If you attend business meetings in English and get frustrated when you don’t understand everything. If you sometimes feel shy and don’t speak even though you have something to say.
If you don’t know how to interrupt someone or prevent them from interrupting you, then this podcast will help you be more effective in business meetings.
The Meeting Agenda
Business meetings should have an agenda. Look at it beforehand. This will help you prepare for the meeting.
If you look at the agenda in advance, you can think about what you want to say, and make some notes on how to say it.
You can also think about any questions people might ask you during the meeting, and prepare possible answers in advance. ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail!
So, if I understand correctly, you are saying……
Would you mind clarifying that?
Did you mean…..Did you say…….
Are you saying (that)……?
I’m not sure I understood your point about…
Sorry, could you repeat that/say that again, please?
Can you summarise the main points for me, please?
Could you go over that again, please?
I’m afraid I couldn’t (quite) follow everything you said.
Can/Could/Would you just repeat the bit/what you said about…….please?
One of the most effective ways to interrupt someone is to maintain eye contact with them. Wait until there’s a natural pause and then say something like:
Excuse me for a second
Can I say something here?
I’d like to make a point.
Can I come in here?
Could I interrupt you for a moment?
Sorry to interrupt, but…..
Sorry to butt in. I just wanted to…..
May I just add something here?
(Please) forgive the interruption, but…..
If you want to stop someone from interrupting you, you could say:
(Actually), if you could just let me finish…
Just let me finish if you wouldn’t mind…
If I could just finish my point….
Just a minute/second. I’m nearly finished…
Just one more/last thing…
Thanks for your patience – just to end…
You can also tell people that you intend to say more than one thing:
I’d like to make three points here. Firstly………..Secondly…….and finally…….
There are two things I’d like to say about this…………..
(Actually), I have a couple of points to make….
My first point is……
Before I turn to……….first I’d (just) like to talk about……
Before looking at……(and)………I’d like to focus on…….
I’ll get to……(and)………in a minute, but first (of all)…….
After dealing with……(and)..….I’d like to talk about…….
Taking notes during a meeting can really help you focus on important points. This really helps when the meeting goes off track or people make jokes. Write down important points and ideas during the meeting and ignore the other stuff. Don’t write full sentences only the main ideas and important words and facts.
Practice makes perfect!
Prepare what you want to say in advance and make notes.
Record yourself on your phone and practise saying it.
Use intonation, pauses and stress to highlight important keywords/ideas.
Use a mirror and/or practise with a friend or family member.
Write down and learn phrases you can use to introduce your main points
Try to anticipate answers to possible questions people could ask you
Focus on fluency and content over accuracy. Don’t sweat the grammar!
Be aware of your body language and eye contact (smile when you meet people, nod if you understand and frown if you don’t understand)
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English.
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On next week’s episode: Spanish idioms that don’t translate literally to English
The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’
Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash
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