English For IT
Published in

English For IT

Top 22 Expressions For Effective Team And Client Communication In Tech

A common problem for tech teams is unproductive meetings. You’ve probably been to a few of those meetings when participants show up unprepared and take too long to formulate their ideas and communicate them effectively.

To ensure that your meetings run smoothly and efficiently, certain fixed phrases can be of great help. Here is a list of 22 useful expressions that are frequently used by native speakers to help you be a valid contributor in any meeting.

Answering difficult questions


I’m gonna have to do more research on that, and I’ll get back to you / I’m gonna have to get back to you on that — I’ll investigate this topic and give you my feedback at a later time

This phrase is commonly used by native speakers when they can’t answer a certain question there and then.

- So, why do you think this month’s ad campaign wasn’t as successful as the ones we did in the past?

- That’s a good question. I’m gonna have to do more research on that and I’ll get back to you. We need a few more days to collect and analyze all relevant data.


It’s hard to say off the top of my head / Off the top of my head, I would say that… — when you struggle to give an immediate answer.

The phrase “off the top of my head” means that you’re not basing your answer on cold hard facts, but rather on your memory and subjective opinions.

- When can the update be pushed to prod?

- Off the top of my head, I’d say in about 2 weeks from now. But that’s still just a rough estimate. I’ll talk it over with the lead developer today and follow up with a specific date. Does that sound good?


I’m gonna have to check in with my team… — I need to talk to my team and get their opinions.

You know, I don’t want to accidentally misinform you so I’m gonna have to check in with my team on that first, just to be sure.


My best guess is that… — as far I know/based on what I know

Sometimes the best you can do is to “make an educated guess” — give your interpretation of the situation based on your existing knowledge or experience while highlighting that it might not be 100% correct.

I don’t have enough hard data to answer this question. My best guess is that poor team communication could be the main cause of this issue.


I really can’t say — use this phrase when you’re really not sure about something.

I really can’t say what this process would involve. I can give you a very basic-level overview but I just don’t know the exact details.

Asking for clarification


I’m not entirely clear on (that) — I don’t understand something 100%.

I’m not entirely clear on what our next steps should be


Sorry, I must be misunderstanding something. Could you walk me through this one more time? — a polite and friendly way of saying “This doesn’t make sense to me. Please, explain everything to me once again”.


Let me say it back to you, just so we’re clear… — a good way to eliminate misunderstandings is to mirror what someone just told you using your own words. This phrase can help you do just that.

I think I got it. Let me just say this back to you, just so we’re clear. So, our first step would be to optimize the platform’s performance and as soon as we’re done with that, we’ll start working on a new demo. Is that right?


So that would mean… — another useful expression for paraphrasing someone’s message.

So that would mean scrapping the entire existing database?


So how would that be different from…? — Consider using this phrase when you need extra arguments, explanations, or persuasion.

I see your point. What I mean is, how would that be different from the current system that we have in place?


What do you mean by ….? / And by …. you mean…? — another handy phrase to ask someone to provide some information or explain something in more detail.

- We have to do this fast.

- And by “fast” you mean…?


Come again, please? / Sorry, I didn’t catch that / Could say that again, please? — sometimes, you just need to hear the message a second time.

Managing team communication


Why don’t you..(give us your updates) — This is a friendlier way of saying “Could you…?” or “Please…”.


Does anyone want to go first? / Why don’t you go first? — in other words, “Do you want to be the first person to speak”?

I think we can get started. Alex, why don’t you go first?


I’m gonna turn it over to you / Over to you — for when you want someone to speak after you’re done.

Mindy, over to you now. What has your team been working on this week?


[Alan], would you like to continue and tell us about / fill us in on…? — another useful phrase for managing team dynamics in a meeting.

Alan, would you like to continue and tell us about all the progress you’ve made this week?


Could you tell us where we are with …? — for when you want to ask for project updates.

Jack, could you tell me where we currently are with the update? Is everything on schedule?


How is the progress on … (Have we made any progress on…?)/ How is … coming along? — another good way of asking for updates.

Have we made any progress on that yet?

How is the product filter feature coming along?


Could you tell me why that is? — for when you need a detailed explanation.

- We’ve tried migrating our database this way, but it hasn’t worked. We probably need to use a different approach.

- Could you tell me why that is?


Hold that thought — that’s a good point, but let’s discuss it later.

Jill, hold that thought. Let’s give Alan a chance to finish making his point.


Let’s circle back (to that) later — we’ll get back to this discussion later.

That’s a great point, thanks for bringing it up. I don’t think we have enough time to dive into it now, but we’ll circle back to it later for sure.


Can I cut you off for a second? — “cut off” is a less formal synonym of “interrupt”.

Alternatively, you can say, “Sorry for cutting you off”.

Sorry, can I cut you off for a second there? How much time did you say you spent on that bug?

Effective meetings are crucial for successful team communication. That’s why English For IT places special focus on teaching modern polite English and business communication etiquette in all of our courses.




Helping you improve your English and communication skills

Recommended from Medium

Every salesperson has a story. What’s yours?

Keep calm and hire interns

How standup desk affect on your back?

The Six Skills of Growing in Gravitas

Steven Fortuna Of Blossom Water: 5 Things a Business Should Do to Create a Wow! Customer Experience

What the Heck does Infinitely Fungible Mean?

What I Learned Working Remotely For Two Months

The Most Successful People Are Usually the Most Humble Ones

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
English For IT

English For IT

English and soft skills for tech professionals: www.english4it.online

More from Medium

Imposter tip: how to prioritize incoming tasks

3 simple ways to deal with change

Why and how did I decide to change my career?

TRUST: The Secret of Building Your Community’s Internal Robustness