120 Useful English phrases for business meetings

Natasa Milojevic

Last updated on: January 20, 2022

Not every meeting could have become an email. You tried to look the other way when you spotted a new event in your virtual calendar, hoping it would magically transform into text, but it’s still there. There’s nothing else to do but heave a sigh, roll your eyes, and put on your best smile along with headphones. 

Does it really have to be like this?

Luckily, there’s no need for hard feelings when a business meeting alert pops up on your screen. We’ve got your back, whether you are holding a meeting or you’re just under the spotlight of your webcam. Take a seat and rest easy because we’ve prepared 120 phrases you can use in your next business meeting, even when the notice takes you by surprise. 

120 Useful English phrases for business meetings - Cover

Phrases to use if you are holding a meeting

You’ve scheduled a call, invited your team members, and now you have just enough time to sit on pins and needles while waiting for the meeting to start. 

Maybe you plan to let your team know about an upcoming change, and you already know that the meeting might go downhill. Sometimes, the call is all about sharing updates, but there’s so much to say that it becomes impossible to get your mind around all the details you need to share. 

If you tremble to think where to go from now, we are here to throw you a lifeline. From opening a meeting to waving your teammates goodbye, we’ve listed all there is to say in a business meeting. 

What to say when opening a meeting

First things first — starting a meeting. It does seem obvious that you will need to open the meeting before getting to the point of your gathering. However, sometimes, even things as plain as day can slip your mind in a meeting, especially when you have to hold your nerves. 

Let’s go over all the phrases that can come in handy in the first couple of minutes of your call — from welcoming and introducing the participants to sharing the agenda and goals of your meeting.

👋 Phrases for welcoming and introducing meeting participants

Making the participants feel welcome doesn’t go without saying. This is especially the case if you are meeting everyone for the first time. 

Regardless of the purpose of your business meeting, here are some phrases you should have in mind when gathering your team.

🔶 Phrases for welcoming the participants

  • Thank you all for coming.
  • I appreciate everyone being here.
  • First, I’d like to welcome you all.
  • I would like to thank you for being here on time.
  • I wish to thank you all for coming on such short notice.

Sometimes, the attendees might not have had a chance to come across each other before the meeting. Perhaps they have just joined the company and have now logged in to their virtual onboarding session. Let’s see how you break the ice before turning to the topic of the meeting.

🔶 Phrases for introducing the participants

  • Could everyone briefly introduce themselves?
  • I would like to introduce…
  • I would like to begin by introducing…
  • It’s my pleasure to introduce…
  • Let’s take a moment and introduce ourselves.
  • Please join me in welcoming…

🎯 Phrases for sharing the objectives of a meeting

After a warm welcome, your team will probably want to know why they are being urged to plug in their webcam or leave their cozy office chairs to sit around the conference table — perhaps even for hours.

Even if you have scheduled the call weeks before or it’s a regular weekly updates meeting, it’s still necessary for your motives not to remain ulterior. 

When people are familiar with the main goals even before a meeting starts, it helps prevent meeting amnesia from taking over. Without a clue on what is the point of an event, people might brush aside everything that was said as soon as the meeting ends. 

Let’s take a look at some useful phrases to help you ensure everyone stays on the same page.

🔶 Phrases for presenting the meeting goals

  • Our aim today is to…
  • We are here today to decide on/agree on, etc.
  • By the end of today’s meeting, we need to… 
  • I’ve scheduled this meeting so that we…
  • The purpose of today’s meeting is…
  • Today, we are going to…

📄 Phrases for introducing the meeting agenda

When all the topics are laid out in the open, fewer team members will check their watches impatiently, waiting for the meeting to finish. People usually perceive business meetings as incredible time-wasters — so apart from scheduling them sparingly, always make sure to point out the topics and the dynamics of the encounter. 

To prevent your teammates from running out of patience, we’ve compiled a list of practical phrases you can use to spread the word about the main points of your business meeting.

🔶 Phrases for sharing the agenda of the meeting

  • First, we will be discussing…
  • After that, we will move on to…
  • Then, we’ll try to cover…
  • Shortly after, we’ll go over…
  • Next, we will consider…
  • If there’s enough time, we will also go through…
  • Finally, we will talk about…

What to say during a meeting

You’ve just finished welcoming everyone, you’ve made the goals of the meeting public, and now you’re done. All is well, you’ve got everyone’s attention, and the mic is yours. 

All of a sudden, people start breaking in and talking over each other. Some of them have, perhaps, even turned their cameras off or started scrolling through their phones. 

Although it might seem like your attendees’ attention is all done and dusted, there are still ways to manage this situation. Let’s examine the phrases that can help you remain in control during a meeting — from expressions for discussing updates, moving on, keeping the discussion on track, to phrases for handing the word over to other meeting participants.

