Our business lives are awash with meetings – breakfast, stand-up and scrum, to name but a few. They come in all shapes and sizes, whether it is an impromptu chat in the corridor, a weekly team meeting or an Annual General Meeting. All meetings play an important role in the life of a company, and, in spite of other methods of communication such as email, WhatsApp and telephone, there seems to be no sign that their popularity is waning.

The most common reason to have a meeting is to discuss something face to face in real time. It could be a new idea, a new opportunity, a new business contact, or an issue that needs sensitive handling. Discussing something face to face allows you not only to hear the words, but also to listen to the tone of the speaker.

But it is not just about listening – you want to be able to deliver your message in this (group) setting – and that means having confidence in your ability to find the right turn of phrase at the right moment. If you feel strongly about the point you are making, you want to be able to build a convincing argument; you also want to be able to prevent any interruptions (in a polite way, of course) while you are speaking. By using various rhetorical devices, you will learn how to emphasise your key points. It is also important to be able to react to input from other participants, whether it involves exchanging opinions, agreeing or disagreeing, or asking for clarification. On the other hand, if you are leading the meeting, keeping people ‘on track’ may be uppermost in your mind.

Sessions on Meetings skills will focus on broadening vocabulary and developing and practising typical phrases and idioms used in English-speaking meetings. Time will also be spent on discussing strategies for coping with tricky situations, and confidence-building role-play activities.

It is also possible to take a one- or two-day workshop on Meetings in English, tailored to the needs of both experienced and inexperienced speakers. Typical course content would be:

  • Presenting and defending an argument
  • Vocabulary and idioms associated with meetings
  • Asking for opinions
  • Giving strong/neutral/tentative opinions
  • Agreeing and disagreeing
  • Preventing interruptions
  • Giving and asking for clarification
  • The language of persuasion, emphasis and compromise
  • Making suggestions and giving recommendations
  • Leading a meeting
  • Particular issues concerned with telephone or web conferences