Phrases for starting a meeting in English

When people get together for meetings, it's rare that they actually get straight to the point of the meeting. Usually there's a bit of introduction at the beginning of a meeting. This article is about some of the expressions that people use at the beginning of a meeting.

A very formal meeting:

Here's an example of how someone might speak in a very formal meeting, like a board meeting for a large company, or the public meeting of a government committee:

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Let's get started. I hereby call the March 30th, 2013, meeting of the PhraseMix Society to order.

Before we begin, I would like to thank you all for attending.

We have a few announcements to make before we get started. First of all, as you may have noticed, we have had a change in our agenda order. Secondly, there's an attendance log being passed around. Please make sure to sign that at some point during this morning's meeting.

The 3 items of business under consideration today are: one, the election of 3 new members of the Board; two, discussion of a proposal to establish an International English Day; and three, an update on our fundraising progress.

Let's begin with the first item. Natalia, I'll turn it over to you...

Here are some phrases used in this dialogue:

  • Ladies and gentlemen
  • Let's get started
  • call (a meeting) to order
  • Before we begin...
  • I would like to thank you for (attending/coming/being here/etc.)
  • attend (a meeting)
  • have (some/a few) announcements
  • items of business
  • first of all...
  • (something) is being passed around
  • an attendance log
  • (do something) at some point during (an event)
  • a proposal to (do something)
  • an update
  • Let's begin with (something)
  • turn it over to (someone)

A more casual meeting:

In a meeting with people who you already know, you can speak a little more casually, even if you're in a business setting. Here's an example of how someone might start a meeting at work:

All right guys, thanks for coming. Go ahead and take a seat, and let's get started.

How's everyone doing this morning? Good? All right!

There's a sheet going around. If you could sign in so that we know who was here, that would be great.

So, we have a few things to get to today. We're going to have our election, of course. After that there's a new proposal for us to discuss, about starting up an "International English Day" event. And then we'll go over fundraising.

Natalia, do you want to kick it off with the elections?

Here are some of the useful expressions:

  • All right
  • guys
  • thanks for coming
  • take a seat
  • How's everyone doing?
  • (something) is going around
  • sign in
  • Have (things) to get to
  • there's (a topic) to discuss
  • go over (a topic)
  • kick it off

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