Introduction:

Love them or hate them, meetings are an important part of the business world. And it is increasingly common to have business meetings with colleagues or clients from other countries, where the meeting is in English.

In this online exercise on meetings, we will look at the essential vocabulary for business meetings in English. The names of the objects used in meetings, the names of the different parts, the names of the different roles of people, and some other useful vocabulary.


Exercise: A meeting overview

Read the below introduction in a business meeting, where people who have come to the meeting are welcomed and then explained what will happen.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Chair:'Welcome to the latest meeting for the Samuel Project. I appreciate that you're all busy and thanks for attending. My name is David Mitchell and I will be the Chair for today's meeting. Steve Crowther will be taking the minutes.

You'll find a copy of the meeting agenda in front of you on the table. As you can see, there are 7 items which we are going to discuss today. I updated the agenda this morning, so it should be fine. But if you have any other issues which you would like to talk about, please do it in the any other business part of the meeting at the end.

There are two absentees from today's meeting, Peter Jackson can't attend today due to a prior commitment. He sends his apologies. Also Sarah Campbell can't make it, she's on holiday. So, John Hopkins is standing in for Sarah today. Does anybody have any questions?'

Attendee:'Yes, I do. How long will the meeting last?'

Chair:'About two hours. Any more question? No? Well, I think that's all, so let's start.'


Recommended Books For Meetings

To improve your vocabulary and performance in meetings, we recommend the following books:

  1. Meetings in English.
  2. Meetings in English Pack.
  3. Successful Meetings: How to Plan, Prepare and Execute Business Meetings.
  4. Meeting and Event Planning For Dummies.

 Link to Dictionary


Quiz: Essential business English meeting vocabulary

Below is definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now fill in the blanks with one of these words/phrases in bold. Only use one word/phrase once and write it as it is in the text. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. The name of the person who runs/is in charge of a meeting, is    

         

Chair:
(noun) The 'Chair' is short for 'Chairman'. This is title of the person that leads a meeting. This title is only shortened in the context of the person leading a meeting. In Spanish: Presidente.

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Chair:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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2. The record of what was said in a meeting, is called the    

         

Minutes:
(noun) This is a report of what was discussed and agreed/disagreed in a meeting. It is done after the meeting has finished. In Spanish: "acta".

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Minutes:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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3. When something is the latest version, it is    

         

Updated:
(adjective) Both 'latest' and 'updated' are commonly used and basically have the same meaning. From the verb 'to update'. In Spanish: "actualizada".

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Updated:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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4. A formal way to say that you have plans that can't be changed, is I have a    

         

Prior commitment:
(expression) This is used as a form of excuse/reason why a person can't do or attend something. It is commonly used. Normally, this expression is used with the verb 'to have'. In Spanish: "compromiso previo".

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Prior commitment:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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5. New subjects which you want to discuss are asked in the part of the meeting called    

         

Any other business:
(noun) Normally, this is used to discuss subjects which aren't on the agenda. This part always takes place near the end of the meeting. In Spanish: "ruegos y preguntas".

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Any other business:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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6. The document that shows what will be discussed in the meeting, is the called the    

         

Agenda:
(noun) The plan for the meeting and is always produced before the meeting. In Spanish: "orden del dia".

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Agenda:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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7. A formal way to say that you are at an event or meeting is, to be    

         

Attending:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to attend', similar to "to be at". It is used with events or meetings, e.g. 'I attended the Project Review' or 'I will attend the party'. In Spanish: "asistir a".

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Attending:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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8. A formal way to call the people who can't attend a meeting for any reason, is    

         

Absentees:
(noun) This noun comes from "to be absent" (to not be in an event or place). It is always used in meetings. In Spanish: "ausente".

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Absentees:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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9. When someone goes instead of another person to a meeting, they are    

         

Standing in:
(phrasal verb) This is used when someone takes the place and responsibility in a meeting or event for a person that has been invited. It is intransitive (it doesn't have an object) and it is normally followed by "for" + person, e.g. 'He stood in for Richard at the conference'. In Spanish: "sustituir".

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Standing in:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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10. The different topics, subjects or issues on the agenda, are called    

         

Items:
(noun) In meetings, the different subjects/issues that will be discussed there are called 'items'. Normally, there are 5 or 6 different items on a meeting agenda. In Spanish: asunto.

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Items:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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Practice

Now that you understand the new business meeting vocabulary, practice them by creating your own sentences in English with the new words/phrases.