Useful English Phrases for Running a Business Meeting

Business people meeting in sunny conference room
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This reference sheet provides short phrases to help you run a business meeting from start to finish. Generally speaking, you should use formal English to run a business meeting. As you participate, it's a good idea to paraphrase others' ideas to make sure you understand.

Opening the Meeting

Welcome participants with a quick phrases and get down to business.

Good morning/afternoon, everyone.
If we are all here, let's
.

. . get started (OR)
start the meeting. (OR)
. . . start.

Good morning everyone. If we're all here, let's get started.

Welcoming and Introducing Participants

If you have a meeting with new participants, make sure to introduce them before as you start the meeting.

Please join me in welcoming (name of participant)
We're pleased to welcome (name of participant)
It's a pleasure to welcome (name of participant)
I'd like to introduce (name of participant)
I don't think you've met (name of participant)

Before I get started, I'd like to please join me in welcoming Anna Dinger from our office in New York.

Stating the Principal Objectives of a Meeting

It's important to begin the meeting by clearly stating the main objectives for the meeting.

We're here today to
Our aim is to ...
I've called this meeting in order to ...
By the end of this meeting, I'd like to have ...

We're here today to discuss the upcoming merger, as well as go over last quarter's sales figures. 

Giving Apologies for Someone Who is Absent

If someone important is missing, it's a good idea to let others know that they will be missing from the meeting.

I'm afraid.., (name of participant) can't be with us today. She is in...
I have received apologies for the absence of (name of participant), who is in (place).

I'm afraid Peter can't be with us today. He's in London meeting with clients, but will be back next week.

Reading the Minutes (Notes) of the Last Meeting

If you have a meeting that repeats regularly, make sure to read the minutes from the last meeting to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

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)

First, let's go over the minutes from our last meeting which was held last Tuesday. Jeff could you please read the notes?

Dealing with Recent Developments

Checking in with others will help you keep everyone up to date on progress on various projects. 

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?

Alan, please tell us how the final arrangements for the merger are coming along. 

Moving Forward

Use these phrases to transition to the main focus of your meeting.

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.

Once again, I'd like to thank you all for coming. Now, shall we get down to business?

Introducing the Agenda

Before you launch into the main points of the meeting, double check that everyone has a copy of the agenda for the meeting.

Have you all received a copy of the agenda?
There are three items on the agenda. First,
Shall we take the points in this order?
If you don't mind, I'd like to ... go in order (OR)
skip item 1 and move on to item 3
I suggest we take item 2 last.

Have you all received a copy of the agenda? Good. Shall we take the points in order?

Allocating Roles (secretary, participants)

As you move through the meeting, it's important that people keep track of what's going on. Make sure to allocate note taking.

(name of participant) has agreed to take the minutes.
(name of participant) has kindly agreed to give us a report on this matter.
(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?

Alice, would you mind taking notes today?

Agreeing on the Ground Rules for the Meeting (contributions, timing, decision-making, etc.)

If there is no regular routine to your meeting, point out the basic rules for discussion throughout the meeting.

We will hear a short report on each point first, followed by a discussion round the table.
I suggest we go round the table first.
The meeting is due to finish at...
We'll have to keep each item to ten minutes. Otherwise we'll never get through.
We may need to vote on item 5, if we can't get a unanimous decision.

I suggest we go round the table first to get everyone's feedback. After that, we'll take a vote.

Introducing the First Item on the Agenda

Use these phrases to begin with the first item on the agenda. Make sure to use sequencing language to connect your ideas throughout the meeting.

So, let's start with
Shall we start with. .
So, the first item on the agenda is
Pete, would you like to kick off?
Martin, would you like to introduce this item?

Shall we start with the first item? Good. Peter will introduce our plans for the merger and then will discuss the implications. 

Closing an Item

As you move from item to item, quickly state that you have finished with the previous discussion.

I think that covers the first item.
Shall we leave that item?
If nobody has anything else to add,

I think that covers the important points of the merger.

Next Item

These phrases will help you transition to the next item on the agenda.

Let's move onto the next item
The next item on the agenda is
Now we come to the question of.

Now, let's move onto the next item. We've been having a bit of a personnel crunch lately.

Giving Control to the Next Participant

If someone takes over your role, give control to them with one of the following phrases.

I'd like to hand over to Mark, who is going to lead the next point.
Right, Dorothy, over to you.

I'd like to hand over to Jeff, who is going to discuss the personnel issues.

Summarizing

As you finish the meeting, quickly sum up the main points of the meeting.

Before we close, let me just summarize the main points.
To sum up, ...
In brief,
Shall I go over the main points?

To sum up, we've moved forward with the merger and expect to start work on the project in May. Also, the personnel department has decided to hire additional staff to help us with the increased demand.

Suggesting and Agreeing on Time, Date and Place for the Next Meeting

As you end the meeting, make sure to arrange for the next meeting if necessary.

Can we fix the next meeting, please?
So, the next meeting will be on... (day), the . . . (date) of.. . (month) at...
What about the following Wednesday? How is that?
So, see you all then. 

Before we leave, I'd like to fix the next meeting. What about next Thursday?

Thanking Participants for Attending

It's always a good idea to thank everyone for attending the meeting.

I'd like to thank Marianne and Jeremy for coming over from London.
Thank you all for attending.
Thanks for your participation.

Thank you all for your participation and I'll see you next Thursday.

Closing the Meeting

Close the meeting with a simple statement.

The meeting is closed.
I declare the meeting closed.

Explore useful phrases and proper language use in these business English articles:

Introduction and Example Meeting Dialogue

Phrase Reference Sheet for Participating in a Meeting

Formal or Informal? Appropriate Language in Business Situations

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Beare, Kenneth. "Useful English Phrases for Running a Business Meeting." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2017, thoughtco.com/phrases-for-running-a-business-meeting-1209021. Beare, Kenneth. (2017, February 16). Useful English Phrases for Running a Business Meeting. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/phrases-for-running-a-business-meeting-1209021 Beare, Kenneth. "Useful English Phrases for Running a Business Meeting." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/phrases-for-running-a-business-meeting-1209021 (accessed December 16, 2017).