Results & Achievement Conversation in Business English

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

If a manager asked you to describe your company's performance over the past year, could you do it? This lesson outlines how to take part in and understand results and achievements conversations using business English.

Getting Business Right

  • How are sales this month?
  • What's the impact of our new promotional offer?
  • Why aren't more millennials buying our products?

Depending on your job, you may be asked questions such as these every day. If you are able to converse about results and achievements in business English, you'll be better able to represent both your organization or team and yourself. When you are able to clearly describe and explain business results, trends, events and changes, you're likely to gain the respect of your colleagues, clients and managers.

As you learn new business English terminology, it's important to adapt what you learn to fit your specific work environment. Remember, English is a flexible language, so you need to be able to suit your vocabulary choices to apply to different situations.

Describing Performance and Results

If you find yourself in a situation in which you need to explain results or achievements, it's important to use descriptive words because they are typically easier for the listener to interpret. The following two scenarios both describe the same results, but one is effective and one is not.

A manager has asked Billy to describe last month's revenue, which has increased by 15 percent.

  1. Billy: Last month revenue went up, so that's good, right?
  2. Billy: I'm pleased to report that revenue increased by 15 percent. As far as I'm concerned, this shows an outstanding performance by our sales team.

Which response do you think is more effective? While both responses are about revenue increasing, the second is more interesting and engaging because it describes how much revenue increased and why. When you describe changes, whether positive or negative, descriptive language can help the listener better visualize what you are saying and can increase the effectiveness of your communication.

Following is some terminology you can use to describe general business performance and results.

  • Our prediction is that the results will be _____.
  • We expect the company's performance to be _____.
    • Fill in the blanks with: (better/worse) (than anticipated/than we initially forecasted)
  • We achieved _____ results.
  • The company's performance was _____.
    • Fill in the blanks with: great/interesting/disappointing/unexpected/encouraging

As you learn new words and phrases, it can be helpful to write them down for future reference. Collecting a list of descriptive phrases in one place, such as a computer file or small notebook, will give you an opportunity to study and analyze the words and phrases over time. You'll also be able to determine which words and phrases are the most effective and you can use these in your English descriptions of performance and results.

Explaining Trends and Changes

Some of the same language you use to describe performance and results can also be used to describe trends and changes. However, other terminology is more specific to these situations.

A 'trend' is a common pattern of behavior. For example, the increasing number of people working from home could be described as a business trend. Also, the desire for larger cellphones could be described as a consumer trend.

'Changes' refer to deviations from an established pattern. For instance, business communication has changed significantly from letters, phone calls and faxes to emails, instant messaging and video conferencing.

Depending on the type of work you do, you may have to describe trends and changes. Look at the following sentences and pay special attention to how trends and changes are described and discussed.

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