What they mean, generally speaking, is “no”, but they’re trying to be polite. So whether you’re looking for a job, or an investor, or a partner, or a publisher for your book, or a distributor for your product, or whatever the case may be, you can rely on the helpful translations below.
Said: I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Meant: I won’t get back to you on that.
Said: I’ll have to think that over.
Said: We’d like to be involved, but we’ve got a lot on our plates now.
Said: We’re in a challenging environment.
Meant: No: We’re not making money now.
Said: We’re just beginning to explore our options.
Meant: Not now, and probably not later.
Used together: We’re just beginning to explore our options; We’d like to be involved, but we’ve got a lot on our plates now, I’ll have to think that over and get back to you.
Meant: Absolutely Not.
Said: We like to think outside the box.
Meant: We use a lot of clichés and read a lot of business books, and then do it the same way everyone else does, which means “No.”
Said: We’re seeking partnership opportunities.
Meant: We need money. Now you get to tell them “No.”