How to Talk to Your Boss in English

Most of us want to make a good impression with our boss or project manager. Creating a great relationship with a line manager can make a promotion or pay rise more likely.

But it’s one thing to do this with a boss who speaks your own language – and quite another thing to do it in another language. So if your boss is an English speaker, here are some tips for using the right English.

Remember to be polite

Ask for things or make suggestions rather than making orders. (So “Could I” or “Do you think we should” instead of “You should” or “You must”.)

Remember to use polite modals as well: would, could, may and so on.

Be enthusiastic

Don’t be that person who always complains or tries to get out of a task. Instead, show your boss that you’re happy to be in the job and pleased to learn new things. If a boss sees that you’re enthusiastic, you’re more likely to get interesting projects to do, and you’ll also become known as a good worker.

Offer to do things in the office and to get involved

Be open to feedback

It’s important for your boss to know that you are keen to progress in the job. One way to do this is to check in with your boss and to ask for feedback. You need to know if you’re doing something right, or if you need to make improvements in how you’re doing your work.

Need more help for how you can talk to your boss?

Check out my book Business English ESL

This book has all the phrases you need to succeed in English and to make a great impression in every work situation. It’s for anyone who works in an English-speaking office, or deals with English-speaking colleagues anywhere in the world.

You’ll learn how to:

Answer difficult English questions at interviews to land a great job
Impress your boss, expand your role and get a promotion
Speak up in meetings so your ideas get heard and you get credit
Socialize and network in English with ease
Delegate work, give feedback and manage people and projects in ways that get you respect
Deal with difficult colleagues to repair bad situations and build great working relationships