By Paola Pascual & Simon Kennell on Jul 20, 2021 7:37:17 AM
Learn 8 useful idioms to talk about problem-solving. Now that you know how to describe problems with these 6 idioms, listen to our new podcast episode and learn helpful idiomatic expressions about dealing with problems and finding solutions. Check out the definitions, read the transcript below, and try to include them in your next conversation. If you are a Talaera learner, practice these idioms on our platform.
Idioms About Dealing With Problems & Finding Solutions
#1 Have a light-bulb moment
- Definition: Have a sudden moment of inspiration or realization
- Example: "Marie had a light-bulb moment when she finally realized what was blocking our messages."
#2 Think outside the box
- Definition: Try to solve a problem in an original way; think creatively
- Example: "Our product line is getting stale. We need to think outside the box and come up with creative new products."
#3 Think on your feet
- Definition: Capable of adjusting rapidly to new developments and making quick decisions
- Example: "Our new sales rep is able to think on his feet when pitching our products, which is great!"
#4 A shot in the dark
- Definition: Provide an answer or come up with a solution that is a complete guess (that could potentially be close to the truth)
- Example: "Our last campaign was just a shot in the dark, I can't believe it turned out so well."
#5 Do the trick
- Definition: Do exactly what is needed; achieve the desired effect
- Example: "Waiting around and hoping for the best won't do the trick. We need to take action.
#6 Don't cry over spilled milk
- Definition: There is no use in being upset over situations that have already happened and cannot be changed.
- Example: "I know we messed up, but let's not cry over spilled milk, and let's see how we can do better next time."
#7 To be on the ball
- Definition: To be aware of what is happening and able to deal with things quickly and smartly.
- Example: "She's the best person for the role; she's always on the ball."
#8 Kill two birds with one stone
- Definition: Succeed in doing two things at the same time (or fixing two problems with one single action)
- Example: "I prefer to go to work by train; by skipping traffic and having some time to read, I kill two birds with one stone."
Make sure you check out all our other Talaera Talks episodes and subscribe to get new episode alerts. If you are a Talaera learner, practice these idioms on our platform (or contact us if you would like more information).
Idioms About Problem Solving - Transcript Episode 19
If you are learning English, including new English words and expressions will help you with effective communication. Remember to check out our other episodes on how to make small talk, how to deliver engaging presentations, how to speak English fluently, and many more: visit the podcast website. You will also find plenty of idioms (success idioms, negotiation idioms, money idioms) in there! Listen to it on your favorite platform:
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!
Hello, Hello, this is Paola and I'm back with a new Talaera Bit for you. As you know, in under six minutes, you will learn new idioms and expressions about a specific topic. If you remember, in our previous stellar bid, Simon taught us six idioms about problems, I encourage you to go back, check it out, and review all those expressions. And today, what I would like to bring you is some new idioms about solving those problems. So as usual, I'll read a little story. And you will have to count how many idioms you can spot. Ready? Here we go with a little story.
Our previous CTO was truly outstanding. From a technical standpoint, she was always on the ball, and she could think on her feet in the most stressful situations. However, when it came to people skills, she was a real mess. We didn't want to lose her. But we needed to find a solution. So instead of crying over spilled milk, we had to think outside the box. At one point, Tim had a lightbulb moment and suggested helping her create a separate organization where she could still help us with the product but did not have to get involved in management. You know, we were killing two birds with one stone. This was a shot in the dark as we had hadn't done anything like it before. But it seems to do the trick. We miss her in the day-to-day, but we're happy to it worked out well.
So that's the end of the story. How many did you hear this time? I included eight idioms. Let's go over them with some definitions and examples.
The first one was to be on the ball. And to be on the ball means to be aware of what's happening, and be able to deal with things or problems quickly and smartly. For example, she's the first person at she's the best person for the role, she's always on the ball.
The second one was to think on her feet. If you think on your feet, you're capable of adjusting quickly to what's happening or to new developments, and make quick decisions. For example, our sales rep is able to think on his feet when pitching our products, which is great.
The third one was to cry over spilled milk. Don't cry over spilled milk. It means that you know if I tell you don't cry over spilled milk, it means it's not worth being upset over a situation that you can fix. You know, you could use it in a sentence like this. I know we messed up, but let's not cry over spilled milk.
Number three was Ooh, number four actually, was to think outside the box. I'm sure you know this one. Think outside the box is to try to solve a problem in an original way or to think creatively.
Number five is to have a lightbulb moment. If you have a lightbulb moment, you have a sudden moment of inspiration and realization. For example, Marie had a lightbulb moment when she finally realized what was blocking our messages.
Number six, killed two birds with one stone. If you kill two birds with one stone, and remember, in English, we say a stone I know in other languages, it's a different tool. What it means is to succeed in doing two things at the same time, or fixing two problems with one single action. For example, I prefer to go by train because by skipping traffic and having some time to read, I kill two birds with one stone.
Next one and we're almost done is a shot in the dark. a shot in the dark is basically when you provide an answer or when you come up with a solution that is a complete guess what you don't know for sure could potentially be close to the truth but you don't really know. For example: Our last marketing campaign was just a shot in the dark, I can't believe it turned out so well, you know, we were just guessing.
And the last one is to do the trick. To do the trick is to do exactly what was needed, or to achieve the desired effect. For example, waiting around and hoping for the best want do the trick, we need to take action, or with your English learning, if you're just not doing anything, that's just not going to do the trick, you have to put in some time in practice.
So those were the eight idioms about solving problems. And remember, you have to be on the ball, you have to be super quick and ready to go and to deal with things. To think on your feet, it's to be able to quickly adapt to the situation. Next one, think outside the box to think creatively. to cry over spilled milk is when you regret or cry over things that cannot be fixed anymore. But then when you have a light bulb moment is when you have one of those moments of inspiration, or realization. To kill two birds with one stone is to fix two things with one simple action. Showing the dark is a complete gas that you hope it's going to work. And to do the trick is to have the desired effect.
Alright, I think we have it. I know that was quite a lot just as usual. So listen to it again, go to our blog, and read it at your own pace, read the transcript, read more examples, and just steal some of them whenever possible. Alright, looking forward to our next episode. Have a wonderful day. Bye for now.
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 https://talaera.com 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!
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