Idioms for Meetings and Negotiations

Time is of the essence – In the UK and the US this is a legal term. It expresses the need for timely completion. In other words, you must perform (do a job or provide a product) by a certain date that you and the other party both agree to.

Stick to the point – Keep the negotiation/meeting on topic and don’t start talking about other things. In a meeting, the person leading the meeting might say, “Let’s stick to the agenda.”

Loss of face – Loss of prestige or respect; being embarrassed or humiliated.

Getting/Get down to business – This is similar to ‘stick to the point’. It means to start talking immediately about the business purpose of the meeting/negotiation and not spend time talking about other topics (e.g. personal matters).

Small talk – Casual conversation that is usually not directly related to the business purpose of the meeting/negotiation. It is a way of getting to know the other person beyond the context of business.

Relationship building – For many people it is important to spend time getting to know someone before doing business with them. The main purpose of relationship building is to develop trust.

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