Sound POLITE, PROFESSIONAL & HELPFUL at Work | Business English Conversation


Well hey there I'm Emma from mmmEnglish!

I've been getting lots of requests for lessons

that will help you to expand your vocabulary

and help you to sound more professional

when speaking in English.

So that is exactly what this lesson is all about today.

I'm going to take some very common

everyday English verbs and improve them a little

or give you some more impressive ones to use instead.

So if you're ready to do that, stick around.

I want to jump in with a quick message from our friends

at Lingoda to talk about their business English course

and the fact that they're offering mmmEnglish students

the chance to try their classes for free

which I'll tell you about soon.

Anyone who studied business English will tell you

that it's quite different to general conversational English.

The language that we use at work tends to be more

formal so for anyone studying English to advance

their career, being able to communicate professionally

is going to help you to do that.

Luckily at Lingoda, not only can you study French,

Spanish, German and of course, English classes,

they also have a specific business English course

and what I love about this is that you're studying

alongside other professionals

focusing on the English skills that you need

to communicate effectively in your workplace

like presentation skills and interview skills.

The skills that you need to help you progress

your career and to succeed in an international company.

Like all Lingoda courses, classes are available

twenty-four seven and in small groups.

When I was taking Spanish classes with Lingoda,

we usually had three or four students in each class

which was awesome! I had lots of speaking practice.

Business English classes with Lingoda will increase

your fluency and your confidence to use

English at work.

You can sign up for free for seven days

and try up to three group classes which is an

awesome way to see what the classes are like

before you decide to continue.

Or you can use this code down here and get

a fifteen per cent discount on your first month.

Use the link down in the description and definitely

go check them out.

Let's think for a moment about the many

basic functions that we do when we're at work.

We think about things. We make things.

We change things. We guess.

We solve problems and we work together.

Now all of these words are good

and they will definitely help you to communicate

your message

but they're quite basic so if you want to

sound impressive, impress your boss

sound more professional with colleagues and clients

then upgrading these words will definitely help.

So let's start with the verb 'think'

specifically to think of or to think about something.

To think about attending an event

or asking for a raise.

Now we can upgrade this phrasal verb to 'consider'.

So instead of saying

I will think about your suggestion.

Say: I will consider your suggestion

but I need to find some extra budget before I approve it.

We can also upgrade

Have you thought about employing?

Have you considered employing a marketing

assistant in-house?

Now if you're thinking about something and the decision

is difficult for some reason, it's also important

then using 'deliberate' is a much better choice.


So it's also a synonym of think about but it's used when

you're making a really tough decision

and you've got to take some extra time

to decide carefully.

You've been deliberating all week on this,

are you any closer to a decision?

We also have this idea of thinking something is...

I think Ben is one of the

best mentors in our organisation.

But we can improve this by using the verb 'believe'.

I believe

Ben is one of the best mentors in our organisation.

So it sounds much surer, more confident and more


We can also use 'consider' here as well

but the structure changes a little.

So I want you to pay close attention

to what changes in this sentence.

We can say: I think or I believe Ben is

but we can also say

I consider Ben to be one of the best mentors

in our organisation.

So when you use this language, it helps you to speak

with authority, to be more impressive, more confident.

It really sounds like you know what you're talking about.

Another really common verb to use at work is 'to make'

That's what we're there doing isn't it? We're making stuff

and there are lots of different words that we can use

instead of 'make'

but it really does depend on the context as to which one

you can use or you should use.

Let's take a look at this sentence and see

how we can improve it.

Our team made a report or wrote a report.

Can you think of a more professional verb

that you could use instead?

Should we prepare a report for the board?

Our team has already produced a detailed report.

So these words 'prepare' and 'produce'

are almost synonyms.


Prepare relates to the process, a little more.

And produce,

relates a little more to the result.

So we often see the collocation produce content,

prepare a report.

These are useful ones to keep in mind.

'To create' is another verb upgrade on make right

especially when you're talking about

design or creative activities,

really when you're making something new you know.

We're creating a new concept for the client.

Can you create a new image that we can

share on social media?

We created a design that will suit a range of users.

'Develop' is another synonym for make,

kind of leans a little more towards the process.

Our technical team is developing a plan to transition

to our new platform by May.

Or even better, a strategy.

A strategy. They're developing a strategy.

We also develop ideas and we develop solutions.

We're developing an affordable solution that will make

sure every family can access high-speed internet.

So these are really important collocations

to keep in mind when you're using these verbs.

Often the idea of change can be perceived as negative,

people don't usually like change, do they?

Often we talk about change at work

because we need to fix something.

It suggests that there is something wrong

so in a professional context,

it's definitely important to make sure that you're polite

and that you're using language in a supportive way.

