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Sports Idioms For The Business World

Category: Business English Skills, Language Training | 2018-11-30

One could say that business and sports are extremely similar. Both are competitive, both require a certain skill set, both use strategy, and both require teamwork. So it only makes sense that sports idioms are common in the world of business English.

If you’ve been looking to spice up your English around the office, then check out these sports idioms for business English!

Sports Idioms in Business English

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1. Keep your cards close to your chest

Do you keep things secret in your business until they absolutely have to be revealed? Then you’re playing your cards close to your chest.

Think about when you’re playing a game of cards against your friends. You don’t hold your cards open for everyone to see, do you? No, of course not! You hold your cards so that only you can see them, and that so you alone know what your plan is in the game. In business it’s the same way.

Play your cards close to your chest in the business world, and you’re sure to keep your plans secret and your business successful!

2. Play hardball

Hardball is the highest level of baseball. As children we start out with tee-ball, and later move on to another level of baseball. Softball often is played recreationally, whereas baseball, or hardball, is most often played at a competitive level. In business, when you play hardball, you’re so determined to get what you want, that you will do almost anything you can to get it. You definitely don’t give up!

Playing hardball in an office can be frustrating if you’re not an aggressive person, but it’s a useful skill to have. When you need to play hardball, for example in a negotiation, it’s time to knuckle down and get serious.

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3. Poker face

Poker faces aren’t just for Lady Gaga. Think of games of poker. When you have a good hand, you don’t want your face to reveal your hand, and vice versa when you have a bad hand. That’s why you need to develop a poker face, where our face stays completely blank no matter your hand.

The same idea goes for business. Much like keeping your cards close to your chest, having a poker face means keeping your actions secret until the last minute. It’s a great skill to have in negotiations!

4. Hold all the cards

Does your boss hold all the cards? Then this idiom means that they are in a powerful position.

When you’re doing business with another company, for example trying to negotiate a merger, you may feel that it’s important to hold all the cards. With some clients this may be the case, but it also could be useful to find some room for compromise, so don’t be afraid to try that.

5. A whole new ball game

Do you sometimes feel that work is a whole new ball game? That all the rules have changed and you’re in a completely different situation?

The business world requires you to stay on your toes, so it could very well be possible that you find yourself in a whole new ballgame. Don’t be afraid when change comes…it’s just a sign that times are changing.






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Putting it All Together

Now that you have these sports idioms under your belt, you are ready to tackle the competitive world of business. Do you know of any other sports idioms that can be used in business English? Share them with us in the comments below!

And remember: If you would like to improve your Business English, sign up for our monthly newsletter. You will receive a 7-day FREE TRIAL of our online English course, where you will find more tips, articles and exclusive deals. Thanks for reading!



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