Business Lesson 8: Meetings

Business Lesson 8

TEXT 1: Business Meeting Idioms

If you’ve seen any business-related Hollywood film made in the last twenty years, you have undoubtedly noticed in one way or another, that business hubs like Wall Street have developed their own idiomatic language.
This lesson is dedicated to introducing you to this vast world of business expressions and phrases that have come to characterise business English and especially business meetings and confernces.

Paul: Okay everyone, before we adjourn this meeting, we need to deal with the bailout issue. I need ball park estimates in order to make sure we balance our books before the end of this quarter. I don’t think anyone is completely clear about it.
Sandrine: The odds of TeleTech bottoming out are higher than we anticipated, at this point, breaking even would be a best-case-scenario for them.
Amanda: Is there anything they can bring to the table in return? Bailing them out is a calculated risk, but in a buyer’s market they could come on strong in the coming years.
Paul: I appreciate your feedback guys, I know their gun personally. He’s a company man. He won’t cut any corners on the turnaround. I wouldn’t doubt that after crunching some numbers they’ll corner the market like they did in the late ’90s. He will stop at nothing to succeed.
Amanda: I say we give the accounts department the green light for the bailout. It’s going to be a hard sell, but a lot of the executives already have their fingers in the pie and unless they want heads to roll, they won’t overrule.
Sandrine: Make sure TeleTech knows we mean business. They need to find some sort of alternative. Everyone is outsourcing nowadays, perhaps that could be the answer? It’s time they put their noses to the grindstone.
Paul: Well, the idea is to strike while the iron is still hot. After their business deal with us last year, I’m sure we won’t encounter much red tape from the board. Also, if I know their wheel like I think I do, he’ll come in low, put in a few plugs here and there and they’ll be up in no time.
Sandrine: Okay, all in favour?
(5 hands raised, 3 down).
Paul: It’s settled then, we’ll motion for the bailout. Amanda, send the minutes and the official proposal to Mike in accounting and Marie, the board’s liaison.
Amanda: Will do Paul! Any other requests before I close the books?
Paul: That’s it Amanda, just make sure to have all the documents on hand in case we need a resend somewhere. I’ll give Bill a call at TeleTech. I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be happy to hear from me. Meeting adjourned.
Sandrine: I’ll see you all this evening at McGill’s, 7pm as usual?
Amanda: Of course! Paul and I should be there around quarter past.


TEXT 2: Presentation Idioms and Describing Visuals

A good presentation is not difficult to achieve, but it can be tricky. This is especially true if you are not familiar with the most common idioms used by presenters in the English-speaking world.
Many of the idioms are formed using the conditional, for example: should, or I’d like to (I would like to).
It is also important to note that since the presenter in the Meetings often speaks on behalf of his team or company, he/she often speaks using “we” instead of speaking in the first person singular.
As the presentation progresses, this “we” incorporates all the people in the room, assuming that they are all on the same page as the presenter. For instance: We should think about what this means for future sales.

Here are some common presentation idioms:
When referring to your facts, figures, and/or visual aids:
I’d like to look at these figures more closely.
This figure refers to the highest returns during the last quarter.
This figure refers to sales in the UK only.
We should focus our attention to this part of the graph.
I must draw your attention to one particular area.

Transition idioms:
Let’s look at the breakdown by region.
As you can see, this is our biggest market, but in comparison…
Now let’s take a look at the figures over the last 3 quarters.
To emphasise importance or further thought:
I’d like to point out the importance of this number.
We should think about what these figures mean.
The implications are clear to all of us. This yields more results than…

Rhetorical questions:
What is the best solution? Here are the options…
What action do we take now? First… Second…
How did we do this? (Followed by an explanation).


Vocabulary List of Meetings in the business place.



a business hub

an idiomatic language

a bailout issue

an estimate

the odds of/ the chances of

the best-case-scenario

a calculated risk

the gun (of a company)

a hard sell


red tape

the minutes (of a meeting)


to adjourn a meeting

to balance the books

to bottom out

to break even

to bring something to the table

to not cut any corners

to crunch numbers

to stop at nothing

to give the green light

to have their fingers in the pie

Heads will roll.

to overrule

to mean business

to put their noses to the grindstone

to strike while the iron is still hot

to put in a few plugs here and there

to motion for

It’s safe to say that…




Vocabulary List of TEXT 2


a presenter

the English-speaking world

a fact

a figure

a visual aid


a quarter

a graph

the breakdown by region


to focus our attention to

to emphasise

to point out

to yield (results)



since, given that

instead of

in comparison


Business Meetings

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