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Idioms for strategic planning meetings

This week on the Art of Business English Loic is back to help me with another episode. Together we look at idioms you can use in your next strategic planning meeting.

Certainly, you may have heard of some of these expressions, yet there are sure to be a few new ones in there.

As you will see in the episode, we give you the meaning of each expressions and then put each one into context so that you will know how to use them perfectly.

So without further ado, let’s dive in a look at our ten idioms for your next strategic planning meeting. 

Watch the episode here

10 Idioms for strategic planning meetings

Up in the air

Definition: Not clearly defined or agreed, some uncertainty


  1. Postwar America's decision about who should be President is still up in the air.
  2. The issue remained up in the air after the meeting since no strategy regarding the investment had been worked out.

Think outside the box

Definition: Try to solve a problem in an original way by thinking creatively


  1. In these times leaders must challenge themselves and their company to think outside the box.
  2. I know she is able to think outside the box, that is why she is a good problem-solver.

Stumbling block

Definition: An obstacle or impediment


  1. Our next stumbling block is finding a production company interested in the takeover.
  2. Financing is a major stumbling block, as lenders are reluctant to extend loans.

Hit the roof

Definition: Go into a rage, explode angrily


  1. They'll hit the roof when they hear about the fire in the warehouse.
  2. When the new consultants couldn't come up with a working strategy, the CEO hit the roof.


Definition: Innovative


  1. The cutting-edge technology we're going to release will place us in the top in our industry.
  2. An investment in the new factory in Korea will get us cutting edge facilities to work from

Run out of steam

Definition: Lose momentum or become tired


  1. It's unwise to start anything new today, we are likely to run out of steam very quickly.
  2. So, without better ways to use our capital, growth would soon run out of steam.

(Not) out of the woods

Definition: In/no longer in danger


  1. We may have managed to retain key accounts this year but we're not out of the woods yet.
  2. The company is not out of the woods, but things are looking up, observes Forbes magazine.

Go pear-shaped

Definition: To go wrong


  1. Unless things go pear shaped this month, we should meet our sales targets.
  2. Every strategist knows the best plans can go pear-shaped.

Change one’s tune

Definition: Change your opinion on something


  1. Ultimately the result may have been the same, but the company's investors had changed their tune.
  2. John who thought it was a good investment, has now changed his tune after the company declared itself insolvent.

On the ball

Definition: Competent and alert


  1. We really need to be on the ball with this new investment or we could be blindsided by an unforeseen risk factor.
  2. I need everyone to be on the ball this Monday morning as we have an important visit from the CEO.

Final thoughts

To sum up, idioms are the key to making your business English sound polished and professional. If you want to really take your English to an advanced level then you should learn idioms and expand your range of vocabulary. This combined with good grammatical structure is your key to fluency. 

If you liked this episode then please leave us a 5-star rating on iTunes and if you have any questions then drop us a comment below. 

Till next week. 

Business Idioms

This six module course helps English language learners build their knowledge of business idioms and their understanding of them in different business scenarios.

We cover idioms for marketing, finance, behaviour, operations and production, manegament and planning.

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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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