The most useful phrases for the beginning of meetings
Meeting people for the first time
- (We’ve emailed many times but/ We’ve spoken on the phone but) it’s so nice to finally meet you (face to face).
- You must be (name).
- Here’s my business card.
Small talk at the beginning of a meeting
- Did you have any trouble finding us?/ Did you have any trouble getting here?
- How was your journey?/ How was your flight?
- Is this your first time (here) in (name of place)?
- Nice day/ Lovely day/ Horrible weather/ Rather hot/ A bit humid (today), isn’t it?
Ending the small talk and getting down to business phrases
Transitions phrases for moving smoothly from one stage to another
- Well (then),…/ Okay (then),…/ Right (then),…/ So,…/ Anyway,…/ Anyhow,…
Saying something nice about the small talk
- …I’d love to chat more, but…
- …you must tell me more about that later, but…
- …it’s been lovely to catch up, but…
Giving a reason for finishing the small talk
- …we have a lot to get through today, so…
- …we have to be out of here by 12, so…
- …I have another meeting at 11, so…
Getting down to business phrases
- … let’s get down to business/ I think we should make a start/ shall we get started…
Language after the suggestion to make it softer and prompt a reaction
- …, if you don’t mind/ if that’s okay (with you).
Responding to getting down to business phrases
- Of course./ Sure. (Let’s.)
Polite language at the beginning of a meeting
- Thanks for coming (all the way here/ so far) today (so early in the morning/ on such a cold day).
Dealing with practicalities of the meeting
Talking about the agenda
- Does everyone have a copy of the agenda?
Introducing the topic of the meeting
- As you (all/ should/ probably/ might) know,…
- As I wrote in my email (yesterday/ about this meeting/ sending the agenda),…
- The main reason for this meeting is…
- What we need to decide/ talk about/ think about today is…
- The (main) topic/ subject/ aim/ objective/ purpose/ goal of this meeting is…
The most useful phrases for the body of a meeting
Getting other people to speak/ Asking for ideas/ Asking for opinions/ Getting people involved
- (Do you have/ Does anyone have) any (other/ particular) thoughts/ comments/ opinions/ views (on this)?
- What do you think (about this/ about that)?
Giving strong opinions
- I really think…
- I strongly believe/ I really believe/ I firmly believe…
- I’m (absolutely/ completely/ 100%) certain/ convinced/ positive that…
Giving weak opinions
- I’m no expert on this, but…
- (I’m not sure/ certain, but) I would guess/ I would imagine/ I would suppose…
- This is only my opinion, but…
- I would probably say that…
- In my limited experience,…
- I totally agree.
- (That’s/ You’re) exactly right./ Exactly!
- (You are/ That’s) absolutely right!/ Absolutely!
- I feel exactly the same way./ I feel just the same way.
Weakly agreeing/ Reluctantly agreeing
- You might be right./ You could be right./ You may be right.
- I suppose you’re right./ I guess you’re right.
- (I’m sorry but) I really don’t agree.
- (I’m afraid) I have to disagree.
Weakly disagreeing/ Politely disagreeing
- (I’m afraid) I don’t really agree.
- I’m not sure that I agree.
- I mostly agree, but…
- (That’s a) good point, but…
- I feel almost the same way, but…
Making suggestions/ Coming up with ideas (when brainstorming etc)
- I would suggest/ I would recommend/ I would advise…
- My (main) suggestion/ recommendation/ advice would be to…
- The best solution/ The best course of action would probably be…
- We should (probably) consider/ think about…
Asking for evidence/ Asking for support for opinions/ Asking for reasons
- What makes you say that?
The most useful turn taking (interrupting, etc) phrases
- Sorry to interrupt, but…
- Can I come here (for a moment)?
- (Before you go on,) can I just say…?
- If I can just (interrupt) (for a moment),…
Allowing people to speak/ Inviting people to speak/ Allowing people to interrupt
- (Of course/ Sure), (please) go ahead. (What would you like to say?/ Please have your say.)
Stopping the other person interrupting/ Keeping the turn
- Sorry, can I just finish this one point (first)?/ Sorry, can I just what I’m saying (first)?
- Sorry, just one (more) thing before you have your say,…
Getting the turn back/ Getting the discussion back on track
- (Now) where were we? Oh yes,…/ (Now) where was I? Oh yes,…
- (Anyway/ Well), as I was saying…
- Could you (possibly) give me a hand with/ lend me a hand with…?
Checking/ Clarifying/ Dealing with communication problems
- Sorry, what do you mean by…?
- (By…) do you mean…?
- So (in other words), what you’re saying is…
- Sorry, did you say… (or…)?
Helping come to an agreement (when people can’t agree)
- Maybe we can decide this with a show of hands.
- Please raise your hand if…
- I think I can suggest a compromise.
- Can anyone suggest a (possible) compromise?
Delaying a decision/ Continuing the discussion later
- We don’t seem to be making much progress (on this), so let’s continue this discussion by email, shall we?
- Maybe we can come back to that later/ in a later meeting (if we have time).
- Maybe we should sleep on this and try again next week.
Changing topic/ Moving on
- Okay, we’ve still got a few points to get through, so…
- Right, I think we’ve covered that, so…
- …let’s move on to the next point/ topic on the agenda, shall we?
- …let’s turn our attention to…
The most useful phrases for ending meetings
Checking agreement (by everyone/ about everything)
- Are we (all) agreed?
Summarising what you have discussed and agreed, and responding to that
- So, to summarise our discussion/ So, to sum up our agreement,…
Checking there’s nothing left to talk about, and replying to that
- Is there anything else that we need to discuss (before we finish)?
- No, I think we’ve covered everything, thanks.
- Actually, there is just one more thing (that I’d like to discuss/ that we need to discuss).
Smoothly finishing/ Giving reasons for finishing the meeting, and responding to that
- Anyway, I’m afraid I have another meeting in 10 minutes, so we’ll have to stop there (if you don’t mind).
- Well, I think someone is waiting for this room, so shall we call it a day (if that’s okay)?
- So, I’d like to be able to discuss this more, but I know (name) has to be somewhere, so we’ll have to come back to it another time, I’m afraid.
Bringing the actual meeting to a close
- So/ Okay/ Right (then), let’s call it a day/ wrap it up there (and continue…) (, shall we?)
Polite and friendly language at the end of a meeting
- Thanks, that was very useful./ Thanks, that was very productive.
- Thanks for (all) your (great) contributions/ ideas. (They were very helpful).
- Thanks for making the time to meet us./ Thanks for taking the time to meet us.
- Thanks for inviting us.
- It was great to see you (again).
- It was (so) nice to (finally) meet you.
- Have a good weekend/ a good trip/ fun/ a good time/ a safe journey.
Talking about future contact
- I look forward to seeing you again soon.
- (As I said) I’ll (check with my boss and) get in touch/ be in contact/ email you (about)…
- See you at…/ See you next…/ See you on…/ See you soon./ See you, then./ See you then./ See you later.
Good small talk questions at the end of a meeting
- Do you have to go (straight) back to your office?
- (Do you have) any more meetings today?
- (Are you) finished for today?
- (Do you have) any plans for the weekend?
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