📰 Phrases for discussing updates

Sometimes, you schedule a meeting so that everyone can be timely updated on recent developments. Other times, the meeting’s purpose is nothing but celebrating progress. 

Even when the goal of your meeting goes beyond pointing out the company’s news, it’s still necessary to touch upon the current situation in your company. 

The following phrases can help you out in remaining as brief as possible.

🔶 Phrases for sharing updates in a meeting

  • I would like to inform everyone about the project’s progress.
  • How is the project coming along?
  • Has everyone submitted their monthly reports?
  • Josh, can you let us know what’s new in…?
  • Regarding last month’s reports, I would like to add…
  • I suggest we start with Mike updating us on…

⏭️ Phrases for moving forward

Perhaps you’ve touched on a topic that takes forever and a day to unfold, and there’s not enough time to discuss it in detail. Sometimes, your team members might need a hint that it’s time to move on and let the previous topic be. Whatever the reason, whenever you want to suggest that you’ve closed the book on the already discussed, here are some handy phrases you can use.

🔶 Phrases for moving to another topic

  • If nobody has anything else to share, let’s move on to…
  • I think that covers it. Now we can go to our next topic.
  • Let’s move on to our next point.
  • Since we’ve covered this issue, now we can go to the next one.
  • The next topic we need to cover is…
  • Now that we’ve found a solution/finished discussing this topic, we can go to…

👉 Phrases for keeping a discussion on track

Meetings may start off with small talk. Sometimes a team member shares a video of their pet’s newest trick, and the rest of the colleagues join in the conversation cheerfully. Although there’s no harm in sharing an anecdote or two at the onset of a meeting, when this happens in the middle of a critical discussion, there might not be enough hours in a day for this conversation to reach the end. 

Try using some of the following phrases to prevent the babble from going on from here to eternity.

🔶 Phrases for keeping the discussion on track

  • Can we continue this discussion later and go back to…?
  • We are getting out of topic. Can we return to…?
  • Can we go back to our subject, please?
  • I’m afraid we are running out of time, so could we go back to…?
  • Getting back to the topic…
  • Let’s skip this topic and take it up at another time.
  • We can continue talking about this later. Now, let’s go back to our previous subject.

In case your team is still eager to talk, you can always refer them to continue the conversation in the #random channel of your team chat app

The #random channel in Pumble team chat app gives your team a chance to discuss casual topics outside of business meetings
The #random channel in Pumble team chat app gives your team a chance to discuss casual topics outside of business meetings

💡If you need a helping hand in preventing the unnecessary small talk from getting the best of your team’s workflow, make sure to check out our blog post: How to balance work communication and chit-chat in remote work

🎤 Phrases for handing the word over to another person

Meetings are usually more than a one-person show. Even when you are in charge of the conference flow, sometimes, it’s necessary to hand the mic over to other team members. 

For an uninterrupted meeting flow, you need to consider a proper transition when allowing another person to talk so that you can hold your listeners’ attention. This is when the following phrases can be of use.  

🔶 Phrases for asking someone to speak in a meeting

  • Now, Carl will tell us more about…
  • I would like to hand it over to Mike, who can share more on this topic.
  • Kim is now going to take over.
  • I’d like to hand you over to Joshua who will talk you through…
  • Now I would like to introduce Sim who is going to talk about…

What to say when finishing up a meeting

Everything that needs to be said is already laid out, and you are sure your meeting has served its purpose.  

However, before you hastily reach for the End the call button or leap to your feet, eager to leave the conference room, there are still a couple of things to be done. Let’s go over all you need to cover before you bid the participants farewell — from summarizing and closing the meeting to thanking everyone for their time.

🌯 Phrases for summarizing

Although pretty potent, the human ability to memorize all the details doesn’t depend on our willingness only. Paul Reber, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, claims that our minds simply cannot remember all the details from the events we experience because the information we deal with comes at such a speed that our memory systems cannot keep pace with it.

Therefore, instead of relying on people’s ability to take mental notes of your speech, it’s always better to sum everything up, especially when discussing critical topics. 

Here are some phrases to help you ensure everyone bears the crucial information in mind.

🔶 Phrases for summarizing in a meeting

  • Here are some of the main points we discussed today.
  • To sum up, we’ve talked about…
  • I would like to briefly cover the topics we mentioned today.
  • Before we finish, let’s go over everything we talked about today.
  • Let’s quickly summarize the main points of today’s meeting. 

🫂 Phrases for closing a meeting

After reviewing the main points of your meeting before everyone goes their separate ways, don’t forget to close the meeting before closing the browser window. If out of ideas what to say before adjourning the meeting, here are some suggestions. 