And I've got some alternative words and some useful

expressions that will help you with that.

And 'modify' is a really good alternative.


Modify suggests minor changes,

tweaks and adjustments

and things that will improve the result.

Actually, you could also use the verb 'adjust'.

If it's okay with you, I'll adjust

this a little before we send it to the client.

Now when you're talking about changing ideas or

human behaviour, then 'adapt' is a really good choice

especially when there is a new situation or

a new set of circumstances that's behind that change.

Again, nobody really likes change do they but if you can

use a more positive verb to help talk about that change

then it's much easier to get other people on board right?

The new regulations are tough,

there's not much that we can do about it!

We just need to adapt and keep moving forward.

The word 'transition' is an excellent one to begin using

and to understand because it helps us to talk about

the need for change and the process of changing

in a comfortable way.

So if we transition from one thing to another,

it suggests that we sort of move carefully you know,

it's not instant change which usually scares people.

If we talk about transition, it suggests that the change

is going to be gradual and carefully considered.

We want to make sure that our new team members

transition into their new roles

as seamlessly as possible.

Although many of us try not to admit it,

we all guess what the heck is going on right,

it's part of solving problems and reducing risk

is taking a guess.

And there are so many great words that will help you

to sound more intelligent and more professional

when you have to take a guess.

We all do right?

But sometimes using 'guess' suggests that you're a little

uncertain, you know, and in a professional context,

it can make you seem

uninformed or unprepared.

So using 'estimate' suggests that

you've put some thought into this prediction

or this guess right?


It's difficult to estimate the financial impact for families.

Now 'calculate' is a really good option

when you're talking about specific numbers.

You calculate.

We calculate that this will save

three thousand dollars a month.

Now we have a slightly different word form here

but you can express the same idea by saying:

By our calculations, we will save

three thousand dollars a month.

When you're thinking about why something happened

or you're considering what might happen in the future,

then 'speculate' is a great word.

To speculate.

So usually we say 'speculate on' or

'speculate about' something.

I don't want to speculate on why he

resigned so suddenly.

And 'predict' is another great synonym for guess.


So it's used when

you're taking information that you have

and you're making a call or a decision

about the most likely outcome.

Industry experts are predicting significant

changes to our working environments post-pandemic.

It is difficult to talk positively about problems right

when things aren't going so well or maybe they've been

a little more difficult than you anticipated.

So what words can you use instead of 'problem'

which does kind of have a negative about it, doesn't it?

Well we can say challenge,

we can say complication,


These are all possible replacements, right?

In a professional context, we want to make sure that we

communicate any problems that we have clearly

but also do it in a way that makes it sound like

you have solutions or you have a plan

to keep things under control.

We overcame several obstacles

before we landed on the result.

We anticipate some technical challenges but we're

confident that we've got the right team

in place to deal with them.

We even talk about problems as

headaches or hiccups.

These are a little less formal ways of expressing it

but they definitely help to emphasise that the problem is

not so serious you know or that they're problems that

can be managed, they're just annoying.

I can see how these changes could create

some headaches for the sales team

but we're working on a solution.

There were a few hiccups with the new ordering system

on Friday,

but things have been much smoother this week.

And lastly, if you work in an office as part of a team,

it's very likely that you work together

with other people to get things done, right?

We work together. We work as a team.

But just to clarify, we do not do a teamwork

all right? This is a very common mistake

that a lot of my students make.

'Teamwork' is a noun and we never use it with

'do' okay? We don't do a teamwork.

And a much more professional way to explain that

you're working together with someone else

or with other people

is to say that you collaborate.

I'm looking forward to collaborating

on projects with you in the future.

Now if you really want to emphasise that two people

or maybe two teams with different skill sets

or sets of expertise are coming together

to work together, we say that they're joining forces.

They join forces. And this is quite powerful.

When our development team joined forces with our

product team, they created something amazing.

So there you have it, I really hope that you found

a few new expressions to expand your vocabulary

range a little. Make sure that you keep these words

beside you at work during this week

and see if you can apply them.

You know if you're writing an email, make sure you stop

before you hit send, to try and

upgrade some of the language that you're using

to sound more professional and more helpful.

Now you know I like to set a little challenge

at the end of my lessons and that's because

just watching my lessons isn't really enough, is it?

You've got to put into practice what you've been learning

and it's only going to take you a few minutes.

So hit the pause button right now and write

a short paragraph using at least five of the

professional words that I shared during this lesson.

I'm really excited to get down there and check them out

to give you some feedback,

make sure you're using them correctly.

But in the meantime,

I've got this lesson right here ready for you

to continue practising with me

so I'll see you in there!