What makes a good meeting?


A) What makes a good meeting?

B) Language

C) Assignments



A) What makes a good meeting?

1. Preparation

Have the participants been informed of: date, place, time, agenda, objectives, specific preparation, documentation, and specific roles?


2. Purpose

Do the participants have clear objectives and do they share the same expectations?  


3. Procedure

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)?


4. Roles

Are the roles clearly understood? Chairperson (voorzitter); Minute-taker (notulant); Participants (deelnemers)


5. Communication

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?


B) Language:

1. Here are some words and expressions you can use for discussing and evaluating meetings.


What do we call it?

A meeting

A conference

A get-together

A discussion

A chat



How do we organize it?

To call a meeting

To set up a meeting



Who participates?



Delegate (afgevaardigde)


What’s the atmosphere like?

Positive               Friendly

Co-operative (meewerkend)  Uncooperative

Negative             Unfriendly

Hostile (vijandig)           Competitive (concurrerend)


What do we do?



Negotiate (onderhandelen)

Propose (voorstellen) Recommend (aanbevelen) Decide (beslissen)

Postpone (uitstellen)


What do we talk about?

Items          Issues

Points         Matters

Topics        Subjects

What’s the output?

Minutes (notulen)

Reports (verslagen)



A decision

A recommendation/ aanbeveling)


What do we think of it all?

Fruitful           Useful

Productive     Stimulating Helpful          Positive          Interesting


Pointless        Fruitless

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…

I don’t think you’ve met…


Stating purpose/ objectives/ aims (doel van vergadering aangeven)

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.


Setting the agenda

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.


Defining roles

…, 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.


Closing an item                                                    Next item

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,


Keeping to the agenda                                          Referring back

Can we just deal with…?                                         As we said earlier,

Let’s just deal with…


Postponing/Moving around

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

    voortzetten/ hervatten).


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 …?

Is there…?

Did you…?

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?                                       


Giving opinions                                             

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.

Responding neutrally                                       



I see your point.

I understand your concern.


Strong recommendations (aanbevelingen)        

I strongly recommend…                                      

There’s no alternative…                                      

I think we have to…


Weak recommendations

Perhaps we could consider…

Maybe we should think about…

Limited agreement (niet helemaal eens)

I agree, but…

I’m not against it, but…


Responding negatively

That’s crazy.

That would be a disaster.



Responding positively That’s marvelous.                              

That’s great. That’s fine. 

Neutral recommendations

I propose/ suggest/ recommend…

Why don’t we...? (Informal)


Imposing conditions

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)



C) Assignments




     To: …; …, …;…; …;


Subject: improving work conditions/ employee relations


I am looking forward to our meeting next Wednesday at 16.00. I have put together a provisional agenda for the meeting so that you know what to expect.




1. Having set breaks from computer work

2. In-company childcare service

3. Non-smoking vote

4. 100% reimbursement for continuing education

5. Initiate employee complaint department


I would expect this meeting to last around an hour and a half. Please let me know if you will be arriving in time for lunch.





Risk Management meeting


Discuss the idea of purchasing some bankrupt property, a medium size Mall (passage)


3 are for; 3 are against....

Reasons for: Good price for this market.

Reasons against: It has little potential, as it was not a successful Mall. It also needs much structural work.


Discuss other possibilities....



Property size: 2 center of Den Bosch

Function: Shopping mall, medium sized, 7 shops in total.

Price:  fl. 2,500,000 Inventory included