In today’s blog, you’re about to learn nearly 100 practical effective business meeting phrases that will help you to excel in meetings.
These phrases are versatile, and not limited to professional settings; you can seamlessly use them in various contexts.
So, let’s kickstart our journey by building a solid foundation with some essential vocabulary.
Vocabulary for Meetings
Meetings are commonly associated with two verbs: “have” and “hold” These verbs serve as the building blocks of meeting-related discussions:
- “We’re going to have another department meeting on Friday.”
- “Let’s hold a meeting to discuss the policy changes.”
However, don’t limit yourself to just these two verbs. You can also use “schedule” “arrange” or “organize” to convey the idea of planning a meeting for the future.
When you actively participate in a meeting, you can either “attend” (formal) or simply “go to” it:
- “Did you go to the project team meeting?”
- “Several people did not attend the development meeting.”
The Structure of a Well-Organized Meeting
A well-structured meeting often comes with an agenda. An agenda serves as a roadmap, listing the various topics or items that will be discussed during the meeting. Sometimes, one person assumes the responsibility of recording the meeting’s official minutes—these minutes capture the key takeaways and decisions made during the meeting.
The Purpose of Meetings
Why do we call meetings in the first place? Meetings serve a multitude of purposes, and here are a couple of the most common ones:
One primary reason for holding a meeting is to engage in brainstorming sessions. “Brainstorming” involves generating a wide range of ideas, which can later be analyzed, evaluated, and cherry-picked for the best ones. It is often the initial step taken in a project, undertaken before a specific plan is established.
2. Strategy Development and Task Allocation
Meetings are also called to develop strategies and allocate tasks. A “strategy” refers to a well-thought-out plan for completing a project, while “allocating tasks” means assigning specific pieces of work to particular individuals.
Meetings serve additional vital purposes, such as
- encouraging collaboration on projects and providing updates,
- progress reports,
- current status updates.
Moreover, meetings are arranged with the specific objective of making decisions.
In certain meetings, a formal system of voting is employed, where decisions are reached if they get the maximum vote, typically more than 50% of the total votes cast.
On the other hand, some meetings opt for a less formal decision-making process, striving for the group to reach a consensus (a general agreement among all participants.)
How to begin a Meeting Effectively
Commencing a meeting on the right note is crucial for setting the tone and ensuring productivity. The individual responsible for leading the meeting, often referred to as the chairperson or chair, can employ various phrases to initiate proceedings:
Warm Greetings: The meeting leader may begin with a friendly greeting to set a positive atmosphere. Phrases like “Hello, everyone. Thank you for coming today” help in this regard.
Prompt Start: To emphasize punctuality and efficiency, the chairperson can opt for phrases like “Since everyone is here, let’s get started.”
Welcome: Welcoming participants is a courteous way to commence. Expressions like “First, I’d like to welcome you all” convey hospitality and inclusivity.
- Introducing Participants
In meetings where there are newcomers or individuals from different departments who may not be familiar with each other, it’s beneficial for the chairperson to facilitate introductions:
- Formal Introduction:
The chairperson can take a moment to introduce participants by saying, “I’d like to take a moment to introduce [name + description].” For instance, “I’d like to take a moment to introduce Carla from the public relations department.”
- Inviting Participation: Encouraging participation and welcoming newcomers can be achieved with phrases like “Please join me in welcoming [name + description].” For example, “Please join me in welcoming Jim, a consultant who will be helping us with project management.”
Sometimes, it’s effective to invite participants to introduce themselves. The chairperson can ask, “Sheila, would you like to introduce yourself?”
Setting Meeting Goals
To maintain a clear focus during the meeting, it’s beneficial to state the specific topic or objective:
Agenda Reference: Referring to the meeting agenda, the chairperson can say, “As you can see from the agenda, we’ll be talking about [topic].”Stating Purpose: Clearly conveying the purpose of the meeting is important. Phrases like “I’ve called this meeting in order to [goal]” or “Our main goal today is to [goal]” (help participants understand the meeting’s objectives).
For instance, “Our main goal today is to determine the budget for 2024.”
Encouraging Active Participation (Seeking Opinions in Meetings)
In the field of meetings, one common scenario is the presentation of information followed by a request for opinions. Asking for opinions is a valuable aspect of the meeting process, encouraging engagement and diverse perspectives. To invite individuals to share their thoughts and insights, consider using these effective phrases:
- “What does everyone think about…?” – A straightforward and inclusive way to open the floor for opinions.
