The most used Expressions in ITALY in the field of BUSINESS

In this lesson we are going to deal with the most common Italian expressions in the world of business. Whether you’re thinking of coming to work in Italy, whether you have Italian colleagues you want to impress, or whether you’re watching an Italian TV series set in an office…stay there because we we’ll see 16 expressions that can really always come in handy!

The most Common Italian Expressions in the World of Business

Below we suggest you a list with 16 most used Italian expressions in the world of business.

1) Pensare fuori dagli schemi (To think outside the box)

It means to create, to invent something new or different from usual, abandoning the usual belief systems and changing our usual way of thinking.


Per poter scrivere il suo nuovo libro, lo scrittore ha dovuto pensare fuori dagli schemi, perciò ha vissuto in Alaska per un intero anno. (In order to write his new book, the writer had to think outside the box, therefore he lived in Alaska for an entire year.)

2) Centrare il segno / Colpire nel segno (To hit the spot)

They generally indicate to have success: in the sense of getting a concept or an idea exactly right, or guessing something, or even having an idea / realizing a project that is perfectly coherent with the company’s aims.


Con questo nuovo prodotto abbiamo proprio colpito nel segno: le vendite sono triplicate nell’ultimo mese! (With this new product we really hit the spot: sales have tripled in the last month!)

3) Essere (sempre) sul pezzo (To be on the ball)

It has two meanings:

always be informed about new trends or about the latest news. This meaning derives from the journalistic field: an article in a magazine or a newspaper is called “piece” (“pezzo”, in Italian). So, “essere sul pezzo” (to be on the ball) means that the journalist follows very carefully what he’s dealing with, therefore he keeps up to date with all the details and all the new information.

be particularly focused on what you’re doing, without letting yourself be distracted. This meaning derives from the assembly line, where each worker must be concentrated on a single production step, so, working on one piece at a time.


Come hai saputo di ciò che sta succedendo alla concorrenza? Certo che sei sempre sul pezzo tu! Non ti sfugge niente! (How did you know about what is happening to the competition? Of course, you’re always on the ball! You don’t miss a thing!)

4) Fare il passo più lungo della gamba (To bite off more than you can chew)

Attempting a feat much more difficult than what you can face.


Hai comprato un’azienda da 3 milioni di euro? Temo che questa volta tu abbia fatto il passo più lungo della gamba (Did you buy a 3-million-euro company? I’m afraid you bit off more than you can chew this time…)

5) Prendere una scorciatoia (To take a shortcut)

If we are on the road and we take a shortcut, it means that we are choosing the quickest route (often secondary) to reach our destination.

In the world of business, instead, it means that we choose the quickest way to achieve a goal, which is often not exactly “clean”, but a little shady, and requires greater unscrupulousness.


Il primo che completerà il progetto riceverà una promozione. Se ho il sospetto che il vincitore abbia preso una scorciatoia, sarà licenziato. (The first one who completes the project will receive a promotion. If I have the suspicious that the winner took a shortcut, he/she will be fired.)

6) Andare in porto (detto di un progetto) (Successfully complete, about a project)

Succeeding, achieving the accomplishment, being successfully completed.


Se questo progetto andrà in porto, la reputazione della nostra azienda migliorerà notevolmente. (If this project is successfully completed, the reputation of our company will improve considerably.)

7) Bruciare le tappe (To rush into things)

Achieving a goal very quickly, to advance quickly.


Dato che non abbiamo scadenze, non è necessario bruciare le tappe: possiamo procedere lentamente. (Since we have no deadlines, we don’t need to rush into things: we can proceed slowly.)

8) Battere cassa (To ask for money)

Asking a person or a company to pay what they have to pay.


Quel cliente non ha ancora pagato la merce che ha preso. Bisogna battere cassa immediatamente, altrimenti non pagherà più! (That costumer hasn’t paid the goods he bought yet. We have to ask for money immediately, otherwise he/she won’t pay anymore!)

