Business meetings vocabulary and turn taking practice

Choose one of the topics below and try to talk about it as long as you can on that topic. Your partner will interrupt whenever they can, at which point you can let them speak (and then interrupt back later) or politely stop them interrupting. Please try to use different phrases for each time that you want to interrupt or deal with interrupting. After you finish, discuss how well you dealt with turn taking. 

Action minutes/ Action plans

Active listening

Bargaining/ Haggling

Being diplomatic/ tactful

Being friendly

Being persuasive

Brainstorming/ Mind maps

Breaking the ice and making people feel comfortable

Chairing a meeting

Clothing/ Appearance

Coming to agreement

Coming up with ideas

Cultural differences in business meetings

Dealing with conflict

Dealing with deadlock/ impasses

Dealing with difficult/ controversial topics

Dealing with things not on the agenda

Decision making (voting, consensus, compromise, etc)


Drawing up an agenda

Ending meetings

Following up meetings

Food and drink

Formality/ Politeness

Good minutes


Hierarchy/ Status/ Seniority

How involved everyone should be

Humour/ Jokes

Meetings in English with other non-native English speakers

Meetings in another country you both/ all know about

Meetings in cafés

Meetings in this company

Meetings in this country

Meetings with native English speakers

Number of participants/ Size of the meeting

Pausing for thought/ Silence

Pointless meetings

Regular meetings

Rejecting ideas and proposals

Roles (chair, secretary, etc)

Showing your real feelings and opinions

Small talk in meetings

Starting meetings

Taking breaks

Technology (PowerPoint, laptops, projector, laser pointer, videoconferences, VoIP, etc)


The agenda


Venues for meetings



When you should and shouldn’t contribute

Who should attend

Ask about any vocabulary above which you don’t understand or topics above which you’d like to discuss as a class.

Play the same game of speaking as long as you can, but this time roll a dice first, doing the thing that comes up for each number below:

Make sure you both speak 50% of the time

Try to speak more than your partner

Try to make your partner speak more than you

Exchange who is speaking as many times as possible (like a game of ping pong – not like taking turns to give speeches)

Make sure there is absolutely no silence

Use as many different interrupting and dealing with interrupting phrases as you can, not repeating the same phrases (small variations are also fine)

Brainstorm as many interrupting and dealing with interrupting phrases as you can.


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Related pages

Meetings page

Turn taking page

37 EFL dice games

On a roll – EFL dice games

Over 300 pages of meetings photocopiables here.