Business jargon

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Business jargon

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Are you able to think out of the box or take the helicopter view at work? How good are you at blue-sky thinking ? What do these expressions mean? Find out all about business jargon in this 6 Minute Vocabulary.

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Neil
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary. I’m Neil …

Catherine
And I’m Catherine. And our topic today is business jargon - that’s words and phrases you hear mostly in the world of business. So Neil, are you ready for some blue-sky thinking ?

Rob Blue-sky thinking - that’s an expression often heard in the workplace. It means being creative - coming up with new, original ideas.

Catherine Exactly, and in this programme we’ve got lots more business phrases for you. We’ll explain what they mean and when to use them.

Neil But first, listen to Sophie, talking to her marketing team.

Catherine
And here’s a question to think about while you listen: What does Sophie ask Joe to do?

INSERT Good: it seems we’re all reading from the same page . We need to reach the upscale customers. So, can we think out of the box and come up with something quite different? We have to push the envelope if we want to succeed in the market. Now, if we take the helicopter view , we can see that we’ve effected lower costs. We ‘ve targeted low-hanging fruit and got rid of several distributers. Going forward now, Joe, can you action advertising? Is everyone clear now?

Catherine
Lots of business jargon there. We usually don’t use so many at one time, do we Neil?

Neil No, it can sound a bit much if you use all of them. Though these are things you probably will hear in a business context.

Catherine Most definitely. So back to our question. We asked you: What does Sophie asked Joe to do?

Neil
And the answer is: She asks him to action advertising.

Catherine That’s right. She wants him to deal with advertising. Sophie used the noun action as a verb - more on that later. But first let’s look at some jargon she used to talk about having new ideas. Here’s a clip.

INSERT CLIP 1 So, can we think out of the box and come up with something quite different? We have to push the envelope if we want to succeed in the market .

Catherine So Sophie wants her team to come up with a new and exciting idea. And she uses the expression think out of the box , which means be creative; don ‘t feel limited to the same old ideas .

Neil And she tells them to push the envelope ,which means go further than before; do things that might be new or risky .

Catherine Yes, that’s similar to that expression we had earlier - blue-sky thinking , which means being creative - coming up with new and original ideas, even if they are not very practical or realistic . So Neil, are you a blue-sky thinker ?

Neil Oh, yes, of course, I’m incredible creative, you know.

Catherine I do. Yes, that’s true.

Neil Sophie also said everyone was reading from the same page . Now this expression means they all had similar ideas and agreed with each other. Here’s another clip.

INSERT CLIP 2 Now if we take the helicopter view , we can see that we’ve effected lower costs. We ‘ve targeted low-hanging fruit and got rid of several distributers.

Neil Some interesting phrases there, and you can guess their meaning if you actually picture what the words mean. For example, take the helicopter view .

Catherine Exactly. Now, picture yourself up in the sky in a helicopter and you’re looking down at the ground - and you can see a lot more from up there than you can see when you’re down on the ground. So this expression means: looking at the whole situation and not just one or two details .

Neil Sophie also said that they’d lowered costs by targeting low-hanging fruit . Low-hanging fruit means the easiest, or most obvious, things . In reality, on a fruit tree, the fruit that hangs low down is easier to pick, so there ‘s a link between this idea and the idiomatic meaning of the phrase in a business situation.

Catherine Good. Now, Sophie used two nouns as verbs: effect and action . She said: We ‘ve effected lower costs . And to effect means to achieve something . She also asked Joe to action advertising, this means she wants him to deal with the advertising. And nouns used as verbs like this sound very strong. They give the speaker ‘s ideas greater force.

Neil Sophie used the word upscale to describe customers. Upscale describes people with money or things that are high quality.

Catherine I often think that we could do with some upscale coffee in our office.

Neil That’s a good idea.

IDENT
6 Minute Vocabulary from BBC Learning English.

Catherine
And it’s time for a quiz. Number one: If I want you to be creative and original, would I tell you to a) push the envelope or b) target low-hanging fruit ?

Neil
And the answer is a) push the envelope.

Catherine
Well done if you got that right. Number two: If I want you to look at the wider picture and not concentrate on detail, would I tell you to a) think out of the box or b) take the helicopter view ?

Neil And it’s b) take the helicopter view.

Catherine Good. And finally, if I want you to do something, would I ask you to: a) action it or b) effect it.

Neil
And the answer is a) action .

Catherine Well done if you got those right. And before we go, here’s a top tip for learning vocabulary: when you learn new words, make a picture in your head of the meaning. And when you hear or see the word again, you can think of the picture.

Neil There’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both
Bye!

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