40 Professional Phrases To Host A Meeting in English
I’m sharing the exact phrases and expressions you need to host a meeting in English so that you sound confident and professional!
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Hosting a meeting is an essential business skill, but these expressions and meeting management strategies will be useful in less formal meetings too!
I’ve created a free PDF you can download and keep with you at work so you can put these phrases into practice!
You’ll find all the phrases mentioned in this lesson to:
– help you start a professional meeting
– help you set expectations
– help you manage the discussion
– help you wrap up and end a professional meeting
Well hey there! I’m Emma from mmmEnglish!
Have you ever led a meeting in English? Can you imagine yourself hosting a meeting at work completely in English? I’ve created this lesson today to help you learn lots of useful and essential phrases to help you lead a meeting in English.
Make sure you download the workbook that I’ve created for you so you can keep all of these phrases and these expressions with you during your meetings, during your conversations so that you can put them into practice.
Are you ready to get started?
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It doesn’t matter whether your meeting is a social or a professional meeting, whether it’s online or it’s in person, there are some elements that will always be the same no matter what style or type of meeting you’re hosting.
And at the start of any meeting, it is essential that you greet and welcome participants. There are a few different phrases and expressions you can use to do it. It can be as simple as:
- Hello everybody and welcome!
- Good morning, I’d like to thank everyone for coming today.
If your meeting has less than ten people at it, make sure that everyone is introduced. If there’s more than ten people, the introductions can kind of drag on a bit, you might need to take it out or do it differently.
But introductions really do help break the ice and people feel more comfortable speaking up and sharing their opinions when they know the other people in the room.
Now when you know some but not all of the participants at the meeting, you could say:
- I know most of you but I see a few unfamiliar faces. Let’s do a round of introductions.
So that means let’s just go around in a circle so everyone can say their name.
What about when it’s an entirely new group of people? You don’t know anyone.
- Before we get started, let’s go around the table and introduce ourselves.
If you’re at work or at a conference or in some professional setting, you can ask everyone to say their name, their role and the company that they work for.
- Please just say your name, your role and the organisation that you’re from.
And if it’s a more informal social setting like maybe you’re hosting an online book club meeting or a meeting with a group of neighbours for the first time then say:
- Share your name, where you’re from and perhaps an interesting fact about yourself.
Hi I’m Emma from Perth, Western Australia and I’ve lived in every Australian city.
This is especially useful if the meeting that you’re hosting is online and the people who are joining you are spread out all over the world. It can be really interesting to find out where everybody else actually is, it’s a great way to spark some small talk before things get too serious.
Setting up for success
So there are three essential steps to kick-start a successful meeting.
- The first is to start by stating the goal or the purpose of the meeting.
- The second is to make sure you outline the agenda or talk about the different things that everyone is here to discuss.
- And the third is to set any ground rules before the meeting to make sure it runs smoothly, that there’s no interruptions.
So let’s take a closer look at some useful phrases that can help you to move through these three important steps.
State the purpose
It’s important for everyone at the meeting to have an expectation of how the meeting is going to be run and what they’re going to get out of it.
So start by stating the goal or the purpose of the meeting.
- Our goal today is to plan the social media strategy for March and for April.
Or you can focus on the outcome that you’d like to achieve.
- By the end of this session, everyone will know how to use the new accounting software.
And if you want to sound a little more casual then you could say:
- We’re here today to talk about George Orwell’s novel 1986.
Outline the agenda
If you have an agenda for the meeting, now’s the time to go over it.
- I’ll just draw your attention to the agenda. We’ve got a few things to get through today.
And then of course you would name all of the important things on the agenda.
And if there’s no agenda, it’s a good chance to just tell the participants how the meeting or this session is going to be structured. What are the different sections of the meeting?
This way everyone is going to know what to expect and it will be easier for you to transition between topics and get through everything that needs to be discussed.
Discourse markers and signposting language really comes in handy here. Words like:
- after that
Something like this.
- The first item on the agenda is social media. And then we’ll move on to item number two which is customer satisfaction. And then we’ll take a look at customer feedback. And finally, we’ll discuss the new marketing strategy.
Set ground rules
And of course, when you’re hosting a meeting it never hurts to go over some of the ground rules. Sometimes we refer to this part of the meeting as housekeeping. Housekeeping in this context doesn’t mean cleaning or maintaining a house.