9) Trattare (To make a deal)

Negotiating to reduce the set price or to improve the terms of a deal.


Penso che il prezzo sia troppo alto: bisogna trattare con l’azienda se vogliamo guadagnarci qualcosa. (I think the price is too high: we need to make a deal with the company if we want to profit something from.)

10) Fare l’impossibile / Farsi in quattro (To bend over backwards)

Both of these expressions mean making an effort or working hard to achieve a certain goal, often beyond expectations.


So che ho commesso un errore, ma d’ora in poi mi farò in quattro per provare a risolvere il problema che ho creato. (I know I made a mistake, but from here now I’m going to bend over backwards to try to fix the problem I caused.)

11) Rompere il ghiaccio / Aprire le danze (To break the ice / To start the dance)

If before a meeting, you are told to “rompere il ghiaccio” (break the ice) or to “aprire le danze” (start the dance), what is wanted from you is that you begin, that you are the first ones to talk.

Both of these expressions actually mean overcoming an initial moment of embarrassment or taking the initiative, starting to do something that no one had the courage to do.

“To break the ice”, then, is used to talk about interpersonal relationships as well: it refers to the moment in which someone breaks the initial shyness and starts talking.


Mattei, rompa lei il ghiaccio oggi. Sappiamo tutti che è quello che si è preparato meglio per l’ordine del giorno della riunione. (Mattei, you will break the ice today. We all know you are the one who prepared best for the meeting agenda.)

12) Far fronte alle spese (To face the expenses)

Sustaining various business expenses, such as production expenses, employee salaries, purchase of machinery, etc…


Tutto è aumentato: prevedo che quest’anno dovremo far fronte a spese più elevate rispetto agli scorsi anni. (Everything has increased: I predict that this year we are going to face higher expenses than in previous years.)

13) Lanciare un prodotto sul mercato (To launch a product on the market)

Putting for the first time a product on the market.


L’ultimo modello del nostro software è pronto per essere lanciato sul mercato. (Our latest software model is ready to be launched on the market.)

14) Rivedere i termini di un contratto / un accordo (To review the terms of a contract / a deal)

Reviewing, checking every single detail in the partnership deals established between companies, in the employment contracts, in the documents, etc…


Prima di firmare è necessario rivedere i termini del contratto con un avvocato specialista del settore. (Before signing, it is necessary to review the terms of the contract with a sector-specialized lawyer.)

15) 24 ore su 24 (7 giorni su 7) (24 hours a day / 7 days a week)

If you know English, you’ll know that we say “24/7” and it will be already clear. Unfortunately, in Italian no one would understand you if you said “24/7”. To indicate, instead, that you have to work all day every day, you need to use the expression “24 ore su 24” (24 hours a day), often followed by “7 giorni su 7” (7 days a week), to be even more precise.


Ci sono state delle perdite nell’ultimo mese: bisognerà lavorare 24 ore su 24, 7 giorni su 7 per recuperare. (There have been some declines in the last month: we have to work 24/7 to recover.)

16) Andare dritto al punto / Andare al dunque / Andare al sodo / Tagliare corto (To go straight/get to the point / To cut off)

If you’re giving a business presentation or a speech during a meeting and somebody says one of these expressions to you…well, do the math because you’re probably doing something wrong or you’re wasting time in useless chatter.

So that person wants to remind you to start talking about most important and relevant things, instead of stalling.


Signor presidente, signori colleghi, non sprecherò il vostro tempo e andrò subito al dunque: abbiamo bisogno di nuove collaborazioni, altrimenti le vendite continueranno a scendere. (Mr. President, gentlemen colleagues, I won’t waste your time and I will go straight to the point: we need new partnerships, otherwise sales will continue to drop.)

After learning the most common Italian expressions when working in Italy, you just have to find a good job by learning how to pass a job interview in Italian! And don’t forget to study Italian with native teachers on italki, you can also have lessons with me: Graziana Filomeno!

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