Phrasal verbs are most English learners’ worst nightmare. Unfortunately they are so commonly used in English by native speakers that you’ll hear them several times in a conversation. And that’s the same for communication with native English speakers in a business setting. You can’t escape them!

What are phrasal verbs?

Phrasal verbs are verbs used with another word (an adverb or preposition) to create a commonly used phrase.

Phrasal verbs are idiomatic — you can’t guess the meaning of a phrasal verb by interpreting each of the words it contains literally. For example, if you say, “I’ll look into the mirror,” you are going to direct your sight to a mirror. In this case, look into is not a phrasal verb; it’s simply a verb followed by a preposition. On the other hand, if you say, “I don’t know what phrasal verbs are, but I’ll look into it,” you are not directing your sight into phrasal verbs but are going to find out more about them. 

How to learn and remember phrasal verbs?

My clients often ask me how best they should learn phrasal verbs and I categorically tell them that memorising a list of phrasal verbs out of context is a big NO!

What is far more effective is to learn them in context, in other words, in the different settings you find them. If the setting is familiar, the phrasal verb will be easier to understand and remember.

I prefer to teach phrasal verbs under different topics. This does three things: (1) it shows you that phrasal verbs are a normal part of English, (2) it ensures you don’t get overwhelmed by too many phrasal verbs at once, and (3) it gives you practice using phrasal verbs in the correct context.

And this is what I plan to do in my brand new series entitled Business Phrasal Verbs.

In this first post of the series, I want to show you what phrasal verbs you will find on the topic of Business Meetings. 

Phrasal Verbs in Business Meetings

Imagine, you’ve arranged or called a meeting. Or you’ve been asked to attend a meeting either in person or via a conference call.
The date and time are set and you put it (or schedule it) in your diary. Occasionally, you need to bring forward (make it earlier) the time of the meeting to suit everyone.

You then get a call from a colleague to say that something has come up (happened) and you decide the meeting has to be put back (postponed) to another day. No problem. In a way, you’re quite relieved because you have a mountain of things to do and you were worried that you may have had to call off (cancel) the meeting anyway.

During the meeting, you have a number of issues you need to raise and deal with (manage). You may have outlined the items in an agenda that you’ve circulated to everyone beforehand. With some issues, you may have to weigh up (think carefully about) their advantages and disadvantages (pros and cons) before taking action. This could take a while and you might encourage your colleagues to join in (participate) the discussion.

Sometimes you need to look into (to investigate/research) a matter before taking a final decision. If that’s the case, you might note down (write) all the points raised during the meeting to help you.

Some people don’t like to be interrupted when they’re talking, while others don’t mind if you step in (interrupt) with your point of view. I have had times when I’ve had to cut in (interrupt) especially when I thought that a colleague was going on (continuing without stopping) about something truly unimportant. There is always someone in a meeting who just keeps rambling on (talking too much about something that’s uninteresting) about some subject that no one else is interested in.  So, I often tell my colleagues that we need to press on (continue) with the other items in the agenda. After all, there’s nothing worse than having a meeting that drags on (continues for far too long), is there?!

Can you think of other phrasal verbs you’ve seen or used in the context of business meetings? Please share them in the comments box and I will add them to the list.