In a meeting, we commonly use this phrase to talk about the administrative parts of a meeting, the part of the meeting where you lay the rules out and you explain how things are going to run.
- We just have to get through some housekeeping first.
Now saying this is a great way to transition away from the introductions and the agenda and to talk about what you expect from everyone for the duration of the meeting.
You might ask them to switch off their phones.
- If you have your phone with you, please take a moment just to turn it on silent or to switch it off, just so we don’t have any disruptions.
Or you could let them know what to do if they have a question.
- If you have any questions outside of the agenda just save them for the end.
If you’re running an online meeting this is especially important just to make it easy and manageable for everyone.
- If you have any questions during our discussion today please just use the raised hand reaction or raise your hand so I can see it on screen.
- Feel free to share your comments and your questions in the chat and please make sure you put your microphones on mute to keep disruptions to a minimum.
When you’re running a meeting, part of your job is to manage and control the discussion. You want it to be effective.
Phrases to manage the discussion
Sometimes you might need to prompt people to get the conversation started.
- To kick things off, why don’t we brainstorm a few ideas together.
I think it’s best to ask some general questions that are open for everyone to answer rather than singling people out initially.
Ask for an opinion
You could try asking for their opinion with one of these phrases.
- What does everyone else think?
- What are your thoughts on the survey results?
- I’d like to get your input on the new design.
Sometimes you put a question like that out there and no one answers.
So then you might need to call out a specific name just to encourage someone to share their point of view.
- What do you think about that, Amy?
Ask for clarification
Now what about when you need to ask for clarification? A really great way to do that is to ask for a bit more detail.
- Can you explain that in a bit more detail?
- Would you mind going over that again, please?
To go over means to explain something in a detailed or a more careful way or you can paraphrase what you think a person wants to say or what you think you heard them say.
And it’s a really useful conversation skill generally but in a meeting, it’s good to check that you understood someone, that you heard them correctly without asking them to repeat it so this is a really great way to do that.
- So what you’re saying is you’re not really concerned about the deadline as long as the job’s done well, is that correct?
Another similar phrase is something like:
- If I understood correctly, you’re saying that all of these figures are incorrect.
Perhaps it might be useful to rephrase what someone else said maybe in a way that’s a little simpler for everyone to understand.
- So in other words, the report won’t be finished on time.
Keep on track
When you’re leading a meeting it is super important that you keep the meeting on track by keeping track of time. Nobody likes meetings that drag on or they run over time. If you’re running the meeting it’s your job to practise effective time management.
Now you could always ask anyone else to keep an eye on the time but you may not always have that help. So in those situations, you can say:
- If nobody has anything else to add, let’s move on. I’m conscious of time.
Sometimes you might even have to cut the discussion short in order to make time for other things that you’ve got to talk about on the agenda.
- I’m sorry, but I have to stop you there.
And you could follow that with:
- We’re running out of time so we have to move on.
Sometimes when the conversation is flowing really well, it’s easy to get sidetracked or to go off-topic or to go off track.
A good way to keep the conversation moving in the right direction is to say:
- I’m afraid we don’t have time to talk about that in today’s meeting. We’ll add that on to the agenda for next week.
Ending the meeting
You might like to summarise the key points of the meeting so that everyone else walks away with a clear idea of what happened.
- Let me briefly summarise what we discussed today.
And at this point, you can also mention any specific tasks that people at the meeting agreed to do.
- We’ve all agreed that Aman will write the report.
Thank and conclude
After you’ve summarised the main points you’d thank everyone for coming, for their time, for their participation at your meeting.
- Thank you so much for your time and your participation today.
The thank you at the end of a meeting is usually the sign that the meeting is over, that you’re starting to wrap up. And if you have a future meeting planned now is a good time to mention it.
- The next meeting is on Tuesday so I’ll see you all then.
And you might sign off with something friendly, either in an online meeting or in person you could say:
- Have a great day everyone!
- Have a great week!
So that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this lesson and that you feel more confident about hosting your next meeting in English.
Make sure you save or you print the PDF that I created for you so that you can keep it with you during your meetings, during your online conversation so that you can start using these expressions fluently.
And ladies don’t forget, if you want to practise hosting meetings in a supportive space with friends come and put your skills into practice inside Hey Lady!
Thank you so much for joining me today. Have a great week my lovely students. See you in the next lesson!
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