Chairing a business meeting in English

What expressions can I use to chair (lead) a business meeting in English?

It’s great that your English is superb in many contexts, but do you know the key expressions for chairing a business meeting in English?  Here are some tips from Venture English*:

Opening

Good morning/afternoon, everyone.  If we are all here, let’s get started.

Welcoming and Introducing
We’re pleased to welcome (name of participant)
It’s a pleasure to welcome (name of participant)
I’d like to introduce (name of participant)

Stating the Principal Objectives

We’re here today to …
Our main aim today is to …
I’ve called this meeting in order to …

Giving Apologies for Someone Who is Absent

I’m afraid (name of participant) can’t be with us today. She is in…
Unfortunately, (name of participant) won’t be with us today because he …

Reading the Minutes (notes) of the Last Meeting

To begin with I’d like to quickly go through the minutes of our last meeting.
First, let’s go over the report from the last meeting, which was held on (date).

Dealing with Recent Developments

Laura, can you tell us how the XYZ project is progressing?
Takeshi, how is the XYZ project coming along?

Moving Forward

So, if there is nothing else we need to discuss, let’s move on to today’s agenda.

Shall we get down to business?

Introducing the Agenda
There are X items on the agenda. First, … second, … third, … lastly, …
Shall we take the points in this order?
If you don’t mind, I’d like to go in order today.
I suggest we take item 2 last, skip item 1 and move on to item 3.
Allocating Roles

(name of participant) has (kindly) agreed to take the minutes.
(name of participant), would you mind taking the minutes?
(name of participant) will lead point 1, (name of participant) point 2, & (name of participant) point 3.

Agreeing on the Parameters of the Meeting

We’ll start with a short summary, followed by a discussion of …
I suggest we go round the table to hear ideas first.
Let’s make sure we finish by …
We’ll have to keep each item to 5 minutes.

Introducing the First Item on the Agenda

So, let’s start with …
I’d suggest we start with…
Why don’t we start with…
Kate, would you like to kick off?

Closing an Item
Shall we leave that item there?
Why don’t we move on to…
If nobody has anything else to add, let’s move on to the next item …

Next Item

Now that we’ve discussed X, let’s …
The next item on today’s agenda is …
Now we come to X.

Giving Control to the Next Participant

I’d like to hand over to (name of participant), who is going to lead the next point.
Next, (name of participant) is going to take us through …

Summarizing

Before we close today’s meeting, let me just summarize the main points.
Let me quickly go over today’s main points.
OK, why don’t we quickly summarize what we’ve done today.

Finishing Up

Right, it looks as though we’ve covered the main items.
If there are no other comments, I’d like to wrap this meeting up.
Let’s bring this to a close for today.
Is there Any Other Business?

Suggesting and Agreeing on the Next Meeting

Can we set the date for the next meeting?
How/What about meeting again next…?

Thanking Participants for Attending

I’d like to thank Gina and Simon for coming over from Glasgow.
Thank you all for attending.
Thanks for your participation.

Need more help with your business English for your professional life?  Join a small group course or take private lessons in Business English with Venture English!

*Adapted from About Education website (accessed 20.9.16): http://esl.about.com/od/businessspeakingskills/a/b_meetphrases_2.htm

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