This is a list of essential phrases for being able to communicate in English during business meetings.
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?
Now you've learned the 100 most useful phrases for business meetings you might also be interested in our lists of vital business English abbreviations, telephoning language and emailing language - essential phrases for business communication:
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