Words in English for Meetings

reviewed byNataliia Afonina / more about Editorial Process

Learning English, particularly its business-specific nuances, can be challenging. A key area of this is mastering the language used in meetings. This article aims to help you understand how to open a meeting and provides various words and phrases commonly used during meetings.

Effective Meeting Vocabulary in English: A Comprehensive Guide

Opening Meeting Vocabulary

Let's start with the vocabulary you may encounter, opening meeting or before it starts:

  • Agenda: a list of topics or issues to be discussed in a meeting. Usually, it is sent to participants before the meeting and repeated once more while opening the meeting.
  • Chairperson/Chair: the person who leads or prescribes the meeting.
  • Minutes: the official written record of the meeting, which includes key decisions and action items.
  • To convene: to gather for a meeting.
  • To schedule: to arrange a meeting for a specific time and place.
  • Conference call: a telephone call involving more than two participants.
  • Video conference: a meeting held over video, allowing participants to see each other.
  • RSVP: an abbreviation for the French phrase "répondez s'il vous plaît", which means "please respond". It's often used to ask invitees to confirm their attendance.
  • Venue: the place where the meeting is to be held.
  • Invitee: a person who is invited to a meeting.
  • Stand-up meeting: a short meeting where participants typically remain standing to promote efficiency.
  • Webinar: a seminar conducted over the internet, often for educational or informative purposes.
  • Doodle poll: a tool used to schedule meetings based on participants' availability.

Now that you're familiar with these terms, you'll be able to prepare for meetings with confidence. Remember, clear communication starts before the meeting even begins.

Phrases for Opening Meeting

Whether you're leading a meeting or participating in one, knowing how to kick off the discussion effectively is key. Good opening remarks set the tone for the meeting, acknowledge the efforts of the participants, and clearly state the objective. As English language learners, mastering a range of opening phrases will enhance your ability to participate in or lead meetings successfully:

  • “Welcome to the meeting! It's great to see such commitment and enthusiasm.” - It is often used as opening remarks for a meeting.
  • “I appreciate your presence and active participation in today's meeting. Let's begin by addressing the first item on our agenda." - Another popular phrase that people use as opening remarks for meetings and immediately start the discussion.
  • "I trust everyone had a chance to review the pre-meeting materials. Let's jump right into discussing our action points." - Use this meeting introduction when you want to ensure that everyone is prepared for the meeting and ready to discuss the materials distributed beforehand.
  • "As we start, I'd like to remind everyone that our main goal for today's meeting is..." - Use this when you want to clearly state the objective of the meeting at the outset, ensuring that everyone is focused on the same goal.
  • "I'm glad we're all here today. Let's use our time effectively and ensure we cover all the points on our agenda." - Open a meeting with these words when you want to emphasize the importance of time management and staying on track during the meeting.
  • "Before we get started, I'd like to welcome our new team members. We're thrilled to have you with us." - Use this when you want to acknowledge and welcome any new participants in the meeting.
  • "Good [morning/afternoon], everyone. Let's start off with some good news..." - Use this meeting introduction when you want to set a positive tone for the meeting by sharing some recent successes or positive updates.
  • "Let's begin by taking a moment to celebrate our recent wins. This will help set the stage for our discussion today." - Use this when you want to inspire the team and acknowledge recent achievements before diving into new business.

With these phrases in your vocabulary, you'll be able to start a meeting on the right foot, engage participants, and steer the meeting toward its goals. Remember, the goal is not just to memorize these phrases but to understand their intent and use them appropriately. As you become more comfortable with these phrases, you'll be able to adapt them to suit any English meeting context.

During the Meeting: Essential Terms

The heart of any meeting is the discussion that occurs during it. Understanding the vocabulary used in this context is vital for effective participation.

  • Quorum: the minimum number of members who must be present for the meeting's decisions to be valid.
  • Motion: a formal proposal put to a vote.
  • Adjourn: to officially end the meeting.
  • A.O.B. (Any Other Business): a term used towards the end of a meeting to allow participants to raise additional topics.
  • Consensus: general agreement among the meeting participants.
  • Unanimous: a decision or vote where every member agrees.
  • Point of order: an interjection to question the process, usually when someone believes the rules of the meeting are not being followed.
  • Seconded: a term used when another member supports a motion proposed by someone else.
  • Open floor: a term used when all participants are invited to speak or share their ideas.
  • Off the record: a comment or discussion that is not to be officially recorded or publicly reported.
  • Roll call: the reading out of names to record attendance.
  • Interruptions: Breaking the continuous course of a speech or action of (someone), typically with a comment or question.
  • Parking lot: a term for a list of issues to be revisited at a later time.

