"Get the ball rolling" - Environment


10/25/20223 min read

To initiate action or start something in motion.

a bowling ball on a bowling ball in a bowling ball
a bowling ball on a bowling ball in a bowling ball


The early beginnings of the "get the ball rolling" idiom are unknown, but it is believed to have originated from sports, such as croquet or bowling, where the game begins by rolling a ball into play. It later became a metaphor for initiating action or starting a process in various aspects of life, including business.

What is the Meaning?

"Get the ball rolling" means to start a process or set something in motion, often in the context of initiating a project or discussion. By using this idiom, one can encourage others to take the first step and begin working toward a goal.

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a man is playing bowling ball game in a bowling ball
a man is playing bowling ball game in a bowling ball


Imagine a game of bowling: the player releases the ball, rolling it down the lane toward the pins. The ball's movement sets the game in motion, just as getting a project or discussion started sets the wheels in motion for progress and achievement.

Environment and Sustainability Context - How to Use the Idiom

"Get the ball rolling" is a common idiom in the environment and sustainability industry. Here are some example sentences of the idiom used in various business contexts:

"During our project update meeting, we need to get the ball rolling on our new sustainability initiatives."

"Let's get the ball rolling on our carbon offset program by contacting potential partners."

"Our strategic planning session should start by getting the ball rolling on our waste reduction plan."

Compare Sentences

Without idiom: "We should start discussing our new sustainability initiatives."

With idiom: "We need to get the ball rolling on our new sustainability initiatives."

The sentence with the idiom is better because it adds a sense of urgency and momentum to the action, encouraging the team to move forward.

a man and woman sitting at a table with a tablet
a man and woman sitting at a table with a tablet

Over to you - Using the Idiom in Conversation

How would you use "get the ball rolling" in your business conversations? Try to think of situations where you could use the idiom. Consider reading this scenario aloud and recording yourself speaking to experience a more effective way of practicing the idiom. Here's an example to get you started:


Scenario: A team of environmental consultants are discussing the launch of a new client project.

Project Manager: "Alright, team. We've been assigned a new project to help our client reduce their carbon footprint. It's crucial that we get the ball rolling quickly to meet their deadlines."

Environmental Analyst: "I agree. We can start by conducting a thorough emissions audit and identifying the main sources of their emissions."

Sustainability Consultant: "That's a great idea. We should also look into alternative energy sources they can invest in to offset their emissions."

Project Manager: "Excellent suggestions. Let's develop a clear timeline and assign tasks to each team member. We'll reconvene next week to discuss our progress."

Write your text here...

Gap Fill Exercises

Add the idiom "get the ball rolling" to blank spaces in the following sentences:

  1. "In our next meeting, we need to ________ on developing a comprehensive recycling plan."

  2. "To achieve our sustainability goals, we must ________ by analyzing our current practices."

  3. "We can't afford to waste any more time; we need to ________ on this project immediately."

  4. "Before we present our findings to the client, let's ________ on finalizing the report."

Quiz: Mastering "Get the Ball Rolling" in Business Contexts

Multiple-choice question: What does "get the ball rolling" mean?

a. To play a game

b. To initiate action or start something in motion

c. To finish a project

d. To discuss a problem

Fill-in-the-blank question: "Our team needs to ________ on implementing new sustainability measures before the end of the quarter."

Answer: get the ball rolling

Multiple-choice question: In which business context can you use "get the ball rolling"?

a. When discussing company profits

b. When initiating a new project or task

c. When evaluating employee performance

d. When discussing customer satisfaction

Match the following sentences with the correct idiom:

a. "We should start working on our new project."

b. "Let's begin discussing the sustainability plan."

c. "It's time to initiate the recycling program."

Answer key:

a. Get down to business

b. Get the ball rolling

c. Bring something to the table

True or False: "Get the ball rolling" is an idiom that can only be used in sports contexts.

Answer: False

Scoring Guidelines:

5 correct answers: Idiom Expert

3-4 correct answers: Idiom Pro

1-2 correct answers: Idiom Novice

0 correct answers: Idiom Beginner

Keep practicing to improve your understanding and usage of the idiom "get the ball rolling" in various business contexts.

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