Career English

Five simple ways to impress your boss in English

Speaking a second language in the workplace is tough but rewarding – especially when you need to speak to important people like your boss. On top of thinking about what you need to say, it’s you need to consider how to say it so that you make a great impression. That doesn’t need to be difficult, though. Follow these five simple rules to impress your boss in English every day.

Be enthusiastic and passionate

Everyone likes enthusiastic people, especially when they work for you! Show your boss that you are passionate about your job by volunteering for tasks using phrases like “I’d be happy to do that”, or “I’d love to work on that”. Show that you’re not afraid to take on more work by asking, “Can I help with that?”, or “Is there anything else you’d like me to do?”. When your boss thanks you doing something, show your enthusiasm by replying “My pleasure”, or “No problem, I enjoyed working on it” – especially if it was the kind of task you would like to do more of in the future.

It’s a terrible feeling knowing that you aren’t going be able to complete a task in time or that a project you are working on is failing. Nobody likes working with people who complain all the time, though, so how do you make the situation clear to your boss without sounding too negative? Rather than saying “We can’t do it this way”, say “Can we do it this way, instead?”.

Be polite to everyone (not just your boss)

A sincere “please” or “thank you” goes a long way – not just with your boss. People in high positions in a company are used to everyone being polite to them – they expect it. They will be much more impressed if they see you being polite to clients and suppliers and promoting a positive image of the company to the outside world.

Sometimes less talk and more action is best. Bosses like people who actually get things done rather than just talking about them. When your boss asks you to do something, say “I’ll get right on it” if you’re going to start immediately, or “I’ll have it done by… (time/day)” to say when it will be done. Make sure you are realistic about when you will start or finish a task, though. If you say you will have something done for Tuesday and it isn’t done until Friday you will develop a reputation for not living up to expectations.

Let people see your imagination

If you have a brilliant idea, don’t be afraid to suggest it! Innovative, ambitious workers are what bosses are looking for. Use phrases like “Why don’t we… ?” or “It would be great if we could…” to introduce your ideas. Use sentences with “if” to show the benefits of your idea. For example “If we use motorbikes instead of cars, we will be be able to deliver packages much faster.”

Give these tips a try next time you’re speaking English at work and you’ll be amazed at the results. If you find these rules work for you, make sure you go through them in your head before you say anything important to your boss and you will find it much easier to speak to him or her while making a great impression.

Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.

Wil

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