Mastering these terms will help you navigate meeting discussions smoothly. By knowing when and how to use these words, you can actively contribute to any meeting.

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Post-Meeting Vocabulary

After the meeting concludes, there's still work to be done and vocabulary to be learned. Let's explore the terms that come into play post-meeting.

  • Action item: a task assigned during the meeting to a participant.
  • Follow-up: additional activities or tasks that need to be done after the meeting.
  • Minutes: a record of the meeting, noting decisions, action items, and other important points.
  • Deadline: the date or time by which something must be completed.
  • To recap/Recap: a brief summary or review of the main points of the meeting.
  • Next steps: the tasks that will be undertaken following the meeting.
  • To delegate: to assign responsibility or authority.
  • Wrap up: to conclude or finish something, like a meeting or a topic within a meeting.
  • Takeaway: a key point to be remembered or learned from a meeting.
  • To disseminate: to distribute or spread information widely.
  • Status update: a report on the current state of a project or task.

Being comfortable with post-meeting terminology allows you to follow through on tasks and understand the next steps. These terms will help you wrap up meetings effectively and prepare for future ones.

Additional Meeting Vocabulary

Beyond general meeting vocabulary, there are specialized terms often used in more formal or specific types of meetings. Expanding your vocabulary to include these will help you engage at a deeper level.

  • Stakeholder: a person, group, or organization that has an interest or concern in an organization or project.
  • Facilitator: Someone who helps guide the meeting, often keeping the discussion on track and ensuring everyone has a chance to speak.
  • Scribe: the person responsible for taking the minutes of the meeting.
  • Round-robin: a meeting style where each participant takes turns speaking.
  • Brainstorming: a meeting or part of a meeting devoted to generating ideas or solutions to a problem.
  • Breakout session: a smaller, more focused discussion within a larger meeting.
  • Straw poll: an informal vote taken to see how the members feel about an issue or decision.
  • Gantt chart: a visual representation of a project schedule, showing tasks, durations, and dependencies.
  • Moderator: a person who presides over a meeting and ensures that rules are followed.
  • Ice breaker: an activity or question designed to ease tension and promote open communication at the start of a meeting.
  • Hard stop: a strict end time for the meeting, beyond which it cannot continue.
  • Hybrid meeting: a meeting where some participants are physically present, and others join remotely.

With a grasp of these specialized terms, you can navigate a broader range of meeting styles and settings. This advanced vocabulary will be especially valuable in formal or professional contexts.

Useful Phrases for Meetings

If you're learning English as a second language, you may find it challenging to follow along and participate in meetings, particularly if they're held in English. Understanding and being able to use specific phrases can enhance your ability to contribute effectively to the meeting. In this section, we'll go through some key phrases that will enable you to engage more confidently in various meeting scenarios.

  • "Could we take a step back?" - Used when you want to broaden the discussion or return to a previous point.
  • "I'd like to raise a point about..." - Used when you want to introduce a new topic or issue.
  • "Just to play devil’s advocate…" - Used when you want to introduce a contrasting perspective for the sake of argument.
  • "Could we revisit this at a later time?" - Used when a topic is taking too much time, and you'd prefer to discuss it in more detail later.
  • "What are the next steps?" - Used to clarify what actions need to be taken after the meeting.
  • "Could you clarify what you mean by..." - Used when you need further explanation or specifics on a certain point.
  • "Let's take a short break." - Used when a break is needed during a long meeting.
  • "I second that motion." - Used when you want to show your agreement with a proposal.
  • "I would like to table this discussion." - Used when you want to postpone a discussion to a later date.
  • "Before we adjourn, let's recap..." - Used when you want to summarize the key points before ending the meeting.

We hope these phrases will help you express your thoughts and ideas effectively in meetings. Remember, practice makes perfect, so try using these phrases in your conversations to get comfortable with them. The ability to effectively participate in meetings will not only boost your confidence but also enable you to make significant contributions to your team.

Conclusion

Effective communication in meetings is crucial in the professional world. By mastering the vocabulary outlined above, you can more confidently navigate meetings in English. You can participate fully, understand all the details, and follow through on your responsibilities. As you continue learning and practicing, you'll become more adept at handling all types of meetings, making you a valuable team player in any business setting.

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