It's really important for students to KNOW HOW TO PREPARE THEMSELVES for meetings in English so that they could communicate effectively, reduce their anxiety, and appear confident and competent.
So here goes - our top 5 tips for preparing to have a business meeting in English.
1. Prepare in advance!
The first thing to note is that you will probably know in advance that you will have a meeting in English, in this case, you will have time to prepare.
Without trying to cause you unnecessary anxiety, we recommend that you treat this situation as if it were an exam you had to study for or a presentation you had to prepare for. You wouldn´t go into either of those situations without having prepared, and it should be the same for attending a meeting in English.
There are many factors that will determine what level of preparation is needed - for instance, your level of English speaking and understanding, your familiarity with the topic, if you are accustomed to having meetings in English or if it is your first time, and your role in the meeting (are you a senior figure or are you with people who are a higher category in work?).
It will also depend on how much is at stake - in other words, if the meeting is relatively unimportant in terms of consequences - i.e. it is internal, it is a regular meeting - or if it is very important and needs to be very successful, for example, to win a contract with a new client or achieve an important agreement. So you need to first look at how important it is that the meeting is successful.
Perhaps the most important factor to determine the level of preparation needed is how much YOU will participate in the meeting. For example, you will have to prepare much more carefully if you are leading the meeting than if you are only there as an attendee and don´t have a speaking role.
2. Prepare in advance!
No, this is not repeated by mistake. It is so important that it deserves mentioning twice. It is never too early to prepare for meetings in English, because learning a new language is a long process and cannot be studied for in one night
If you know that it is a possibility that you will work, and therefore have meetings, in English, start NOW. Listen as much as possible to English to improve your comprehension, and study the topics that you will need. For example, if you need to have meetings in English, study expressions and structures for meetings in English.
The following steps are for people who have been preparing and people who haven´t.
If you haven´t prepared in advance because:
a. You always meant to but never found the time, or
b. You didn´t expect to have meetings in English,
follow the next steps closely:
3. Prepare a cheatsheet/page, cards, or post-its
of the necessary expressions you will need to use in the meeting.
4. Repeat these expressions out loud
until they become natural, easy to say, and automatic.
5. Review meeting expressions in general
in a less intensive way, so that you will be able to understand what people are saying - the ideal way to do this is to listen to the expressions, therefore practicing the expressions and practicing your listening skills.
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