Olivera Matović

Key English Phrases for Successful Meetings – Main Takeaways

To help you improve your Business English vocabulary, I hosted my first webinar, “Key English Phrases for Successful Meetings”. It took place on 21st February 2019, and then again on 20th March 2020. The topics that we discussed were:

  • Why it is important to know Business English in order to have a successful meeting with foreign partners or clients
  • What you should, and shouldn’t do during a business meeting
  • Which English phrases you might hear during a business meeting, what they mean, and how you can use them

For those of you who weren’t able to attend the Webinar, we have prepared the main takeaways – so let’s get down to it!

The Basic DOs and DON’Ts of Successful Meetings

business meeting dos and donts


  • Only have a meeting when it is needed. If you can handle it with a simple e-mail, it is not necessary.
  • Write down the objectives of the meeting and stick to the agenda.
  • Share the meeting purpose objectives with all the attendees. This will keep it on track.
  • Schedule a few days in advance if possible, and tell all the participants to come prepared. Make sure you are prepared as well.
  • Start and end the meeting on time.
  • Send out an email summary if you covered many different topics.


  • Invite anyone who doesn’t need to be there. Not only will you drag them away from what they should be doing, but this will also prolong the meeting unnecessarily.
  • Make the meeting longer than one hour. If that is not possible, consider scheduling a second meeting instead of having a very long one.
  • End the meeting without stating clearly what happens next. Make sure to mention who should do what, and when it should be done.
  • Let your meetings overlap. In other words, spend your time wisely and start the second meeting where the first one left off. No need to review if everything was summed up at the end of the first one.
  • Be impolite or rude. This should go without saying.

Useful Idioms for Meetings

business english phrases

Call a meeting to order

– To start a meeting

Example: “Our manager called the meeting to order after everyone arrived.”

Adjourn a meeting

– To end a meeting

Example: “We agreed to adjourn the meeting.”

Call on (someone) to speak

– To ask someone to speak, or to give someone permission to speak at a meeting

Example: “The supervisor called on me to speak about our project.”

Circulate the agenda

– To distribute a list or other information about what will be discussed in a meeting

Example: “We circulated the agenda and then we started our discussion.”

Follow-up meeting

– A meeting where you discuss previous business

Example: “We will have a follow-up meeting tomorrow to discuss the new project.”

Make a motion

– To make a suggestion or proposal at a meeting

Example: “The manager made a motion to finish the meeting early.”

Defeat a motion

– To defeat an idea or proposal in a meeting

Example: “We easily defeated the motion to increase the salaries.”

Second a motion

– To formally agree with a proposal in a meeting

Example: “I seconded the motion to work one hour less during the slow Summer days.”

Take minutes

– To write down the details of a meeting

Example: “I usually take minutes at team meetings.”

Table a discussion

– To postpone a discussion until a later time

Example: “We tabled the discussion about the holidays and days off until the next meeting.”


Want to listen to the entire webinar? Check the video below and make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for future webinar and interview recordings.