One of the most useful topics to teach students in business English is business meeting vocabulary and phrases. Sooner or later (if not already) most of the students will have to attend a meeting conducted in English.

Along with speaking on the telephone, going to a meeting where English is spoken is one of situations which most students dread. So it's important in class that they are both exposed to and use the vocabulary used in them.

One of the advantages of teaching this topic is that most of the student will already have both experienced meetings and know some of the vocabulary which you are going to teach them (making your life easier).

Topics to teach:

Topic Levels

  • Elem: Elementary
  • Low-Int: Lower-Intermediate
  • Int: Intermediate
  • Upp-Int: Upper-Intermediate
  • Adv: Advanced

One of the good things about teaching meeting vocabulary, is that many of the phrases can be used in numerous other situations as well (e.g. agreeing and disagreeing phrases).

Although you can teach most of the below topics to any group of business students, I would only teach the starting and finishing a meeting topics to those who have to run meetings.

I would always start by teaching them (or reviewing) Basic Meeting Vocabulary. After that, the order of which you teach the other topics is upto you.

I personally wouldn't teach meeting vocabulary to students below lower/pre-intermediate level.

Teaching the vocabulary

As the majority of the students will have attended meetings before, they will know the vocabulary in their own language. For me, the best way to teach this type of vocabulary is to use specially written texts. Use text exercises where they have to work out the meaning of vocabulary themselves from the context (better for understanding and remembering).

Practising the vocabulary

Apart from Basic Meeting Vocabulary, I would recommend that for all the others topics stated above that you get the students to practise the vocabulary through doing group role play exercises. Give your students details of what the meeting is about, what they have to do and what roles they have.

You can use a normal business meeting situation if you want, but I find it works better if you give them a silly situation (e.g. a meeting of politicians or football players etc...). Also give the students extreme roles. They get more into the roles they play then and use the vocabulary more.

With Basic Meeting Vocabulary, use photos of a meeting (either from images on the Google search engine or by bringing in photos) and get the students to both name and describe what they see.