Common business sayings appear all the time in English, and if you’re unfamiliar with them, they can lead to some questions about what they mean. A good example of this is “close the loop,” so in this article, we’ll cover what it means and how to use it.
What Does It Mean To “Close The Loop”?
To close the loops means someone asks you to finish a task and report on your outcome. It’s closely linked to a loop in electrical circuitry, where if it isn’t fully connected, the current isn’t able to flow through the whole thing. It’s been adopted by the business world since.
What Is The Origin Of “Close The Loop”?
The phrase “close the loop” isn’t the most common phrase, but it’s used enough to start asking questions about where it came from.
The origin of “close the loop” comes from electrical wiring. A circuit (or loop) is open when there is a gap somewhere in its working. We must close the loop for the electrical current to flow through it efficiently.
This is where the original saying comes from. The idea is that the task at hand is the electrical current that we’re talking about. We want to get our electrical current (or task) all the way around the system with a closed-loop to make sure it works out and is efficient.
Rather than simply asking someone to finish a task, saying “close the loop” generally asks the person completing the task to report back on the overall findings or outcome of whatever the task may be. It’s a good way of saying either “work through this on your own” or “work through this and get back to me with what you find.”
Is “Close The Loop” Normally Used In A Business Context?
Typically, you’d hear the phrase used in a business context. That’s because most of the time, when completing a task and reporting back about it, we’ll often be reporting to a superior of some kind.
“Close the loop” is popular business talk because it encourages people to either work as a team or pass up their completed task to a superior.
You may also hear the phrase in other contexts. For example, you might hear it at school when a teacher asks some students to complete a task. However, it’s usually not understood by students, which is why it’s very rare for it to appear.
Examples Of How To Use “Close The Loop” In A Sentence
Now let’s look at some times when we might use “close the loop” in a sentence. That way, you can start thinking about using it yourself when you can see first-hand how someone else might use it.
Remember, “close the loop” means we want someone to finish the task and report back on the findings.
- I think it’s time to close the loop on this project!
- I’m emailing to let you know that I’m ready to close the loop with you.
- We should close the loop when we’re ready to continue.
- I asked you to close the loop, so make sure you get it done.
- Will you close the loop so we can move on to better things?
- It’s crucial that we close the loop by the end of the day.
- I’ve got to run, but I need you to close the loop ready for launch day.
- We have been asked to close the loop. Is everyone up to speed so far?
- You should work harder to close the loop before it’s too late.
As you can see, most of these situations have some kind of relevance to the business world. It’s difficult to find a phrase like this pop up anywhere else in life. Still, it’s important to know how to use it.
You may not want to use it yourself, but it might be something that your boss or a coworker says to you. If this is the case, it’s good to learn about what it means, so you don’t have to ask them any questions about what they’re saying!
Close The Loop – Synonyms
Of course, it’s one thing us teaching you the meaning and origin, but if you’re not comfortable using it, there’s one final solution. We encourage anyone who doesn’t quite understand a meaning of a phrase like this to consider alternatives to use.
With alternatives, we can still convey our meaning in our messages, but we don’t have to worry about potentially using the wrong word or combination of words when we do so.
This is another common business word, though it’s more common to be found in legal writing. When you “cease” to do something, it means you’ve stopped doing it.
This one is another formal alternative that means the same thing. The idea is to conclude your findings and report back with what you’ve found.
- Shut down
It’s possible to shut down a project or task early if your boss or a coworker tells you to do so. That’s why this phrase also works quite well as a synonym.
Does “Close The Circle” And “Close The Loop” Mean The Same?
Generally, when we’re talking about “closing the loop,” we’re talking about finishing a task and reporting back. To “close the circle” doesn’t typically mean the same thing.
“Close the circle” means to keep something private or between a tight “circle” of people. There should be no spillage outside of the circle, meaning all the information within it is kept private.
For that reason, “close the circle” and “close the loop” are not synonymous with each other.
What Does It Mean To Have A “Closed Loop Conversation”?
However, if we look at a “closed-loop conversation,” we get a little closer to the meaning of “close the circle.”
A “closed-loop conversation” is where the conversation is held behind closed doors in the interest of keeping the conversation private. It’s good for business meetings that are only designed for higher-ranking staff members.
A closed-loop conversation isn’t quite the same as closing the loop on a task, and the two phrases aren’t used synonymously.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.