Thoughts and News

 

These are a few thoughts about business, which are being updated, added to and replaced
from time to time. They don't follow any obvious pattern, but aim to offer original angles on
the world of business, with particular focus towards communication and English language.
In each example, we highlight a key point. Interestingly also, some words/ideas seem to keep
coming up, such as: simple, meaning and context
.

 

 
Talking Business - English Thoughts and News - Headlines and Listing

How cool is cool?

(18 May 2019)

In a number of languages "cool" is a positive word.

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You just had one job!

(11 March 2019)

This is a pretty clear statement of frustration....

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Very Simple Ideas for Running a Business: 5) Business Drivers

(16 January 2019)

...the idea (and this is the last one for now) of business drivers is indeed simple

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Very Simple Ideas for Running a Business: 4) Diversification and Focus

(31 December 2018)

....we're resistant to the "either/or" view of the world.

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Very Simple Ideas for Running a Business: 3) Sweating the Assets

(5 December 2018)

This means essentially using resources to the fullest extent possible...

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Very Simple Ideas for Running a Business: 2) Leakages and Bottlenecks

(15 November 2018)

Managing a business involves many tasks...

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Where do Ideas come from?

(25 September 2018)

Agreed, it's a big question - they don't get much bigger - but one that's rarely asked.

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Very Simple Ideas for Running a Business: 1) Business Model

(29 August 2018)

"Business Model" describes how a business organisation achieves its key objectives.

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How do you deal with a Problem?

(19 August 2018)

Well, maybe the first thing to do is to call it a problem.

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Last Word on Ambiguity

(10 August 2018)

Well, you can have too much of a good thing, can't you?

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More on Ambiguity

(7 June 2018)

As promised, here we are again thinking about what to do about ambiguity.

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Ambiguity - is that what it's really all about?

(10 May 2018)

In German, it's a very interesting word "zweideutig" -

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Crossing the Street in Vietnam

(27 April 2018)

Crossing the street in any city in Vietnam is quite challenging....

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Is Best Practice the best way?

(2 March 2018)

Best practice seems an obviously good idea in business.

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What is (a) Business?

(2 March 2018)

It's one of those questions - mention a word and what does this immediately make us think of?

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Talking Business: Corrections

(9 February 2018)

This past week, many stock markets around the world have been experiencing a "correction".....

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Castaways!

(14 January 2018)

How many of us have ever been left on a desert island?

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What's wrong with Risk?

(11 January 2018)

After a winter break, we're back with a few new thoughts and ideas...

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Whither Bureaucracy?

(20 November 2017)

Bureaucracy used to be a hot topic - or at least the word was - in many places and for many people.

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How do we measure Progress?

(15 September 2017)

As data becomes ever more available, there is a constant search for profitable uses to which it can be put.

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"Good Hands"

(28 August 2017)

We naturally like the idea of being "in good hands"....

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The Comforts of Culture

(11 August 2017)

Comfort zones are obviously places where we feel comfortable...

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Imagine.....being in the dry cleaning business

(21 July 2017)

In a medium sized town on the south coast of England there is no dry cleaner...

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What is an Export?

(14 July 2017)

On the face of it, the answer to this question should be fairly simple.

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In and On the Business

(18 June 2017)

People want to be "in business" for all sorts of reasons.

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Industrial Policy - it's back

(23 May 2017)

We've recently heard quite a lot about "industrial policy" on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Our Own Worst Enemy

(24 April 2017)

Following on from our latest post,.....we are often our "own worst enemy".

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Skills and Experience

(16 March 2017)

This is a stand-up paddleboard (SUP).....

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Regular Regulations

(15 February 2017)

The history of business is in many ways a history of increasing regulation.

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"It's marginal"....

(30 January 2017)

....is a comment quite often heard in business

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The Year of the Verb

(31 December 2016)

2016 was many things and there's no point revisiting the obvious....

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What ever happened to Black Friday?

(20 November 2016)

For a long time, the idea of Black Friday suggested something rather negative in business....

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Le Mot Juste

(23 October 2016)

This poster is at Biarritz, in the Basque country of south west France....

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This didn't work - an optimistic Story

(17 September 2016)

It was the wrong choice, we should never have tried it....

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Can you run a Country like a Business?

(31 August 2016)

It's often said that if countries were run like businesses, we'd all be better off.

