Meetings play a very big part in the business world. During meetings, important decisions are made, people are promoted, demoted, hired or even fired!
Business English: Running a Meeting
The following phrases are used to conduct a meeting. These phrases are useful if you are called on to conduct a meeting.
- Good morning/afternoon, everyone.
- If we are all here, let’s get started / start the meeting / start.
2. Welcoming and Introducing
- Please join me in welcoming (name of participant)
- We’re pleased to welcome (name of participant)
- I’d like to extend a warm welcome to (name of participant)
- It’s a pleasure to welcome (name of participant)
- I’d like to introduce (name of participant)
3. Stating the Principal Objectives
- We’re here today to …
- I’d like to make sure that we …
- Our main aim today is to …
- I’ve called this meeting in order to …
4. Giving Apologies for Someone Who is Absent
- I’m afraid.., (name of participant) can’t be with us today. She is in…
- Unfortunately, (name of participant) … will not be with us to day because he …
- I have received apologies for absence from (name of participant), who is in (place).
5. Reading the Minutes (notes) of the Last Meeting
- To begin with I’d like to quickly go through the minutes of our last meeting.
- First, let’s go over the report from the last meeting, which was held on (date)
- Here are the minutes from our last meeting, which was on (date)
6. Dealing with Recent Developments
- Jack, can you tell us how the XYZ project is progressing?
- Jack, how is the XYZ project coming along?
- John, have you completed the report on the new accounting package?
- Has everyone received a copy of the Tate Foundation report on current marketing trends?
7. Moving Forward
- So, if there is nothing else we need to discuss, let’s move on to today’s agenda.
- Shall we get down to business?
- Is there Any Other Business?
- If there are no further developments, I’d like to move on to today’s topic.
8. Introducing the Agenda
- Have you all received a copy of the agenda?
- There are X items on the agenda. First, … second, … third, … lastly, …
- Shall we take the points in this order?
- If you don’t mind, I’d like to go in order today.
- skip item 1 and move on to item 3
- I suggest we take item 2 last.
9. Allocating Roles (secretary, participants)
- (name of participant) has agreed to take the minutes.
- (name of participant), would you mind taking the minutes?
- (name of participant) has kindly agreed to give us a report on …
- (name of participant) will lead point 1, (name of participant) point 2, and (name of participant) point 3.
- (name of participant), would you mind taking notes today?
10. Agreeing on the Ground Rules for the Meeting (contributions, timing, decision-making, etc.)
- We will first hear a short report on each point first, followed by a discussion of …
- I suggest we go round the table first.
- Let’s make sure we finish by …
- I’d suggest we …
- There will be five minutes for each item.
- We’ll have to keep each item to 15 minutes. Otherwise we’ll never get through.
11. Introducing the First Item on the Agenda
- So, let’s start with …
- I’d suggest we start with…
- Why don’t we start with…
- So, the first item on the agenda is
- Pete, would you like to kick off?
- Shall we start with …
- (name of participant), would you like to introduce this item?
12. Closing an Item
- I think that takes care of the first item.
- Shall we leave that item?
- Why don’t we move on to…
- If nobody has anything else to add, lets …
13. Next Item
- Let’s move onto the next item
- Now that we’ve discussed X, let’s now …
- The next item on today’s agenda is…
- Now we come to the question of.
14. Giving Control to the Next Participant
- I’d like to hand over to (name of participant), who is going to lead the next point.
- Next, (name of participant) is going to take us through …
- Now, I’d like to introduce (name of participant) who is going to …
- Before we close today’s meeting, let me just summarize the main points.
- Let me quickly go over today’s main points.
- To sum up, …,.
- OK, why don’t we quickly summarize what we’ve done today.
- In brief, …
- Shall I go over the main points?
16. Finishing Up
- Right, it looks as though we’ve covered the main items.
- If there are no other comments, I’d like to wrap this meeting up.
- Let’s bring this to a close for today.
- Is there Any Other Business?
17. Suggesting and Agreeing on Time, Date and Place for the Next Meeting
- Can we set the date for the next meeting, please?
- So, the next meeting will be on … (day), the . . . (date) of.. . (month) at …
- Let’s next meet on … (day), the . . . (date) of.. . (month) at … What about the following
- Wednesday? How is that?
18. Thanking Participants for Attending
- I’d like to thank Marianne and Jeremy for coming over from London.
- Thank you all for attending.
- Thanks for your participation.
19. Closing the Meeting
- The meeting is finished, we’ll see each other next …
- The meeting is closed.
- I declare the meeting closed.
Business English: Participating in a Meeting
The following phrases are used to participate in a meeting. These phrases are useful for expressing your ideas and giving input to a meeting.
1. Getting the Chairperson’s Attention
- (Mister/Madam) chairman.
- May I have a word?
- If I may, I think…
- Excuse me for interrupting.
- May I come in here?
2. Giving Opinions
- I’m positive that…
- I (really) feel that…
- In my opinion…
- The way I see things…
- If you ask me,… I tend to think that…
3. Asking for Opinions
- Are you positive that…
- Do you (really) think that…
- (name of participant) can we get your input?
- How do you feel about…?
- That’s interesting .
- I never thought about it that way before.
- Good point!
- I get your point.
- I see what you mean.
- I totally agree with you.
- That’s (exactly) the way I feel.
- I have to agree with (name of participant).
- Unfortunately, I see it differently.
- Up to a point I agree with you, but…
- (I’m afraid) I can’t agree
7. Advising and Suggesting
- We should…
- Why don’t you….
- How/What about…
- I suggest/recommend that…
- Let me spell out…
- Have I made that clear?
- Do you see what I’m getting at?
- Let me put this another way…
- I’d just like to repeat that…
9. Requesting Information
- Please, could you…
- I’d like you to…
- Would you mind…
- I wonder if you could…
10. Asking for Repetition
- I’m afraid I didn’t understand that. Could you repeat what you just said?
- I didn’t catch that. Could you repeat that, please?
- I missed that. Could you say it again, please?
- Could you run that by me one more time?
11. Asking for Clarification
- I don’t quite follow you. What exactly do you mean?
- I’m afraid I don’t quite understand what your are getting at.
- Could you explain to me how that is going to work?
- I don’t see what you mean. Could we have some more details, please?
12. Asking for Verification
- You did say next week, didn’t you? (‘did’ is stressed)
- Do you mean that…?
- Is it true that…?
13. Asking for Spelling
- Could you spell that, please?
- Would you mind spelling that for me, please?
14. Asking for Contributions
- We haven’t heard from you yet, (name of participant).
- What do you think about this proposal?
- Would you like to add anything, (name of participant)?
- Has anyone else got anything to contribute?
- Are there any more comments?
15. Correcting Information
- Sorry, I think you misunderstood what I said.
- Sorry, that’s not quite right.
- I’m afraid you don’t understand what I’m saying.
- That’s not quite what I had in mind.
- That’s not what I meant.
16. Keeping the Meeting On Target (time, relevance, decisions)
- We’re running short of time.
- Well, that seems to be all the time we have today.
- Please be brief.
- I’m afraid we’ve run out of time.
- I’m afraid that’s outside the scope of this meeting.
- Let’s get back on track, why don’t we?
- That’s not really why we’re here today.
- Why don’t we return to the main focus of today’s meeting.
- We’ll have to leave that to another time.
- We’re beginning to lose sight of the main point.
- Keep to the point, please.
- I think we’d better leave that for another meeting.
- Are we ready to make a decision?
Some Useful English Idioms…