

It’s simply not viable, for so many practical reasons. [10]

Talking about solutions

I’d have to sift through the data. [10] In my opinion, this is the perfect way out. [11]

I’m also convinced that this is the best way forward because… [11] It meets all the success criteria. [11] It’s a win-win situation. [12]

You’ve made a compelling case. [12]

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