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  • Writer's pictureErin West

How to Make Effective Suggestions in Business English

Updated: Jan 2


four people sitting in white chairs outdoors engaged in a discussion
How to Make Effective Suggestions in Business English

Making well-articulated and persuasive suggestions is a valuable skill that can help you stand out as a competent communicator and leader. In this article, we'll explore some key strategies for making effective and impactful suggestions in a business context.

Here are a few tips on how to make effective suggestions in Business English:



1. CHOOSE YOUR WORDS WISELY


In Business English, precision and clarity are paramount. Use precise language and choose your words carefully when making a suggestion. Avoid vague or ambiguous terms, and be as specific as possible to convey your message.


2. BE POLITE AND DIPLOMATIC

The tone and manner in which you make a suggestion can significantly affect how it is received. Use polite language and diplomatic expressions to convey your idea without appearing demanding or confrontational. Phrases like "I would suggest +Ving" or "Perhaps we could consider + noun " can soften the suggestion.


3. BACK IT UP WITH DATA


Support your suggestions with data, facts, and evidence whenever possible. Data-driven suggestions carry more weight and are more likely to be taken seriously. Statistics, market research, or other relevant information can strengthen your argument.


4. SHOW BENEFITS


Highlight the benefits of your suggestion. Explain how it aligns with the company's goals or how it can solve a problem. Demonstrating the positive impact of your suggestion can make it more appealing to decision-makers.


5. CONSIDER THE AUDIENCE


Tailor your suggestion to the audience you are addressing. Different stakeholders may have varied interests and priorities. Understand their perspective and adjust your approach accordingly.


6. USE CONDITIONAL LANGUAGE


To make your suggestion sound less imposing, use conditional language. For example, you can say, "If we were to implement this strategy," or "It might be beneficial if we could..."


7. ENCOURAGE DISCUSSION


Open the floor for discussion after presenting your suggestion. Encourage questions, feedback, and alternative viewpoints. This demonstrates your willingness to collaborate and consider different perspectives.


8. BE FLEXIBLE


In a business environment, flexibility is key. Be prepared to modify your suggestions based on feedback or new information. A rigid approach can hinder effective communication.


9. PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING


When others make suggestions, practice active listening. Show that you value their input, ask clarifying questions, and acknowledge their ideas. This fosters a culture of open and constructive communication.


10. SEEK FEEDBACK


After making a suggestion, actively seek feedback on your proposal. Constructive criticism can help you refine your communication skills and make better suggestions in the future.


Making suggestions in Business English: EXAMPLES.

  • I suggest (that) Subject + V1

I suggest that we schedule a new meeting to keep everyone updated.


  • It might be a good idea to +V1

It might be a good idea to initiate a social media campaign.


  • We could +V1

To reduce expenses, we could try to negotiate better terms with our suppliers.


  • It might be beneficial to +V1

It might be beneficial to offer regular training sessions for employees to enhance their skills and knowledge.


  • If we were to +V1 ..., we would/could + V1...

If we were to implement a remote work policy, it could enhance employee work-life balance.


  • What if we +V1/V2...?

What if we conducted a customer satisfaction survey? (less certain)

What if we conduct a customer satisfaction survey? (more certain)

  • Why don't you/we... + V1?

Why don't we schedule another meeting to cover these points?


  • How about + Ving...?/ How about we +V1...?

How about discussing the marketing strategy in our next team meeting?

How about we discuss the marketing strategy in our next team meeting?


  • I think we should +V1

I think we should be more mindful of our customers' feedback.


  • Shall we +V1...?

Shall we proceed with the sales presentation?


  • Have you considered + noun/Ving?

Have you considered changing your approach to customer support?




PRACTICE


Task 1. Complete the gaps.


Dialogue 1 - Project Meeting


Alex: "I've noticed our progress is a bit slow. I think we ______ assign specific tasks to team members to speed things up."

Sarah: "That's a good idea, Alex. Let's discuss this in the next team meeting."



Dialogue 2 - Marketing Strategy


Mark: "Our current marketing strategy isn't yielding the results we expected. How _______ exploring influencer marketing to reach a wider audience?"

Sofia: "I like that suggestion, Mark. Let's look into potential influencers for our next campaign."



Dialogue 3 - Office Efficiency


Carlos: "Our office layout seems a bit cluttered. I _______ we reorganize the workspace to create a more open and collaborative environment."

Lisa: "I've been thinking the same thing, Carlos. Let's present this idea to the management team."


Dialogue 4 - Sales Meeting


Tom: "Our sales numbers are not good. What ______ we introduce a loyalty program to retain and attract customers?"

Jenny: "That's a great suggestion, Tom. I'll start working on a proposal for the program."


Dialogue 5 - Team Brainstorming


Michael: "We're brainstorming new product ideas. Why _____ we gather customer feedback to identify their specific needs and preferences?"

Natalia: "I think that's a smart suggestion, Michael. It will help us develop products that truly resonate with our customers."



Task 2. Make suggestions about how best to tackle the problems below.


Problem 1.

A small tech startup is struggling to gain brand visibility. They need to come up with a cost-effective marketing strategy to reach their target audience and increase sales. What would you suggest?


Problem 2.

A manufacturing company is experiencing delays in receiving raw materials from a supplier. This affects production schedules and customer deliveries. How can they address this supply chain issue?


Problem 3.

A manager has noticed a decline in the productivity of their team. They need to find a way to motivate and engage employees to improve performance. What would be your suggestions?


Problem 4.

A small California-based clothes brand has to decide whether to invest in new equipment or lease it. What would you recommend?




 

Answers:

Task 1.

Dialogue 1: should

Dialogue 2: about

Dialogue 3: suggest

Dialogue 4: if

Dialogue 5: don't


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