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Conducting a meeting or participating in one is an integral part of running any organisation. Regardless of the type of meeting, whether it is a meeting with a client or an internal brainstorming session, effective communicative skills are paramount for a meeting to be deemed as productive.

Sometimes meetings are considered  unproductive or a waste of time because it goes on for too long, or one person dominates the space by talking about unrelated topics which are not on the agenda.

In a productive meeting, essentially, the items on the agenda are covered, decisions in that regard are made and everyone is given a chance to make valuable contributions. This article will address topic related vocabulary and fixed expressions or phrases used, particularly in this context.


Topic related vocabulary  

  • Chairperson
  • Agenda
  • Items on the agenda /action points
  • To take minutes
  • Attendees
  • Absentees
  • AOB – any other business
  • Set up a meeting / arrange a meeting

To open a meeting

At the start of every meeting the chairperson usually welcomes everyone by saying “I would like to start by welcoming everyone “or “I would like to thank you all for coming …:”.  They then proceed by stating the purpose of the meeting and what the desired outcome would be. This could be done by saying “The purpose of the meeting is ……… before we start, can I ask if everyone has a copy of the agenda?”

To ask someone to contribute/ or report on something.

In most meetings , someone is always asked to talk about an issue or an item on the agenda , in this case the phrases used are “Mr. x… would you mind running through the main issues of your report?” or “Could you fill us in on the progress you have made regarding ….. ?” If you need more detail on whatwas said, use the phrase, Could you please elaborate? “


To give your opinion

Participating in meetings is always done respectfully, having said that, when you express your opinion, instead of saying ” I think,” there are other alternatives such as “In my opinion” or “As far as I am concerned.

Agreement or disagreement

Listening to someone’s opinion, inevitably prompts us to either agree or disagree.   Common phrases used to express agreement or to show support for someone’s opinion are “I couldn’t agree more,” or, “Absolutely, I second that.On the other hand, expressing  disagreement cold be done in a more polite manner, by saying,  “I agree with you to a certain extent” or “I am afraid I can’t agree with.“


Clarifying something is, rephrasing or explaining the same thing in a way that helps the listener understand.  Even as native speakers, we often have difficulty articulating ourselves, in which case, we use phrases like, “In other words “, or ‘’What I’m trying to say or what I mean is”.

To interrupt someone or to respond to an interruption.

I have attended many meetings where the speaker often gets side-tracked or digresses from the main issue. If there is a need to interrupt the speaker say, “Excuse me, could I just say something?” or “if I may interrupt.”  If you are the speaker, and in the position where you are having to deal with being interrupted, you could say “If you will please allow me to finish.”

At the end of the meeting

At the end of the meeting, the chairperson, or leader of the meeting usually thanks everyone for attending, and says, “I think that just about covers everything “or “Lets wrap thing ups”.

Phrasal verbs are often used by native English speakers and foreigners often find it hard to respond to.


Examples of phrasal verbs    

Phrasal verb and meaning  Sentence 
To jot down something / to write something or make notes Please jot down the names of those who attended the meeting.
To run through something / read something and talk about it Could you please run though the figures of  last month’s sales report
Deal with / to manage or handle a situation or a problem. Managers sometimes have to deal with enquiries from clients.
To figure out something / to try to understand something or solve a problem. We need to figure out how to generate more revenue for the company.
To carry on / to continue doing something Please carry on talking, my apologies for the interruption.
Look into / to investigate We need to look into the drastic drop in sales.


These are all common phrases used in a business meeting , to see how it is used in context , click on the link

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