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What are Trade Deals, really?

(10 July 2016)

In the post - referendum period in the UK, there has been a lot of discussion of "trade deals".

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Edmund Burke on Delegation

(28 May 2016)

Delegation is usually seen as a key requirement of leadership.

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More on Public Goods - "Commons"

(1 May 2016)

Following up on the previous post, it's worth mentioning something called "commons"

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What are "Public Goods"?

(15 April 2016)

Well, they're not things just left lying around for anyone to pick up.

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Making Decisions: appealing or appalling?

(31 March 2016)

Decision making is fundamental to management (and life generally)....

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Simulation - a good thing, right?

(29 February 2016)

Just a short note on this topic, which is increasingly in the news, especially if you follow football.

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Flood Defences: necessary and sufficient?

(1 January 2016)

A Happy New Year to everyone, although for many residents of the northern part of the UK it's very unhappy.

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What is a Ecosystem (in Business)?

(30 November 2015)

There are many words in English that begin with "eco-", and they're being used more and more in everyday communication, including in business.

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Jigsaw Puzzles and Strategy

(29 November 2015)

With many high-tech alternatives around, the humble jigsaw, known simply as a "puzzle" in some languages, might seem quite boring.

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Why do we need Companies?

(15 October 2015)

Having written and talked about companies and their role in business for nearly two years.....

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Some Qualifications

(30 September 2015)

If we qualify for something, that's good.

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Why football fans really are different

(11 August 2015)

What makes football fans happy? This may seem a trivial question when there are plenty of others awaiting an answer....

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"I Hear What You Say....."

(20 July 2015)

.....sounds positive, but it's usually followed by a large "BUT".

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Keep talking!

(1 July 2015)

This website is about talking, so we obviously support such an activity for all sorts of reasons.

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A Bridge too far.........or Mission Creep?

(15 June 2015)

Metaphors are not unknown in business communication (see "Food for Thought", 16 January 2104) and military ones are especially popular.

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"Muscle Memory" - bridging the Gap?

(28 May 2015)

In another part of our website, Expanding Vocabulary, we try to show the difference between instinct and intuition as ways of resolving a problem.

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How to win an Election (maybe)

(2 May 2015)

There's a General Election for the UK Parliament this week.

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Lead, talking Strategy

(27 April 2015)

This title sounds like a clue to a cryptic crossword. It may well be, but hopefully there's something - two things in fact - more interesting to consider as well.

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Art and/or Science?

(5 March 2015)

We hear quite often, including in business, that something is "more art than science" (or vice versa).

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What's Marketing up to?

(22 February 2015)

Marketing is one of those words that appear a lot in business and in modern life.

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Indifferent - an Interesting Word

(18 February 2015)

In everyday speaking, when we say we're indifferent to something, it generally means "we don't care"....

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Alternatives and Options

(12 February 2015)

In general (i.e. non-business) communication, alternatives and options mean essentially the same thing - different possibilities or choices.

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Engagement is announced....

(7 February 2015)

Engagement is a word used a lot in business, but it's not easy to find a clear definition.

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Why do we need Economics?

(3 February 2015)

Economics has had a hard time recently, especially the macro part, which focuses on the big picture....

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Churchill: the Importance of Importance

(30 January 2015)

Sir Winston Churchill, whose funeral took place 50 years ago today, was the British Prime Minister for all but the first few months of the Second World War.

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Great Expectations

(28 January 2015)

In the previous post (15 January 2015: "Feeling Deflated?") we wrote about expectations and how they influence behaviour.

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Feeling Deflated?

(15 January 2015)

Once the holiday season is over and a new year begins.....

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Fluent in Business

(1 January 2015)

Happy New Year to all our Readers. Here's a new theme as well - Fluent in Business - whether English is a first or working language.

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The Correct Response

(14 December 2014)

Being proactive is a good thing in business. Leaders aim to see opportunities early......

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Imagination....

(1 December 2014)

What does imagination have to do with business? After all, business is a serious matter in which the rules are fairly clear....

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Analysing the SWOT

(6 November 2014)

SWOT analysis is a very widely used technique for quickly assessing and presenting situations.

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Dylan on Leadership

(27 October 2014)

Dylan Thomas, born in Wales a hundred years ago today, is among the greatest poets in a country famous for its poetry.

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How to finish a Crossword.....

