Useful Phrases for Participating in a Business Meeting

Useful Meeting Phrases

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Interrupting

Use the following phrases to interrupt or join in the conversation:

May I have a word?
If I may, I think...
Excuse me for interrupting.

Giving Opinions

These phrases will give your opinion during a meeting:

I (really) feel that...
In my opinion...
The way I see things...

Asking for Opinions

These questions will help you ask for feedback and opinions during a conversation:

Do you (really) think that...


(name of participant) can we get your input?
How do you feel about...?

Commenting on Opinions

Use these phrases to show that you are carefully listening:

I've never thought about it that way before.
Good point!
I get your point.
I see what you mean.

Agreeing with Other Opinions

If you agree with what has been said, use these phrases to add your voice in agreement:

Exactly!
That's (exactly) the way I feel.
I have to agree with (name of participant).

Disagreeing with Other Opinions

Sometimes we have to disagree with others. These phrases are used to be polite, but firm when disagreeing:

Up to a point I agree with you, but...
(I'm afraid) I can't agree.

Advising and Suggesting

Thee phrases can be used to advise or make a suggestion during a meeting: 

We should...
Why don't you....
How/What about...
I suggest/recommend that...

Clarifying

Sometimes it's important to clarify what you've said. That might mean that you need to rephrase your point in other words.

Use these phrases to help clarify:

(Statement) Have I made that clear?
(Statement) Do you see what I'm getting at?
Let me put this another way (statement)
I'd just like to repeat that (statement)

Asking for Repetition

If you don't understand what's been said, use one of these phrases: 

I didn't catch that.

Could you repeat that, please?
I missed that. Could you say it again, please?
Could you run that by me one more time?

Asking for Clarification

If you'd like to check on some of the details, use these phrases to ask for more details and get clarification: 

I'm afraid I don't understand what your are getting at.
Could you explain to me how that is going to work?
I don't see what you mean. Could we have some more details, please?

Asking for Contributions for Other Participants

You can ask for more feedback by directly asking whether others have something else to contribute with these phrases: 

What do you think about this proposal?
Would you like to add anything, (name of participant)?
Has anyone else got anything to contribute?
Are there any more comments?

Correcting Information

At times, it's necessary to correct what someone else has said if it's vital to the conversation. Use these phrases to correct information:

Sorry, that's not quite right.
I'm afraid you don't understand what I'm saying.
That's not quite what I had in mind.
That's not what I meant.

Keeping the Meeting on Time

FInally, it's common to go too long. These phrases can help keep the meeting on time: 

Please be brief.
I'm afraid that's outside the scope of this meeting.


Let's get back on track, why don't we?
Why don't we return to the main focus of today's meeting.
Keep to the point, please.

Important Phrases Quiz

Provide a word to fill in the gaps to complete these common phrases used when participating in meetings:

  1. May I have a ________? In my opinion, I think we should spend some more time on this point. 
  2. If I ________, I think we should focus on sales rather than research.
  3. Excuse me for ________. Don't you think we should discuss the Smith account?
  4. Sorry, that's not quite ________. The shipment isn't due until next week. 
  5. Well, it's been a good meeting. Has anyone else got anything to ________?
  6. I didn't ________ that. Could you repeat your last statement please?
  7. Good ________! I agree that we should focus on locally grown products. 
  8. That's interesting. I've never thought about it that ________ before. 
  1. I'm afraid I don't see what you ________. Could you give us some more details? 
  2. I'm afraid you don't understand my ________. That's not what I meant. 
  3. Let's get back on ________, why don't we? We need to decide on our strategy. 
  4. I ________ we put this point off until our next meeting. 
  5. I'm sorry Tom, but that's outside the ________ of this meeting. Let's get back on track. 
  6. I'm afraid I didn't understand your point. Could you ________ that by me one more time?
  7. I have to ________ with Alison. That's exactly what I think. 

Answers:

  1. word / moment
  2. may 
  3. interrupting
  4. right / what I said
  5. contribute / add / say 
  6. catch / understand
  7. point
  8. way
  9. mean
  10. point
  11. track
  12. suggest / recommend
  13. scope
  14. run
  15. agree

You can further explore useful phrases and proper language use by looking an a meeting dialogue. During a meeting you might want to have a phrase reference sheet to help conduct the meeting. It's also a good idea to use appropriate language for business situations.