News For Planners

Useful phrases for facilitating a business meeting

Tuesday, 7/26/2011  8:36:17 AM

Running a face to face meeting isn't always an easy task. In order to effectively manage a meeting, you'll need to have a clearly defined agenda to help you stay on track. But even more than that, you'll need the ability to stick to your agenda. That means deflecting unrelated topics of discussion and helping derailed dialog get back on track.

Here are a few phrases you can use to help keep your meeting brief and to the point so that your participants can get back to their busy work days:

1. Getting started. Once your participants have arrived, make the meeting official with an opening statement. Say something like "Good morning/afternoon. Now that we're all here, let's get started."

This will signal that the meeting is about to being and cue those who are engaged in outside conversation to focus on the topic at hand.

After you've called everyone to attention, be direct about the reason the meeting has been called. Say "I've called this meeting because…" and explain what it is you expect to achieve.

2. Introductions. If you have a speaker, a new employee or a coworker that everyone present isn't familiar with, it's a good idea to give him a formal introduction. You could say "It's a pleasure to introduce…" or "Please join me in welcoming … to the meeting," and then explain who the newcomer is and why they're present.

If a coworker is conspicuously absent from the meeting, it might be a good idea to address this situation as well. Try saying "I'm sorry…can't be with us today, but she's be called away due to…." That way, no one will waste their time or attention wondering why they've been called to a meeting but so-and-so has not.

3. Going over the agenda. "Have you all received a copy of the agenda?" is a good way to start. Once this is confirmed, make the point of addressing each agenda item, and then telling employees you'd like to take them in order (or, if for some reason you'll be moving out of order, take a moment to explain this first). This way, everyone will be on the same page as you move through the course of topics.

4. Finishing the meeting. Before letting everyone go, summarize the proceedings by saying "I'd like to go over what we've achieved here…."

When the meeting is officially over, adjourn formally by saying "Thank you all for attending, the meeting is over."

For more articles and tips on meetings and planning, please visit

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