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8 Top English Idioms for Successful First Steps! [Podcast]

Learn 8 useful business English idioms that you can use when you start a new job, join a new team, or take on a new project. You can read the transcription below and download the PDF with explanations and examples.

Idioms for First Steps

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Talaera Talks – Transcript Episode 8

Welcome to Talaera Talks, the business English communication podcast for non-native professionals. My name is Paola and I am co-hosting this show with Simon. In this podcast, we’re going to be covering communication advice and tips to help express yourself with confidence in English in professional settings. So we hope you enjoy the show!

Hey there, this is Simon and I’m back for another Talaera Bit. So today we are going to talk about starting in a new job or team, and some good common business idioms that we can use around that. So similar to what we’ve done before, I’m going to put these in context a little bit, and see if you can find the meaning first, before we get into the actual definitions.

So, right now, it’s pretty difficult to get your foot in the door in a new job. If you do, and you actually get the job, sometimes you can feel a bit like a fish out of water. A good way to stand out from the crowd, and really break the ice is to just roll up your sleeves and learn the ropes. Once you do that, who knows, you may get the seal of approval from your fellow colleagues and, after a period of time, you may eventually be seen as the cream of the crop.

So there was a lot of language in there that we have to go through.

To get your foot in the door in a new job. Well, that would basically mean that you get your foot in the door, you get a successful start in something and you get an opportunity.

To feel like a fish out of water. Well, that could mean that you feel uncomfortable in a new or unfamiliar situation.

To stand out from the crowd. Well, to stand out from the crowd is to make yourself noticed, among others.

To break the ice. So when you need to break the ice, it’s when you meet someone and you want to make that nervous situation a little less awkward and make everybody more willing to talk to each other.


To roll up your sleeves is when you really prepare to work hard.

To learn the ropes, means that you’re learning how to do a particular job correctly. So we learn the ropes to do something.

A seal of approval. When you get a seal of approval, you basically receive some type of support or acknowledgement of approval from higher authorities like your boss or your manager.

And then the cream of the crop. So this refers to the best people or things in a particular group.

So again, to get your foot in the door, right, we’re getting an opportunity, I got my foot in the door in this new job. Man, sometimes I really feel like a fish out of water on my first day of work. You know, I really want to stand out from the crowd. So I’m gonna put in that extra hard work. Sometimes on our first day of work, we need to break the ice and just go up and introduce yourself to your new colleagues. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves, if you want to get that new promotion. One of the things I worry about is how quickly I can learn the ropes in a new position. I don’t want it to take too long. If you want to get that promotion that you’ve been thinking about, it’s good to get a seal of approval from your manager and your colleagues. And of course, if you’re thinking about getting any higher in the organization, you need to be the cream of the crop.

So these were some good business idioms that can be used when you’re talking about starting a new job or team. I hope you can take these and who knows go through the podcast a couple times, listen to them, and then try to apply them and relate them to your own life or your own previous experiences. So that’s all we have for today. And as always, keep learning.

And that’s all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed it, and remember to subscribe to Talaera Talks. We’ll be back soon with more! And visit our website at for more valuable content on business English. You can also request a free consultation on the best ways for you and your team to improve your communication skills. So have a great day and keep learning!

Download these idioms in PDF:

Idioms for First Steps

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