(24 October 2014)

.....and also deal with a lot of issues in business at the same time.

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Questions and Answers - which are more important?

(22 October 2014)

If asked which are more important, questions or answers, our immediate response would probably be "answers".

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A Heuristic - should we risk it?

(12 October 2014)

If we've heard of the word "Eureka" (often with a "!") we've also heard of heuristics.

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Views with a Room

(8 October 2014)

Even in today's world of open plan offices, rooms are still quite important in business.

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Pressing the Reset Button

(18 September 2014)

We're fairly familiar with the reset button on many of the electronic devices that are a key part of life in the 21st century.

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Narratives - Handle with Care

(7 September 2014)

A narrative is a story which seeks to explain or clarify.It can look backwards, forwards or stay mostly in the present, and apply to many situations....

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Dilemma: a good word to use (or not)?

(4 September 2014)

In some ways, the word "dilemma" might seem strange to use in business.

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Big Data. Big Deal?

(1 August 2014)

Big Data is certainly in the news at the moment. What exactly is it all about and why is it considered so important?

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Who needs a Concierge?

(29 July 2014)

Concierge is a French word which traditionally describes the position of guardian or caretaker of a residential building....

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Getting in with a Good Crowd

(29 July 2014)

Crowds: some of us like being in them, for others they're to be avoided.

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Can we manage without Latin?

(23 June 2014)

Not surprisingly, one of the strongest impressions on arriving in Rome is that there are lots of buildings from about 2000 years ago.

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How Disruptive became Cool

(22 April 2014)

Disruptive behaviour is, not surprisingly, unwelcome in most fields of activity.

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Intellectual Property - what will they think of next?

(31 March 2014)

Intellectual Property (IP) is a slightly cumbersome term meaning "the results from someone's idea".

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The value of Value

(18 March 2014)

It's quite difficult to talk business without mentioning Value - in fact, it's worth a capital V.

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How do we make an Argument?

(14 March 2014)

It's often said that it takes two sides to make an argument.

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"Vedi Napoli e poi muori"

(3 March 2014)

This observation, often attributed to the great German writer, Goethe, actually means "it doesn't get any better than this",....

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Accommodate, Create.....Negotiate

(2 March 2014)

The idea of the tough negotiator is well established in the folklore (mythology?) of business. The clever use of persuasion techniques and other "tricks", is all part of that story.

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Shakespeare and the Players

(25 February 2014)

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players", according to Shakespeare, who was born 450 years ago this year.

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Globalise, Standardise?

(17 February 2014)

More than 80% of global trade in goods is carried by sea. The shipping container, which comes in standard sizes and variations, has contributed enormously to the growth in trade in recent decades.

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What does Strategic mean?

(17 February 2014)

We often hear in business that something is "strategic"....

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How do we do Business in Asia?

(30 January 2014)

As in Europe, the countries of Asia regularly come together for special events.

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Keep an Eye on the Toast - all about Context

(29 January 2014)

Toasting and speechmaking, in one form or another, are a part of most cultures. Being able to join in toasts is a useful social, and therefore business, skill.

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Survival Strategies - has anyone seen a Polar Bear?

(16 January 2014)

Everyone, no matter how good their language is, sometimes needs a survival strategy - it depends on the situation.

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Food for Thought

(16 January 2014)

Metaphors, images also with literal meanings, a simple way to convey ideas and thoughts, are a feature of all languages, including English. They are certainly used in business, so it's worth getting to know a few.

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Agendas

(16 January 2014)

When arranging a meeting, it's always a good idea to have an agenda - the list of topics to be discussed. However, if we hear without any context (such as a meeting), that someone has "an agenda"....

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Why is Lincoln's Gettysburg Address so special?

(15 January 2014)

It was the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in November 2013. This was a speech made four months after a major battle of the US Civil War, a three-day engagement which cost thousands of lives.

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Do Footballers speak Business English?

(15 January 2014)

There are many foreign players in the higher divisions of English football. They have contributed very significantly to the huge attention enjoyed by the English game around the world.

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Why do we like Sherlock Holmes?

(14 January 2014)

If you lived in England in the late 19th c. and had a big problem, Sherlock Holmes was your "go to" person.

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Stop/Go in South Africa

(14 January 2014)

We know, especially in business,the phrase "keep it short and simple - KISS". It's often about the message - a short, simple description is better than something more complex.

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