To be a manager, you need to speak like one! Doing that means upgrading your communication from general English to business English.

The eight verbs below are used frequently in professional contexts. You can combine them with hundreds of other words to create collocations. These are word combinations which people expect to hear together. Learning business collocations will help you sound more professional, feel more confident, and communicate more clearly.

Read through the list of business English words and collocations below. For each word, choose an appropriate collocation to describe a situation in your office or in any area of your life. Write down your own sentence. Then, read your sample sentence aloud. Saying the sentence out loud will make it easier for you to pronounce, remember, and use the new, advanced vocabulary in real life.

Change general English to business English

General English pay attention to someone or something
Business English focus on or focus _____ on
Collocations attention, camera, causes, clients, consequences, courses, debates, differences, discussions, documents, effects, efforts, energy, factors, family, goals, grades, health, image, income, lectures, markets, media, meetings, mind, outcomes, papers, priorities, reports, research, results, similarities, studies, talk, topics, training, thoughts, workshop
Example You need to focus on your job search.
General English make or do more of something
Business English generate
Collocations business, capital, cash, data, demand, discussion, earnings, electricity, employment, energy, enthusiasm, funds, goodwill, heat, ideas, income, interest, jobs, motivation, noise, publicity, resentment, responses, results, returns, revenue, sales, savings, support, surplus, waste, wealth
Example How can we generate more capital?
General English find someone or something
Business English identify
Collocations areas, barriers, categories, candidates, careers, causes, characteristics, dangers, defects, departments, divisions, employees, errors, factors, flaws, gaps, goals, issues, jobs, limitations, locations, managers, means, motives, needs, objectives, opportunities, patterns, people, possibilities, problems, programs, reasons, solutions, strengths, suspects, targets, traits, ways, weaknesses, workers
Example The IT department is trying to identify the cause of the problem.
General English put something into action
Business English implement
Collocations agreements, changes, decisions, goals, guidelines, ideas, improvements, laws, legislation, measures, perspectives, plans, policies, priorities, processes, programs, proposals, provisions, recommendations, reforms, regulations, resolutions, rules, schemes, strategies, suggestions, systems
Example The new hiring policies will be implemented next month.
General English make the most of something, increase as much as possible
Business English maximize
Collocations advantages, benefits, chances, effects, effectiveness, efficiency, gain, impact, income, interest, investments, likelihood, opportunities, performance, possibilities, potential, production, productivity, profits, recovery, results, returns, revenue, sales, success, time, use, utility, value
Example How can we maximize consumer interest in our products?
General English make the least of something, lessen as much as possible
Business English minimize
Collocations arguments, bias, chances, competition, conflicts, confusion, contamination, costs, damages, danger, delay, discomfort, difficulties, distraction, distortion, effect, emission, errors, expenditure, expenses, exposure, friction, hazards, impact, likelihood, loss, pain, pollution, problems, quarrels, risk, stress, suffering, waste, window
Example If they don’t minimize costs, they’ll be out of business soon.
General English make someone want to do something
Business English motivate
Collocations adults, buyers, citizens, clients, colleagues, customers, department, employees, family members, leaders, managers, myself, speakers, staff, students, supervisors, team, union, viewers, workers
Example These incentives should motivate our sales people.
General English fix something
Business English resolve
Collocations conflicts, crises, differences, difficulties, dilemmas, disagreements, disputes, issues, matters, problems, situations, tension
Example You need to resolve your differences with the other team members.

TIP: Listen for these power verbs when reading or listening, and add any new collocations to your list!

Watch the following lesson to learn 8 powerful adjectives that will take your business vocabulary even further:

engVid quiz

Test your understanding of this English lesson

Test your understanding of the English lesson by answering these questions. You will get the answers and your score at the end of the quiz.