What makes a good meeting?
Have the participants been informed of: date, place, time, agenda, objectives, specific preparation, documentation, and specific roles?
Do the participants have clear objectives and do they share the same expectations?
Has the procedure (formal chairing, informal brainstorming, information-giving, problem-solving, decision-making) been agreed?
Has the agenda been agreed and understood?
Are the limits clear (duration, finish time, date and time of next meeting)?
Are the roles clearly understood? Chairperson (voorzitter); Minute-taker (notulant); Participants (deelnemers)
Do all the participants get a chance to contribute?
Do the participants understand each other?
Is there a clear outcome to the meeting?
Is there a clear direction to the meeting?
Is there a positive atmosphere?
1. Here are some words and expressions you can use for discussing and evaluating meetings.
What do we call it?
How do we organize it?
To call a meeting
To set up a meeting
What’s the atmosphere like?
Co-operative (meewerkend) Uncooperative
Hostile (vijandig) Competitive (concurrerend)
What do we do?
Propose (voorstellen) Recommend (aanbevelen) Decide (beslissen)
What do we talk about?
What’s the output?
A recommendation/ aanbeveling)
What do we think of it all?
Productive Stimulating Helpful Positive Interesting
Useless Unproductive Boring A waste of time
2. Where do we start? Here are some words and expressions you can use to open a meeting.
- Let’s get down to business. - OK, shall we make a start?
- We’d better start (we kunnen maar beter beginnen). - Right, let’s begin.
We’re very pleased to welcome…
It’s a pleasure to welcome…
I’d particularly like to welcome … (ik wil in ‘t bijzonder … van harte welkom heten)
I’d like to start by welcoming
I’d like to introduce…
We’re here today to…
Our aim is to…
I’ve called this meeting in order to…
The purpose of this meeting is to…
By the end of this meeting, we need to…
I suggest we go round the table first.
I’d like to hear what you all think before we make a decision.
As you’ll see from the agenda…
Have you all seen a copy of the agenda?
I suggest we take this item first/next/last.
There are three items on the agenda.
Is there any other business?
This should take about two hours.
The meeting is due to finish at…
We’re short of time, so can I ask you to be brief?
I’d like to keep each item to ten minutes, otherwise we’ll never get through.
I would like to finish by four o’ clock.
…, could you take the minutes?
… has kindly agreed to give us a report on…
… is going to take us through…
…, I wondered if you’d like to tell us something about…?
Making a proposal
I’d like to know if you’d be prepared to …
Rejecting a proposal
I’m afraid I can’t
3. Where are we going? Here are some words and expressions to link items and ideas.
Right, I think that covers the first item. Let’s move on to the next item…
Shall we leave that item? The next item on the agenda is…
If nobody has anything else to add. Now we come to the question of…
Moving off the point Referring forward
This might be a good point to mention… We’ll come to that later
It’s not on the agenda, but… That point is coming up in a moment
By the way,
Can we just deal with…? As we said earlier,
Let’s just deal with…
Shall we skip the next item?
I suggest we take that up at another meeting.
4. Your view counts
Here are some words and expressions you can use for interrupting, commenting and resuming (vergadering
Interrupting ( in de rede vallen)
Excuse me, may I interrupt?
Just a moment…
Can I say something here?
…, sorry, (using someone’s name is a good way to get their attention)
Commenting (van commentaar voorzien) Considering alternatives
Yes, that’s interesting. Have you considered…
Yes, that’s a good point. What about…
Yes, I see what you mean. There’s another way of looking at this.
Emphasizing (benadrukken) Referring
I’d like to point out… You said…
Let me emphasize… Somebody mentioned…
You know, what you said about…
Finishing what you want to say
Just let me finish.
I’ll come to that in a moment.
I haven’t finished what I was saying.
No, wait a moment…
May I just finish?
5. Keeping to the point – questioning and clarifying
In order to keep to the point you can ask all sorts of questions:
Open questions (these are called open because we don’t know what the answer will be.)
What sort of…?
Could you tell me…?
I’d be interested to know…
Closed questions (these are seeking a Yes/No answer)
Do you plan to …?
Are you going to …?
Leading questions (these force an answer in a certain direction)
Shouldn’t we …?
There isn’t …, is there?
We’re…, aren’t we?
Probing questions (to probe means onderzoeken - these questions are seeking further information)
What exactly do you mean by…?
I’m not sure I really understand…
Could you go into more detail about…?
Reflective questions (These questions show that you have been listening and appreciate (op prijs stellen) the point that is being made.)
So you’re worried about…?
If I understand you,
6. What’s the idea – asking and giving opinions
Asking for opinions
What do you think?
Peter? (rising intonation)
What’s your opinion?
I think/ feel /believe…
In my opinion, we should…
In my view…/ My view is…
Giving someone the opportunity to speak
We haven’t heard from Ann yet.
Can we hear what Fred has to say?
Just let Yvonne finish.
Commenting on opinions
That’s a good idea/ an excellent idea.
That’s very interesting.
I’m sure we’d all agree with that.
That’s a very good point/ an important point.
Relevance of ideas (zijn ideeën relevant?)
We’re missing the point.
We’re getting off the point.
Let’s get back to the main point.
He/She has a good point.
Problems of time
We’re rather short of time.
I’m afraid we’re running out of time.
We’ll have to leave that to another time.
Asking for clarification
I don’t see what you’re getting at.
I not sure what you mean.
I’m not sure what you’re saying.
It’s not clear what you mean.
7. Making decisions – Agreeing and disagreeing and making recommendations
Total disagreement (geheel oneens)
I totally disagree.
I couldn’t agree less.
You must be joking?
Wait to be convinced (nog niet helemaal overtuigd)
I can see what you’re getting at.
There are two sides to the argument.
On the other hand… on the other…
I’m not sure/convinced about…
I just think we need more time.
Total commitment (volledig toegewijd)
I’m a 100% behind you.
I entirely agree with you.
I see your point.
I understand your concern.
Strong recommendations (aanbevelingen)
I strongly recommend…
There’s no alternative…
I think we have to…
Perhaps we could consider…
Maybe we should think about…
Limited agreement (niet helemaal eens)
I agree, but…
I’m not against it, but…
That would be a disaster.
Responding positively That’s marvelous.
That’s great. That’s fine.
I propose/ suggest/ recommend…
Why don’t we...? (Informal)
I’d like to see the figures/ the statistics first
Rejecting a proposal
I’m afraid I can’t …
Accepting a proposal
I think we’d be able to accept …
8. What’s next – summarizing - clarifying – closing the meeting
Completing the agenda
Right, it looks as though we’ve covered the main point.
I think that just about covers everything.
Is there any other business?
Is there anything more to discuss?
Before we close, let me just summarize the main points.
Shall I go over the main points?
So, to sum up…/ to recap(itulate)
Agreeing and assigning action (‘t eens worden en actie ondernemen)
So, what’s the next step?
Ann, could you let us have a report…?
Louis has agreed to look into…
So, Merlyn, you’re going to write up…
Basically, I’d like you to…
Ensuring that everything is clear (zeker zijn dat ‘t voor iedereen duidelijk is)
OK, is that clear?
Let me just clarify one thing.
Do you all see what I’m getting at?
So, I hope everything is clear.
Obviously,…/ Clearly, …
Closing the meeting
Let’s stop here.
I’m afraid we’ll have to finish here.
I declare the meeting closed. (Formal)
Let’s call it a day. (Informal)