How to conduct a meeting in English
My name is Monika and I was born in Switzerland. Many international companies have headquarters here, and like many of them, the one I work at uses English as its business language. The thought of conducting a meeting in business English was daunting at first and my first experience was a complete disaster.
I thought I was prepared well enough, but one thing I didn't take into account was the various accents people have when speaking English. It also didn't help that my vocabulary wasn't what it is today. For the life of me I just couldn't understand what the others were saying some of the time. I felt stressed and completely forgot to consult the notes that I had, so everyone thought I hadn't prepared at all. Eventually I had to request a short break and took a few moments to calm my nerves. After that, things went better but it was definitely an experience I will never forget.
To help you avoid a similar experience, I'd like to share some tips and useful phrases to help your next meeting along:
Start the meeting off with a greeting. Stick to the more formal "good morning" or "good afternoon" rather than "hi" or "how's it going?"
Next you'll want to make sure everyone is on the same page by stating the purpose of the meeting. Phrases such as "The reason I called this meeting is…" or "We are meeting here today to discuss…" can help get the attendees focused on the task at hand.
You will then want to review past business and lay out the agenda for the current meeting. Once all of these things have been clarified and you are sure everyone is up to date, all you need to do is move discussion along. When you are done with one topic and ready to move on to the next, a useful phrase is "Now that we've discussed project X, let's move on to financing for project Y".
- At the end of the meeting it is useful to briefly mention what was discussed. Start your sentence with "To sum things up" and then list the items dealt with at the meeting. Thank the attendees for their time and let them know when the next meeting will be by saying, "See everyone at our next meeting on…"