Language for Meetings: Getting the Meeting Started

Whether you are attending a meeting or leading one, there are a number of common expressions in English that can be confusing if you’re unfamiliar with them.

If you’re chairing (leading) a meeting, using the expressions below will help your English to sound more natural. However, if there are several non-native English speakers present at the meeting, it might be best to use the less colloquial expressions (to the right of the =) to be sure that everyone understands what’s going on.

If you’re attending a meeting, learning the expressions below can help you to understand what the chairperson wants everyone to do.

Let’s make a start without them. = We will start the meeting even though they aren’t here. (Use this phrase when it is the scheduled time for the meeting to begin but there are some people who haven’t arrived.)

We have a lot to get through. = We have many things to deal with.

I want to make sure we cover everything. = I want to make sure that we discuss all the points on the agenda.

If the meeting runs over, can everybody stay? = If the meeting takes longer than planned, is everyone able to stay for the extra time?

Because we have so much to deal with, it’s important that we stick to the agenda. = Because we have so much to deal with, it’s important that we follow the agenda and avoid unscheduled discussions.

OK, let’s get the ball rolling. = OK, let’s start the meeting properly.

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