Today you’re going to learn almost 100 practical English phrases to use in meetings. Many of them – such as the phrases for expressing opinions, agreeing, and disagreeing – can also be used in other situations outside of work.
BEGINNING A MEETING
To start the meeting, the meeting leader (who is called the chairperson or chair) may use one of these phrases:
If there are new people in the meeting, or people from different departments who might not know each other, the chairperson may introduce them:
I’d like to take a moment to introduce Carla, from the public relations department.
Please join me in welcoming Jim, a consultant who will be helping us with project management.
Finally, it’s good to state the specific topic or objective of the meeting, in order to focus the discussion:
Our main goal today is to determine the budget for 2021.
ASKING FOR OPINIONS
Meetings often begin with the presentation of some information and then a request for opinions. To ask people for their opinions, you can say:
After one person has expressed his or her opinion, you can say “Thanks,” to acknowledge the opinion, then use these phrases to ask for more people to respond:
If there’s a specific person who you would like to hear from, you can ask him or her directly by using these phrases:
GIVING YOUR OPINION
Now let’s learn some phrases for giving your opinion – with some detail in order to give you some flexibility in the way you express your opinion:
(use these phrases to base your opinion on your experience)
(use these phrases when you want to express a negative or critical opinion. The word “honest” is a diplomatic way to signal that you are going to say something negative or unpopular)
(use this phrase to show that this is an opinion you haven’t thought very deeply about)
AGREEING / DISAGREEING
Once other people in the meeting have expressed their opinions, you can react by agreeing or disagreeing. Here are some appropriate phrases for this purpose – again, based on degree of strength.
(you can use this phrase to refer to another colleague’s opinion)
(this means that you agree with some of the opinion, but not all of it)
(this means you agree with the opinion in theory, but not in practice)
In English, saying “I disagree” can be a little too direct, and may be considered impolite. Use one of these phrases instead, to disagree diplomatically:
Finally, here are some phrases for disagreeing strongly. The words “I’m sorry” make the phrase more polite.
Settling a disagreement:
What do you do if you’re in charge of a meeting and people are arguing? Use one of these phrases to settle the disagreement and continue the meeting:
If you’d like to make a suggestion or recommendation, you can use these phrases. The “weaker” phrases introduce an option as a possibility. The “stronger” phrases give more emphasis to your belief that it is a good idea.
We could / Why don’t we / We should / Let’s are followed by the base form of the verb:
How about / What about / I suggest / I recommend are followed by the -ING form:
At times, you might want to interrupt the discussion to add a point. Here are three polite ways to do that:
CONTROLLING THE MEETING
If you’re controlling the meeting, you’ll need these phrases to move the discussion to the next item on the agenda:
(This means you want to go from item 1 directly to item 3)
If you’d like to give control of the discussion to another person, you can say this:
Finally, it’s common for discussions to go off topic – however, you can bring the discussion back to the main point by using one of these phrases:
At the end of the meeting, use one of these phrases to close it:
You can also use a phrase similar to the ones used at the end of presentations, such as “Let me quickly summarize the main points.”
You can also set a date for the next meeting:
Our next meeting will be… / Let’s get together…
If the date of the next meeting is not yet scheduled, then you can say, “I’ll let you know the date of our next meeting.”