- “I’d like to get your feedback on the…” – Expresses a genuine interest in receiving input and feedback from participants.
- “What are your thoughts about…?” – Encourages attendees to share their personal viewpoints on the matter at hand.
- “What are your views on…?” – Prompts participants to provide their perspectives and viewpoints regarding the topic.
Once an individual has contributed their opinion, it’s essential to acknowledge their input. A simple “Thanks” is good to express appreciation. Following this, consider these phrases to encourage further responses from the group:
- “What does everyone else think?” – Redirects the focus back to the collective, encouraging more voices to be heard.
- “Are there any other comments?” – Creates an open space for additional thoughts and insights.
In situations where you specifically wish to hear from a particular individual, utilize these personalized phrases:
- “Susan, can we get your input?” – Directly addresses a specific participant, inviting their unique perspective into the discussion.
“Would you like to add anything, Susan?” – Provides a platform for the named individual, Susan in this case, to contribute further.
Expressing Your Opinion
Expressing your opinion is a vital aspect of effective communication. Whether you’re engaging in a business meeting, a casual conversation, or a formal presentation, your ability to articulate your thoughts clearly can make a significant difference.
- I firmly believe that… When you want to convey unwavering confidence in your viewpoint, this phrase is your go-to. It underscores your conviction.
- I’m positive that… Use this phrase to emphasize your absolute certainty about your opinion. It leaves no room for doubt.
- I’m convinced that… Similar to the previous phrases, this one highlights your strong belief in what you’re expressing.
- I have no doubt whatsoever that… This phrase reinforces the idea that you possess complete confidence in your opinion.
- There’s no question that… When you want to assert that your viewpoint is irrefutable, this phrase is your strongest option.
- I think/believe/feel that… These are versatile phrases that express your opinion without extreme emphasis. They are suitable for most situations.
- From my point of view… This phrase provides a subtle perspective marker, indicating that you’re sharing your personal viewpoint.
- In my experience… / I find that… When you want to base your opinion on your personal experiences, these phrases lend credibility.
- I’d say that… This phrase is a balanced way to express your opinion without making it overly strong.
- If you want my honest opinion, I think that… / To be honest… Use these phrases when you need to express a potentially critical or unpopular opinion. “Honest” softens the message.
- It seems to me that… When you’re not entirely sure about your opinion or wish to present it tentatively, this phrase is suitable.
- It’s possible that… This phrase introduces an element of doubt into your opinion, making it less assertive.
- I tend to think that… Use this phrase to convey that your opinion is subject to change or open to different perspectives.
- My initial reaction is…Indicate that this is your initial thought, implying that your opinion may evolve with more information.
Agreeing / Disagreeing
Once other people in the meeting have expressed their opinions, you can react by agreeing or disagreeing. Here are some appropriate phrases for this purpose – again, based on the degree of strength.
- I completely agree. Express wholehearted agreement with this simple and direct phrase.
- I couldn’t agree more. Emphasize your strong agreement by stating that you share the same viewpoint wholeheartedly.
- You’re absolutely right. Acknowledge the correctness of someone else’s opinion in a firm manner.
- Exactly! Show your agreement concisely and with enthusiasm.
- That’s just how I see it. Indicate alignment with another person’s perspective.
- I’m with Peter on this. Use this phrase to refer to another colleague’s opinion, indicating your agreement.
- Well, it depends. Express that you partially agree but that there may be exceptions or conditions.
- I agree with you up to a point, but… Acknowledge agreement with certain aspects while highlighting your reservations about others.
- I agree with you in principle, but… Indicate theoretical agreement while suggesting practical limitations.
In English, saying “I disagree” can be a little too direct and may be considered impolite. Use one of these phrases instead to disagree diplomatically.
- I’m afraid I disagree. Gently express your disagreement while showing courtesy.
- I’m not so sure about that. Convey uncertainty about the opinion without outright rejection.
- I see it differently. Politely state your differing perspectives.
- Yes, but… Use this transitional phrase to introduce a counterpoint without causing offense.
- Not necessarily. Suggests that there are alternative viewpoints or possibilities.
Finally, here are some phrases for disagreeing strongly. The words “I’m sorry” make the phrase more polite.
- I’m sorry, but I completely disagree. Soften the impact of strong disagreement with an apology.
