Introduction:

Making decisions is not only a fundamental part of business, but also of life. From deciding what shoes to wear, what cereals to buy or which person to hire, our life is full of decisions. It becomes more complicated when a group of people have to make a decision, especially in business. And although this can be both very frustrating and stressful, appreciating other people perspectives/opinions can help us to not make the wrong decision.

In this online exercise you will learn business English vocabulary which is commonly used when making decisions in a business situations. First, read the below dialogue/conversation and then do the quiz/test at the end to learn how to both use the vocabulary and say/pronounce it perfectly.

The focus here is on phrases that are used when people both want to make a decision and when they don't.

Click here to see more of our free online exercises on business meeting vocabulary


Exercise: Making an important decision

Read the following conversation between attendees in a company meeting. The attendees are deciding whether to change one of their supplier after a recent increase in price of the supplier's product.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Geoff:'Well, you all know that Ryder's have raised the price of their components from $1200 to $1350 for 100. It's quite a large increase. So now maybe the time to move to a new supplier. I would appreciate your input on this.'

Tim:'In my opinion we should move to another supplier, as you said it's a very large increase. They are just taking advantage of the situation. I had a meeting with the sales manager of their competitors Fizon Industries on Tuesday and they said they can supply us with 100 for $1255.'

Phil:'We shouldn't rush into anything. We've worked with Ryder's for nearly 10 years and we've never had any problems with them. We should talk to Ryder's again and try to reach a compromise. I'm sure they won't want to loss our contract.'

Geoff:'I spoke to their sales manager last week, and they won't lower the price. To be honest, I'm in two minds, Ryder's have always been very professional. But by increasing their price by so much, means we'll have to either pass it on to our customers or reduce our profits.'

Tim:'Look Phil, we don't have any option. Ryder's won't move on price. We only have 3000 components left in the warehouse. Those will last us for a maximum of 45 more days. Time is running out. We need to make a decision today. I think that Ryder's is trying to abuse the trust that we have with them and their products. I think how they've handled this situation shows a lack of respect towards us as a customer.'

Phil:'Tim, don't jump to conclusions about their intentions. I'm sure they are not abusing the situation. From a production side I think that we should keep our options open. We all know that Fizon Industries don't have a good reputation on quality or service. So we could be saving money today to spend it tomorrow.'

Tim:'Phil, I appreciate your concerns about quality, and we can include something about it in the service level agreement with Fizon Industries. There are also a number of other of companies that I'm waiting to hear back from. But the bottom line is cost. Ryder's components, although they are of very good quality, are just too expensive now.'



Quiz: Business decision making vocabulary/phrases

Below is a definition/description of each of the phrases in bold from the above text. Now choose the phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one phrase once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. When two companies reach an agreement by making concessions, they
         

Reach a compromise:
(phrase) A 'compromise' has a similar meaning to a concession. In business negotiations most agreements are reached after both parties have made compromises. 'To reach' means 'to achieve', but we use 'to reach' with 'a compromise' and not 'to achieve'. In Spanish: "llegar a un arreglo".

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Reach a compromise:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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2. A way to stress that you have to make a decision quickly because of lack of time, is
         

Time is running out:
(phrase) It is a direct way to tell people that you must make a decision quickly. In Spanish: "el tiempo se agota".

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Time is running out:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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3. A different way to say what the most important factor is when making a decision, is
     

The bottom line:
(phrase) It is very common in business and is direct. It is used when you want to emphasize what the fundamental factor/outcome is, e.g. 'The bottom line is this new regulation will damage our business'. In Spanish: "Lo esencial es".

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The bottom line:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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4. A way of asking people for their opinion, is
         

I would appreciate your input:
(phrase) A polite way to ask people for their opinions and suggestions on a subject. It is followed by the preposition 'on', e.g. 'I would appreciate your input on the new development'. In Spanish: "Apreciaría mucho su aportación".

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I would appreciate your input:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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5. When you make a conclusion without knowing all the facts, you
         

Jump to conclusions:
(phrases) This is used with a negative meaning. It suggests that someone has made a conclusion without being objective or knowing all the facts. In Spanish: "conclusiones precipitadas".

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Jump to conclusions:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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6. A different way of saying that we don't have any choice with a decision, is
         

We don't have any option:
(phrase) It is very direct. It can also be used to tell somebody they don't have a choice, e.g. 'You don't have any option, you have to do it!'. In Spanish: "no tenemos más remedios".

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We don't have any option:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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7. A different way of saying we should wait before doing anything, that contains 'into', is
         

Shouldn't rush into anything:
(phrase) This is commonly used when somebody doesn't want to make a decision at that time. It has a similar meaning to 'keep our options open', but sounds less polite and more direct. In Spanish: "no deberiamos tomar decisión precipitada".

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Shouldn't rush into anything:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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8. A different way of saying 'I understand what you're worried about', is
         

I appreciate your concerns:
(phrase) This phrase is a very polite way to disagree with someboby or give bad news. It is generally followed by 'but' when you often give the reasons or what will happen, e.g. 'I appreciate your concerns, but we need to do it now!'. In Spanish: "valoro/agradezco su preocupación".

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I appreciate your concerns:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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9. A different way of saying we should wait before doing anything, that contains 'our', is
         

Keep our options open:
(phrase) This is commonly used when somebody doesn't want to make a decision at that time. It has a similar meaning to 'shouldn't rush into anything', but sounds politer and less direct. In Spanish: "mantener nuestras opciones abiertas".

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Keep our options open:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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10. A different way of saying 'I'm still not sure what to do about something', is
         

I'm in two minds:
(phrase) It has a similar meaning to 'I don't know' when you are asked about your opinion on a decision, but it sounds better. In Spanish: "estar indeciso".

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I'm in two minds:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Practice

Now that you understand the decision making vocabulary, practice them by creating your own sentences in English with the new words/phrases.

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