Starting meetings and interrupting

What topics from this list are most suitable for the chit chat at the start of a meeting, do you think? What other topics of conversation are and aren’t suitable in this situation?

A recent sports match

The weather

The news

Recent celebrity gossip

A recent movie/ Going to the cinema

This week/ This weekend/ This morning/ Last night

Travelling here

How well you all know this city or area

How you’ve all been since last time you met

The last time you met

Colleagues or friends that you know

Appearance/ clothes

Holidays and travel

Days off

Chat with your partner about one of those topics, and then use a phrase from the box below to get the meeting started.

Language to get a meeting started





(You must tell me more about that later/ after the meeting/ another time)

(It’s been nice to catch up)

(It’s been great to chat)

(I’m afraid we have to be out of here by 12)

(I know you’re keen to get out of here)

(We’ve got a lot to get through)


Shall we…

Perhaps we should…

This might be a good time to…

We really should…

It about time to…

If we could…

I guess it’s time to…


…get down to business.


…get started.


…make a start.


 the point at hand

…have a look at the agenda.

(shall we?)

(if you don’t mind)



That brings me onto why we are here today, which is…

That’s connected to what I wanted to talk about today, which is…

What are the differences between the phrases in the top section and bottom one? Which are best, do you think? Why might other people prefer different ones? 

Do the same as above, but this time with two people chatting about something and a third person interrupting them and getting the meeting started.

Language to interrupt

Can I

Could I

If I might

Sorry to

Would it be okay to

Perhaps I could


interrupt (you there)

come in here

butt in

stop you (there)

(for a moment)

(before you go on)



Once you have got the meeting started, what can you then say?

Which of these things might you want to include in your introduction?

Making sure all the participants know each other

Saying how long the meeting is going to take

Saying how the meeting will be organised

Explaining when questions should be asked

Getting the discussion started

Explaining the reasons for the meeting and the expected outcomes

Mentioning the agenda

Talking about the minutes

Greetings, welcome and thanks for coming

Introducing the first topic on the agenda

What order would you do the things above in?

Compete to give the longest introduction that you can. Your partner will time you and take away time for pausing before telling you how long you spoke.

Do the same, but with your partner trying to interrupt you again and again. 

Do the same, but for an introduction to a teleconference or videoconference.

What things would you want to include in such an introduction? How is it similar to and different from the introduction to face to face meetings above?

What things would need to be done or spoken about before that point in a teleconference or video conference? 

Useful language for introductions to a meeting

Greetings, welcome and thanks for coming

Welcome to Elkem. Thanks for coming all this way (on such a cold/ rainy day)

It’s a great pleasure to welcome you to our Boston office today.

Making sure all the participants know each other

I think you’ve met each other before, haven’t you?

Saying how long the meeting is going to take

There will be another meeting in here at half past eleven

John has to go to another meeting at 2, so hopefully we’ll be finished by then

We’re scheduled to finish at 3, so hopefully it won’t go on much longer than that

Saying how the meeting will be organised

We’ll present our ideas one by one and then see which one we all like best

We’ll take a break around the midway stage

Explaining when questions should be asked

Please interrupt me at any time if anything isn’t clear

There will be time for questions at the end (of each stage)

Explaining the reason for the meeting and the expected outcomes

(As you all know), we’ve recently (found that/ had problems with…)

As you are aware, the reason I called this meeting is so that…

Our main aim today is to (find a way to…)

I’ve arranged this meeting to…

The main purpose/ objective of this meeting is to…

Mentioning the agenda

The first thing we are going to discuss is…

We will finish off by…

You should have all received a copy of the agenda

Before we start discussing the first point, does everyone agree on the agenda?

If anyone didn’t bring their copy of the agenda, I have extra copies

Talking about the minutes

Shane, I believe it’s your turn to take minutes

Whose turn is it to take notes?

We’ll start off by agreeing on the minutes to the last meeting

Getting the discussion started

Would you like to open the discussion, Gabby?

Perhaps you’d like to get the ball rolling, George?

Who would like to kick off the discussion of the first point?


PDF for easy saving and printing: Starting meetings and interrupting

Related pages

Interrupting page

Meetings and negotiations page

Over 300 pages of meetings photocopiables here.

1 Response to Starting meetings and interrupting

  1. Galina says:

    Thank you very much. It is useful and great help

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