How to Talk to Your Boss

Are enrolled in an ESL Program and working in the US? You probably have a boss; unless they own their company, most people have bosses they have to report to and receive instructions from.

Here we will show you how to talk to your manager in correct business English; this is, to let him or her know exactly how you feel or what you need. We will show you how to properly ask for feedback, for an explanation, for more work, and to show frustration, among others.

  1. When you are working on a project and you want your manager to review it before officially presenting it, there are numerous ways in which you can ask your manager to do so:
  • Do you want to review my project?

  • I just finished my project. Do you want to review it?

  • This is my first big project and I was wondering if you could review it?

  • I think I covered everything, but could you do a quick review?

  1. After a project you worked on is completed, you should ask for feedback on it, however, make sure your manager has had enough time to go over the work before you ask for his or her opinion.
  • Did you finish reviewing the project I concluded?

  • Hi Steve, this was my first project and I wanted to know how I did so that I can get better.

  • What do you think I could have done better?

  • What should I do different next time?

  • What did I do well and what needs to be improved?

  1. It is good that you ask for feedback if you are new at a job or position. You can ask for it after you complete an assignment or after a few months on the job.

Some companies have a feedback process set up, where you have weekly or bi-weekly individual meetings with your manager, and this is a good time for you to talk about your work and everything else that concerns you.

If your company does not offer regular feedback meetings, you can schedule some time with your boss to talk about your development:

  • Hi Jen, can we meet sometime this week to talk about my work so far?

  • I was wondering if we could have a meeting to talk about how I am doing.

  1. If your work doesn’t involve a specific project or assignment, you can ask for feedback about your work in general:
  • Can you give me some feedback on my performance?

  • Where do you think I need to improve?

  • What areas you think I should work on?

  • Do you think I am ready to work on a specific project?

  • Do you think I am ready to get more responsibility?

When you know how to talk to your manager, you convey respect for yourself, your work, your boss, and your company; this is why it is crucial that you learn to communicate appropriately, in a way that enriches your professional growth and your company’s trust in you.

Rachel Clarkson
Rachel Clarkson is an English teacher at LCI English.