- I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with that at all. Express a firm and clear disagreement while maintaining politeness.
Settling a disagreement:
What do you do if you’re in charge of a meeting and people are arguing? Use one of these phrases to settle the disagreement and continue the meeting:
- We don’t seem to be getting anywhere with this, so maybe we could discuss it further at another time. Suggest deferring the discussion to avoid prolonging a disagreement.
- Let’s move on. I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree. Acknowledge the impasse and propose moving forward without resolution.
When you’d like to make a suggestion or recommendation during a meeting, consider using these phrases. The “weaker” phrases introduce an option as a possibility, while the “stronger” phrases emphasize your belief that it’s a good idea.
- We could…
Example: We could consider launching a new marketing campaign.
- Why don’t you/we…?
Example: Why don’t we explore alternative solutions?
- How about…?
Example: How about scheduling weekly progress updates?
- What about…?
Example: What about inviting guest speakers to our events?
- I suggest…
Example: I suggest we implement this strategy immediately.
- I recommend…
Example: I recommend allocating a larger budget to this project.
- We should…
Example: We should prioritize customer feedback.
Example: Let’s initiate a brainstorming session to generate ideas
We could / Why don’t we / We should / Let’s are followed by the base form of the verb:
- We could invest in new technology.
How about / What about / I suggest / I recommend are followed by the -ING form:
- How about investing in new technology?
Sometimes, you may need to interrupt the discussion to add a point or redirect the conversation. Here are three polite ways to do that:
- May I have a word?
Example: May I have a word on this topic? I believe I have an important perspective to share.
- Could I just say one thing?
Example: Could I just say one thing? It’s related to our current discussion.
- Excuse me – sorry for interrupting, but…
Example: Excuse me – sorry for interrupting, but I think it’s crucial to address this issue now.
Controlling The Meeting
Taking control of the meeting requires the skill to move the discussion smoothly from one agenda item to another. Use these phrases to guide the meeting effectively:
- I think we’ve spent enough time on this topic. Moving on…
Example: I think we’ve spent enough time on this topic. Moving on to the next agenda item.
- If nobody has anything else to add, let’s move on to the next item.
Example: If nobody has anything else to add, let’s move on to the next item on our agenda.
- We’re running short on time, so let’s move on.
Example: We’re running short on time, so let’s move on to the next discussion point.
- I’d like to skip item 2 and go directly to item 3.
Example: I’d like to skip item 2 and go directly to item 3 as it’s more urgent.
If you’d like to delegate control of the discussion to someone else, use these phrases:
- I’d like to hand it over to Brian, who will lead the next point.
Example: I’d like to hand it over to Brian, who will lead the next point in our agenda.
- Next, Brian is going to tell us about…
Example: Next, Brian is going to tell us about the marketing strategies for the upcoming quarter.
To refocus a discussion that has strayed off-topic, consider using these phrases:
- I’m afraid that’s outside the scope of this meeting.
Example: I’m afraid that’s outside the scope of this meeting. Let’s get back to our main agenda.
- I think we’re getting a bit off-topic.
Example: I think we’re getting a bit off-topic. Let’s refocus on our primary goals.
- We’d better save that for another meeting.
Example: We’d better save that for another meeting, as it’s not relevant to our current agenda.
- Let’s get back on track, OK?
Example: Let’s get back on track, OK? Our primary focus is the quarterly report.
At the end of the meeting, it’s essential to wrap it up effectively. Use these phrases to conclude your meetings professionally:
- It looks like we’ve covered the main items on the agenda.
Example: It looks like we’ve covered the main items on the agenda for today’s meeting.
- That will be all for today.
Example: That will be all for today. Thank you for your contributions.
- If no one has anything else to add, then I think we’ll wrap this up.
Example: If no one has anything else to add, then I think we’ll wrap this up for today.
You can also set a date for the next meeting using phrases like:
- Our next meeting will be on January 29th.
- Our next meeting will be on the first Monday of next month.
- Our next meeting will be two weeks from today.
If the date of the next meeting is not yet scheduled, you can say, “I’ll let you know the date of our next meeting.”
In conclusion, mastering these English phrases for effective meetings can greatly enhance your communication skills and help you become a more influential and organized participant in any professional setting. Whether you’re making suggestions, interrupting politely, controlling the meeting, or wrapping it up, using these phrases will make your meetings more productive and successful.
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