The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unbelievable changes to our work life; the shift in the global work culture has pushed us to work remotely, which has become the new normal. Abruptly, the world economy has transformed, and people can work more and more from home. So, businesses organize meetings on various digital platforms. Mantra in the business world is that the remote meetings are here to stay because they save time, cut travel expenses, reduce carbon emissions, etc.
Business meetings are crucially important to make people feel included in decision-making. So, to be a coherent, consistent, and effective communicator in cross-cultural meetings, it is critical to command the extensive language of meetings. Teleconferencing – while a meeting that takes place in a virtual workplace has countless advantages, it has its own set of challenges and issues. So, the command of a clear and specific language of meetings gives us the confidence to tackle problems when we encounter them. There are neither coffee corners for informal and unplanned interactions nor meeting rooms to conduct in-person formal planned business meetings. Thus, we require the appropriate language to be effective and leave a good impression in remote meetings.
To make a good impression, use these simple idiomatic phrases during online meetings:
For common problems
· Are you on mute? (mute = no sound)
· I can hear you but I can’t see you
For beginning a meeting:
- Who would like to kick things off? (kick-off = begin)
- I would now like to hand it over to Julia. (hand over to = give control to)
For asking for repetition
- Could you repeat that please?
- Could we circle back to that? (circle back = return)
For paraphrasing ideas
(Paraphrasing means repeating something with other words)
- The idea/concept in a nutshell is…. (in a nutshell = in a few words, summarizing)
- In other words, what I wanted to say is…
For Arranging Next Steps
- So, Jan, could you take the lead on that? (take the lead on = be responsible for) Let’s pencil in another meeting for next Tuesday. (pencil something in = to arrange something)
For closing a Meeting
- I think we can leave this here for today.
- We can pick this up again tomorrow/next week/on Tuesday.
For small talk
- How was your weekend?
- Did anyone read the funny news story about… ? (make sure topics you share are appropriate for the workplace)
We all have been there, attended a remote team meeting, and barely survived it. We joined the office meeting and missed what the other participants said. We are still stuck on the first point, and our colleagues have already moved onto the next item on the agenda. I remember attending my first online teacher training meeting and could not come up with short and appropriate phrases to write in the chatbox. As non-native English speakers, it is an everyday occurrence to be misunderstood or misunderstand someone else because of the frequent use of idiomatic expressions used by native English speakers. The feeling of anxiety takes over, and we hesitate to ask people to repeat things, and it becomes harder to get our points across. The language problems are worse in remote meetings than face-to-face meetings due to the inferior quality of video and sound, moreover, it is more difficult to interpret body language.
So, if you want to gain confidence to speak in English and to learn the functional language for meetings, join Business English classes online with Kickstart school!
Kickstart school online, blended learning (a mix of learning from home and in the classroom) Business English classes facilitate to expand your business vocabulary and grammar, strategies to develop the language of meetings, and online meeting skills.
Our well-structured teaching material can be adapted to the needs of the course. Our highly experienced Business English teachers revel in helping students to raise their professional English learning thresholds. In addition, students have access to an interactive online learning platform with audio and video materials, and an App to keep them engaged throughout the course.
And now for a quick quiz: How many of these do you know?
Match the phrases to their meanings:
1. base in
2. on the flip side
3. get your head around (something)
4. hang in there
5. in the comfort of your own home
6. train of thought
7. get back on track
8. cut out
10. pain in the neck
a. to stop moving
b. to disconnect
c. at home
d. to continue as planned, usually after a distraction
e. on the other hand
f. someone or something that is very annoying
g. to operate or function from a particular place
h. to understand something that is challenging or confusing
i. uninterrupted progression of thinking
j. to be patient; not to give up
Answers: 1g, 2e, 3h, 4j, 5c, 6i, 7d, 8b, 9a, 10f.
Teacher at Kickstart school
Sources of the information are various websites