🔶 Phrases for ending a meeting

  • To conclude, we have decided on…
  • That just about covers everything for today.
  • We have covered everything from our agenda.
  • We will have to finish here, but our next meeting will be scheduled for…
  • If there’s nothing more to discuss, we can end here.

🙏Phrases for thanking everyone for attending

Sometimes, some of the participants postpone their lunch breaks to attend a meeting. Most frequently, everyone is timely informed ahead and can plan their workdays accordingly. However, whichever the case, ending the meeting without showing appreciation for your team members’ attendance is both impolite and disrespectful of their time. To avoid coming across as unappreciative, let’s go over some phrases you can use to wrap up a meeting on a positive note. 

🔶 Phrases for showing appreciation in a meeting

  • I would like to thank everyone for coming today.
  • Thank you all for your time.
  • Thank you for your participation in today’s meeting.
  • I want to thank everybody for a productive meeting.
  • I would like to thank you all for sharing your time today.

What to say if you are attending a meeting

Sometimes, you are not the one in the driving seat, and it looks like all you need to do is to show up and sit up at a meeting. Although this position allows you to breathe easy, attending a meeting is more than just being present and nodding your head.

Chances are, you are invited to attend a meeting for a reason. Most of the time, you will need to voice your opinion or help your team members reach a decision. 

However, you don’t have to wear yourself to a shadow in preparation for attending a meeting. Just make sure to go through all the phrases we’ve put together, and you’ll come prepared to conquer whatever comes your way.  

Phrases for sharing your perspective in a meeting

It’s not unusual to want to keep your lips sealed in fear of bombarding your coworkers with useless information. Information overload is widespread in a remote work setting, and it can pose a threat to the entire organization’s performance. 

Perhaps you think that it’s better to be safe than sorry when sharing your opinion in a meeting. When this happens, you put at risk both the transparency of your team’s communication and your own career growth

To prevent the fear of speaking out from getting in the way of anyone’s progress, we’ve gathered all the necessary phrases you could use to express your thoughts in meetings. Whether you need to share your opinion, agree or disagree, offer advice or provide clarification, we’ve got you covered. 

🗣️ Phrases for sharing your opinion

Whether you are the only expert on the discussed topic or you would like to share your ideas before a decision is made, it’s only proper to tread your words before speaking your mind. 

We’ve compiled a list of useful phrases to help you capture everyone’s attention in a meeting. Just don’t forget to wait for the right moment to avoid interrupting the speaker — and you’re good to go. 

🔶 Phrases for sharing your opinion in a meeting

  • I think we should try…
  • From my point of view, that’s…
  • I think that this is a great idea.
  • There is no doubt this project will come through.
  • I am positive that this is the right path to take.
  • The way I see things…

✅ Phrases for agreeing

Whenever a suggestion comes up in the #general channel of your team chat app, showing your agreement doesn’t take a lot of your time. If you use an emoji reaction such as (🙌), (🤝), or (✅), your teammates will quickly conclude that you approve of their idea. 

In a business meeting, however, saying yes to a suggestion requires you to put your opinion into words. Here are some expressions you can put to use whenever you wish to support your team.

🔶 Phrases for agreeing in a meeting

  • I completely agree with that.
  • I support your view.
  • I am with you on this!
  • That is how I see it too.
  • Great point!
  • I have to agree with Mike.

❌ Phrases for disagreeing

Expressing different opinions in a business meeting does not have to turn into a running battle. The fear of disagreement coming out wrong usually leads people to avoid these conversations altogether. However, phrasing your doubts in a more positive way can bring forward a healthy discussion and promote better problem-solving. 

Don’t let the scare stop you from helping your team reach the right decision. Think of using the following phrases instead. 

🔶 Phrases for disagreeing in a meeting

  • That’s a great point, but maybe we should consider all the options.
  • Great job for noticing that, but have you considered…?
  • I see where your idea is coming from, but maybe we should change the direction a little bit.
  • I see where you’re coming from, but… 
  • I’m sorry but I have to disagree on this because…
  • While I agree with you on…have you considered…?

✋ Phrases for advising and suggesting

Whether the meeting you are attending is mainly focused on solving a problem or the team gathering is a perfect chance for you to propose a new idea, suggesting in a room full of people can put the frighteners on everyone. 

Regardless of whether you are making a suggestion in a group call or presenting an idea by sitting opposite your coworkers, try devising your speech before the meeting. The following phrases can put your mind at ease when presenting in a meeting.

🔶 Phrases for suggesting in a meeting

  • I think we should try…
  • Why don’t we…?
  • Perhaps we could…?
  • What do you think of…?
  • We should…
  • How about we…?
  • Couldn’t we try to…?
  • I suggest that…?

