In the business world, meetings are fairly common. Whether it’s face to face, through a VoIP such as Skype or Zoom, or conference call, meetings are happening every day. But, some of your students may not feel comfortable attending, participating, or leading them. That’s why they come to us.
What follows is a lesson idea for how to teach meetings to business English students. It includes vocabulary, expression, grammar, dialogue, practice, and conversation. We’ll take each point one by one. Then we’ll connect them into a communicative lesson your students can use to facilitate practical English acquisition. So, let’s get started!
The following elements can be incorporated into a business English lesson focusing on meetings.
Familiarize learners with the following vocabulary items.
Agenda, get started, move forward, pressing issues.
Move on to, regular updates.
Handle, in summary, priority, thumbs up, to recap, wrap up.
You can use the following expressions.
Starting a Meeting
Hello everyone! Thank you all for coming. Let’s go ahead and get started. Can everyone hear me? On our agenda today is ______. If there are no pressing issues, let’s move forward.
Conducting a Meeting
- First on our list is _____.
- Next, let’s talk briefly about ______.
- Let’s move on to our final point _____.
Concluding a Meeting
I think that’s everything for now. Am I missing anything? Does anyone have any questions? If there’s nothing else, that concludes our meeting. Thank you all for coming. Have a great day!
Here, you can provide a practical grammar point. In our lesson on meetings, sequencing words would work nicely:
First/Firstly …Second/Next/After that …Lastly/Finally …
Starting a Meeting
A: Hello everyone! Thank you all for coming let’s go ahead and get started. Can everyone hear me?
B: Yes …
A: On our agenda, today is the X-cite merger, then we’ll talk about our latest marketing strategy. And finally, our new office space. So, if there’re no pressing issues, let’s move forward.
B: Nothing here …
Conducting a Meeting
A: First on our list is the merger. Jane, how are we doing with that?
B: So far so good. We’ve received positive feedback from the transition team.
A: Excellent, so, can I ask you to provide regular updates for the management team?
B: Sure thing.
A: Next, let’s talk briefly about our marketing strategy. Mike, can you give us an update on that?
B: Yes … We’ve decided to limit our marketing campaign to targeting the over-55s. So, that means we’ll be revising our slogan to something more age-appropriate. That means we’ll need a few more days to finalize it.
A: Excellent. Thanks, Mike. Now, let’s move on to our final point today, the new office space. I believe Joan has more information about that.
B: Correct. Well, we ran into a little bit of a snag with a contract on the new space that will translate to a probable two-week delay before we can begin the move. Other than that, everything is a go.
A: All right, thank you, Joan.
Closing a Meeting
A: So, I think that’s everything for now. Am I missing anything? Does anyone have any questions?
B: No, nothing at this time …
A: Okay. So, to recap: The merger team gives a thumbs up for the upcoming merger with X-cite. Our marketing campaign will be redirected to an older target market. And, our move to the new office has been delayed for at least two weeks. If there’s nothing else, that concludes our meeting. Thank you all for coming and have a great day!
This will be based on the previous dialogues. But, to create reality, have participants use their own ideas for both A and B.
Ask questions such as:
- How much time do you spend in meetings each week?
- What is the meeting culture like in your company?
- What do you do in a meeting if you can’t get people’s attention right away?
- Tell me about the last proposal you made in a meeting? How was it received?
- What was the last proposal you heard in a meeting that you thought was pretty good?
- Can you tell me about the last proposal you heard in a meeting that you thought wasn’t so good?
- How do you ensure that you end meetings on time?
- Why is it necessary to recap the points of a meeting
Now that we have the elements, let’s put them all together into a communicative English language lesson.
1. Begin with Conversation Questions
Use the questions to break the ice and get learners warmed up to the topic.
2. Introduce a General Scenario
Mention a meeting that covers the three points in the dialogue. Then, ask learners a probing question like, how long should this meeting be? Which element is perhaps the most pressing?
3. Introduce Vocabulary, Expression, and Grammar
Present the expressions for learners to review. Answer any questions that may come up.
4. Practice with a Dialogue
Use the dialogue to tie the vocabulary, expressions, and grammar together in a practical way.
5. Practice without a Dialogue — Make It Real
Now, it’s time to take what’s been learned and conduct a meeting with as much realism as can be offered. You can keep the dialogue available for students to see. They can return to it if they aren’t sure what to say. But the key elements of the meeting should reflect their own particular situations.
6. Wrap Up
Ending the lesson with a brief review of the material and the activities. Then transition into feedback.
Here is where you go over any pronunciation, grammar, or word choice issues that were either obvious or repeated. Remember, in a group lesson, try to keep these points anonymous. You don’t want to embarrass anyone.
8. Assignments (Optional)
For an extension activity, you can ask class members to integrate the language into their next meeting. Then, ask them to share their experiences next lesson.
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Today, we’ve presented a communicative lesson for business English learners. We’ve provided the elements and described how it can flow. The rest is up to you. Let us know how it goes in the comments below.