Slam Dunk your Business Conversation


Sports Terms Used in Business Conversations........

How important are "sports" in your country? As you may know sports enthusiasm in North America is fanatical (obsessively concerned with something). Statistics vary but most will agree that 70 to 75% of all adults played sports when younger.

I bet more than 75% of all American parents hope their child will become a professional athlete. Pro athletes are celebrities! They greatly influence our youth and can even be the social glue that brings a community or even a country together. Sports has also immensely impacted and influenced our vocabulary.

How often have you heard the English expression: "team player"? This is probably one of the most overused CV and interview qualifications!

Here is just a brief glimpse into the American English world of sports terminology that is used daily in social and business conversation.

Slam dunk

Basketball term - this is a basketball shot when a player jumps above the rim of the net and puts the ball directly into the hole. Business slang: Used to express when something great happens or is done.  Q: How was your presentation? A: It was a slam dunk! ( meaning it was terrific) Someone might also say: He/She knocked it out of the park! Meaning it was something done very well.

Drop the ball

From American Football or Baseball When you fail to do something that was expected. Usually you had the chance to do something positive and you missed the opportunity. You are said to have "dropped the ball"

Keep your eye on the ball

From many sports that use a ball - baseball: a hitter must keep his/her eye on the ball in order to hit it well. Same is true in tennis etc. In business: if your boss tells you to keep your eye on the ball - it means to focus on the job / project, don't lose track of what is important.

Out of left field

A position played to catch the ball in baseball. In the office this means something unexpected, odd or strange. An idea that is unusual and possibly surprising is said to have come out of left field. "He is way out in left field" - this can mean he is considered to be crazy.

Par for the course

In golf, a 'par' is the score expected for the number of shots to sink the golf ball into the hole. In business = the expected result or outcome, considered normal. "As a manager, working long hours is par for the course."

Behind the eight ball

From the game of billiards / pool. In business, if you are said to be 'behind the eight ball' you are in a very bad position or situation

On the ball = to know what is happening and to be fully aware or in control of the situation.

Call the shots = someone who makes the important decisions.

Front runner = the person expected to win or succeed.

Do you know even Shakespeare used Sports slang? He wrote "Nay if our wits run the wild goose chase, I am done." Although chasing wild geese does not sound like a fun sport, it did become an idiom! Going on a "wild goose chase" means to go after a useless or impossible to achieve quest.

My final sports term: Win-Win situation. You might say studying with me at Ole Academy is a win-win situation. You will have fun and improve your English!

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