7 Tips for Business Meetings in English

Here is the full transcript:

Hi I’m Paul Urwin from businessenglishcommunity.com and in this short video I’m going to give you seven tips for attending meetings in English. Let’s jump right in.

Okay, tip number one is to engage in some small talk, some chitchat at the beginning of the meeting. This helps to relax everyone involved in the meeting. Just a little quick chat with someone about the weather, or about the football match, or something like that. However, what is also really important is to not overdo it. Depending on the culture in which you are operating, different amounts or different times of small talk are acceptable. In some cultures it’s really down to business straight away, in others it’s perfectly normal to have a chat for 10 or 15 minutes, or in some cases, even longer before getting started. So make sure you understand the culture, and make sure you engage in appropriate amount of small talk. That’s tip number one.

Tip number two, prepare your questions and comments beforehand. Of course, you might not know exactly how the meeting is going to pan out, but you probably do have a very good idea of the types of questions you might like to ask, or the sorts of comments that you might wish to make. If that’s the case, you can prepare these in advance by writing them out in a word document, and then practice them by reading them aloud. Practice them with a native speaker if you can, and make sure you perfect them before you go into the meeting. That will make sure you are much more confident when you actually start the meeting. And although you won’t have everything covered, it will go a long way to making you have a more successful time in that meeting. That’s number two, prepare questions and comments beforehand.

Number three, get a good position in the meeting. Often in a meeting you do have a choice of where you sit, and this might sound like a strange tip, but I’ve seen many non-native speakers over the years who prefer to sit further away to hide away from the action. Well what’s the problem with that kind of strategy? It becomes more difficult for them to understand what is going on in the meeting, and more difficult for them to contribute. So get yourself a good position in the meeting, a good position at the table where you are central, where you can hear everyone clearly, and where you can respond, and others are going to be able to hear you more clearly. So that’s number three, get a good position in the meeting.

Number four, ask questions to involve others. Questions are a great way of communicating, because as soon as we ask a question we are expecting an answer, aren’t we? So it’s a good idea to have some questions ready and ask those questions in the meeting to keep the conversation flowing. That’s number four, ask question to involve others.

Number five, try and explain things using simple terms. Don’t over complicate things. Don’t think that using complicated or flowery language is going to make you sound better. Quite the opposite. Focus on explaining things in simple terms. That’s number five.

Number six, do not be afraid to ask someone to repeat something. Often non-native speakers are embarrassed to ask someone to repeat something. Don’t be. Ask someone to repeat if you don’t understand. “Could you say that again please? Could you say that again please? Could you repeat that please? Could you repeat that please?” No one is going to think less of you if you ask that simple question, and it’s going to make it much easier for you to contribute positively to the meeting. That’s number six, do not be afraid to ask someone to repeat something.

And finally number seven, take notes. I think it’s really important to take notes in the meeting so you can check back on them later. You can note down any words that you didn’t understand, and perhaps ask a trusted colleague afterwards. So take notes that will help you to improve for the future.

So there are my seven tips. Let me give you a quick run through. Number one, engage in some small talk. Number two, prepare questions and comments beforehand. Number three, get a good position in the meeting. Number four, ask questions to involve others. Number five, try and explain things using simple terms. Number six, do not be afraid to ask someone to repeat something. And number seven, take notes. Thanks very much for watching. I’m Paul Urwin from businessenglishcommunity.com. If you enjoyed the video, please subscribe. We’ve got some more great videos on the way, and I’d really appreciate it if you could give me a big thumbs up in the likes below. Thank you. All the best.

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