🔍 Phrases for clarifying

Along with suggesting goes solving dilemmas. Sometimes, your team members would wholeheartedly agree with your ideas, but they need more details on your suggestions. This is when you need to elaborate to ensure your propositions come through. 

Here’s how you can rephrase and sum up your ideas so that everyone gets a clear picture. 

🔶 Phrases for giving clarification in a meeting

  • Let me put this another way.
  • Here’s what I had in mind.
  • What I’m saying is that…
  • My idea was…
  • Just to clarify…
  • In a nutshell, what I’m saying is…

What to say if you’re asking questions in a meeting

Sometimes our coworkers feel nervous when presenting ideas in a meeting. When this happens, it’s entirely natural for their thoughts to come out as a bit confusing and incoherent. This is when a nudge in the right direction comes in handy, and it takes the form of asking the right questions

Apart from showing interest in their ideas, when you ask for more details on a topic you demonstrate a willingness to learn, grow and collaborate with your team members.

Sometimes, you need to ask for repetition or clarification. Other times you might wish to hear your team members’ opinions or you have to ask them to provide you with specific information. Whichever the situation that opens a window on question asking during a meeting, we are here to back you up with plenty of useful phrases.

❓👂Phrases for asking for repetition

You might have had a lot on your mind, so while your coworker was presenting, you were miles away. In this situation, it’s always better to ask for repetition than take a shot in the dark trying to settle on their words. 

Whenever you are in two minds about something that was mentioned in a meeting, here’s how you can ask your team to circle back to a topic.

🔶 Phrases for asking for repetition in a meeting

  • I’m sorry, could you repeat that please?
  • Can you run that by me one more time, please?
  • I’m afraid I didn’t quite understand that. Could you say it one more time, please?
  • I missed that. Could you say it again, please?
  • Can you repeat what you just said?
  • I’m sorry, would you mind repeating that again?

❓🔎 Phrases for asking for clarification

Whether you were not paying enough attention or your team member’s nerves got the best of their words, it’s never a bad idea to ask for more information on a topic whenever confusion is on the horizon. 

You can’t be too careful when an important decision is at stake, so a bit of clarification won’t do any harm. Let’s go over some useful phrases to help you understand the direction of any discussion in a meeting. 

🔶 Phrases for asking for clarification in a meeting

  • Sorry, I’m not sure what you were aiming at. Could you explain it a bit?
  • Could you go into a little more detail?
  • Could you please tell me what you mean by…?
  • Let me check if I understood you correctly. Did you say that…?
  • Could you be a little bit more precise, please?
  • Can you expand on that?

❓🗣️Phrases for asking for opinions

Not everyone enjoys speaking in front of a large crowd, and this trait usually leads people to try to remain silent as long as possible when attending a meeting. Sometimes, however, it’s necessary to hear everybody out, especially when discussing a vital issue relevant to several departments. This is when the following phrases can be of use.

🔶 Phrases for asking for opinion in a meeting

  • Mike, would you mind giving us your opinion on this?
  • How do you feel about this, Susie?
  • What is your opinion on this subject?
  • What are your views on…?
  • Esther, can we get your input?
  • Maggie, can we hear what you have to say about this?

❓ℹ️ Phrases for requesting information

Maybe your coworker is missing in action whenever you reach out to them looking for an important report. Seeing them in a meeting could be a perfect opportunity to request the necessary data and remind them to pin their report to a channel in the team chat app so that nobody has to go above and beyond looking for it anymore. 

Everyone from your team can pin important messages in Pumble
Everyone from your team can pin important messages in Pumble

If the fear of giving the impression of being too demanding stops you from requesting crucial information, try using the following phrases.

🔶 Phrases for asking for information in a meeting

  • Would you mind giving us more detail on…?
  • Could you….please?
  • Can you share….please?
  • Sam, I wonder if you could send us…?
  • If possible, could you please share more details on…?
  • When you get a chance, could you share…?

Wrapping up: Keep your headphones close and the useful phrases closer

When an unexpected meeting comes out of the blue in the middle of the workweek, it’s quite tempting to search for ways to get out of talking. Maybe you had in mind to unplug your headphones or direct your eyes towards the floor so that your team members might forget you’re there. 

However simple it may seem to hide your presence, keeping a list of useful phrases for business meetings at your fingertips could do you a bigger favor than laying low. 

Just give yourself a bit of time to practice and prepare, and you’ll definitely make a grand performance.

Author: NatasaMilojevic

Natasa Milojevic is a writer and researcher dedicated to exploring the depths of human communication and collaboration. You can usually find her engrossed in her research on the quickest and most reliable ways of transmitting ideas in a remote work environment. Leaving no stone unturned until she discovers the most valuable advice for fostering efficient teamwork collaboration, Natasa spends most of her days behind the keyboard.

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