The beginning of a meeting presents a major dilemma: is it better to get straight down to business, or is it important to allow or even encourage small talk? The texts in this lesson present arguments from opposing viewpoints, which may help students to question their own assumptions. The lesson goes on to introduce useful language for both small talk and getting down to business, with practice in the form of role-plays.
Many learners of English worry about their mistakes and allow their insecurities to prevent them from participating in meetings fully. This lesson provides reassurance that such insecurities are very common and normal. It also presents some strategies for increasing their confidence and ability to participate actively in meetings in English. The lesson also warns students that they themselves are responsible for overcoming this barrier to communication. There is also some guidance for learners with the opposite problem: overconfidence and dominance. It is suitable for a wide range of professional contexts, not just businesspeople.
This lesson focuses on two important aspects of managing a meeting: setting up the meeting with a series of emails, and keep the meeting under control. Two other important parts of managing a meeting, introducing the meeting and closing the meeting, are covered in lessons 1 and 5.
Since its development in the 1950s, brainstorming has become one of the most common techniques used in meetings to generate ideas. However, despite its clear benefits, the technique has its faults and many improvements have been suggested and analysed. This lesson aims to provide practice of brainstorming at the same time as exploring possible improvements. The second half of the lesson focuses on the necessary follow-up to brainstorming: evaluating ideas. This means the lesson covers two of the key language functions of meetings: making suggestions and agreeing/disagreeing.
For many people, a meeting is only as successful as the Action Points it produces. Action Points are essential for moving things forward between meetings, and provide a focus both for the closing of one meeting and the opening of the next meeting. This lesson looks in some detail at what makes a successful Action Point. There is also a focus on the various steps involved in bringing a meeting to a successful close.