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Ten high impact phrasal verbs for business

Hello once again to The Art of Business English. This week I have a short but very useful episode for you. Today we are going to be looking at ten high impact phrasal verbs that you can start using in your next business meeting.

These ten phrasal verbs are categories at C1 level, which means they are advanced level phrasal verbs. So, if you want to sound more native and express yourself to a higher degree in English you won’t want to miss these.

Today, I will be covering the following, I will start by explaining why they are high impact, then, I will give you the ten phrasal verbs with their Spanish translation, as well as some example sentences to put them into content.

Let’s get started. 

Watch the episode here

High impact phrasal verbs

When I researched this list, I wanted to create a list of ten phrasal verbs that you could use in business that would help you be more descriptive in difficult, stressful or important situations at work. These ten phrasal verbs can be used to transmit urgency, struggles, accountability, motivation and give you an air of professionalism.

Now it’s time to dive in and look at our ten high impact phrasal verbs.

To bounce back

I love this expression; it means to recover or recuperate. Normally, we “bounce back” or “recuperarse” (in Spanish), from a negative or difficult situation. For example. “The professional tennis player bounced back from his injury and is performing at the highest level.”

So, we can use this expression when we want to make an impact. We can motive our team in the face of adversity. 


Normally, we “bounce back” or “recuperarse” (in Spanish), from a negative or difficult situation. 

To come up against

This next one is also great, it means to face a problem or obstacle, or in Spanish “tropezar con”. In business we often come up against many challenges or problems that we must overcome.

If want to use this phrasal verb to create impact, we could use it to motivate our team too. For example, “I know we have come up against a few challenges with launching this new product, but thanks to your hard work it has been a success.”


In business we often come up against many challenges or problems that we must overcome. 

To hold accountable

Let’s turn to the next one, which is to hold someone accountable. This means to consider someone as being responsible for something. The Spanish definition is “hacer responsable a”.

This high impact phrasal verb can be used to clearly assign responsibility to someone for something that has happened within your organisation. For example, “I am holding John accountable for the breakdown in communication between the company and our main supplier.”

To kick off

To kick something off is another great phrasal verb that means to begin something. The translation is “arrancar” or “empezar”. This expression comes from football. If I ask you, “what time is kick off?”, then I mean, what time does the match start. This expression has become popular in business and many projects start with a “kick-off meeting”.

If we want to use this high impact phrasal verb then we could use it in a meeting. For example, “Ryan, can you kick things off and give us an update on our progress since our last meeting?” 

To put something forward

I just love this next phrasal verb; it is definitely high impact and will make you sound very professional during your next meeting. Especially when you would like to add some ideas. “To put something forward”, means to propose or suggest. The Spanish translation is “postularse”.

We use this phrasal verb when we would like to make some suggestions or offer some ideas. Here we could say, “Excuse me Brian, I would just like to put forward an idea that I think would be beneficial to the team.” As you can see, it sounds much more professional than saying “add” or “offer”. 


"To put something forward”, means to propose or suggest.

To rush into

Nobody wants to rush into things, this could be a recipe for disaster, especially when we make decisions under pressure. To rush into something (apurarse), is to do something hastily or quickly. This informal expression definitely has a high impact feel to it. It is especially effective when used with the correct intonation. It sounds much more urgent than the word “quick” or “quickly”.

We could use this sentence as a warning, for example, “John, I appreciate your desire to move this matter forward quickly, however I think it would be wrong to rush into taking a decision and then regretting it later.”

To shake something up

The following phrasal verb is very useful, especially in situations where you may want to get your team out of a rut. Think of those times when your team are not being creative, or they are stuck in the same old way of doing things. It’s these times when this phrasal verb is most effective.

When we shake something up, it means to radically reorganise or “dar un cambio radical”. So, next time your team is stuck and can’t think of a solution you could use this high impact phrasal verb to get them thinking from a different perspective. For example, “People, let’s try and shake things up a bit and think about this problem from a completely different angle.” 

To take someone one

The next high impact phrasal verb on our list is to take someone or something on. This means to compete against or accept a challenge. The Spanish translation would be “aceptarle el desafío a” or “enfrentarse a”.

The phrasal verb is high impact because you can use it to show someone that you are up to the challenge or that you are willing to compete against them.

For example, we could say, “We are not going to give up, let’s take our competitors on and see who can offer the best customer experience!”

To hook someone up

Let’s move on to the next high impact phrasal verb. The next one is to hook someone up and it means to connect or attach. It is quite an informal phrasal verb and we would use it when we are trying to network or get someone to help us make some new business connections.

Try and imagine a situation where a friend or business associate knows someone who you would like to meet. You could say to them, “Hey Maria, can you hook me up with your new client? I think our services could be useful to him.”

To mess about

Well, that brings us to our last high impact phrasal verb for business. This last one is also an informal expression but said in the right way it can have a powerful impact on someone’s behaviour. To mess about means to be unproductive or time wasting. The Spanish translation is “tontear” or “perder el tiempo”.

If you want to give a team member a reminder not to waste company time, then this phrasal verb will whip them into line in no time.

Take a look at this example. “Ryan, stop messing about and get down to work. I don’t want to see you planning your next holiday in company time again!”

Final thoughts

So, there you have my list of ten high impact phrasal verbs for business that you can use to make an impact in your next meeting or business situation. Remember, it is important to understand their meaning and use in context so that they will have the right effect.

If you want to learn phrasal verbs and business collocations then make sure you grab a copy of our ebook, “500 business English collocations for everyday use”. This ebook contains 500 collocations, as well as the mp3 files with all of the pronunciation.

I hope you liked this episode, if you did, then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have the time, head over to iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher and give me a 5-star review. I don’t pay to promote this podcast, so having you share it with your people really helps me to spread the word and reach out and help more people.

Thanks again and stay tuned for next week’s episode as I will be continuing with some more vocabulary for business. 

Do you need to improve your English vocabulary? 

Do you want to improve your pronunciation while learning fixed English expressions? 

Grab your copy of The Art of Business English eBook. 500 business English collocations for everyday use. This eBook includes 500 collocations with example sentences as well as the mp3 files with all the pronunciation. 

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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