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Define which of the following functions the chair performs at this meeting

Thanks people for coming. Starts the meeting on time. States the objective. Refers to the agenda. Changes the agenda. Talks about a previous meeting. Introduces the first speaker. Prevents interruptions. Makes people stick to the subject. Gives a personal opinion. Summarizes. Asks for comments. Decides when to have a break. Closes the meeting.

Suggest phrases which could be used by a chairperson in the following situations in a meeting.


a) To welcome the participants to a meeting.

b) To state the objectives of the meeting.

c) To introduce the agenda.

d) To introduce the first speaker.

e) To prevent an interruption.

f) To thank a speaker for his/her contribution.

g) To introduce another speaker.

h) To keep discussion to the relevant issues.

i) To summarize discussion.

j) To ask if anyone has anything to add.

k) To suggest moving to the next topic on the agenda.

l) To summarize certain actions that must be done following the meeting (for example, do research, write a report, meet again, write a letter, etc.).

m) To close the meeting.

Task 1. Comment on the following functions of a chairperson and participants.





Practice 1


Work in groups of four. Decide on a chair and have a brief meeting using one of the situations below.



After a few minutes' preparation, the chair starts the meeting, introduces the agenda, invites the first speaker to make his/her proposal, prevents interruptions, brings in other speakers, summarizes, etc.



Situation 1 Situation 2
  Meeting   To identify ways to reduce company costs.   Time: End: Place: Participants:   Agenda 1. Staff cuts. 2. Reducing the research budget. 3. Cutting salaries and operating costs.     Meeting   To decide on training needs and how to spend $100,000 on training   Time: End: Place: Participants:   Agenda 1. Decide priorities: marketing/ information technology/ languages 2. Allocate costs. 3. Decide outline program.  


Establishing the purpose of a meeting

Below is an incomplete agenda for a meeting of an Environmental Research Unit.

Listen to the recording of the beginning of the meeting. You will hear the opening remarks from the chair, James Rizzo.

Note the objectives of the meeting by filling in the blanks in the agenda.

Practice 2

1. In groups, work out a brief agenda, with an appropriate order, for a meeting of the marketing department of Axis Finance Inc., a medium-sized financial services company. Your agenda should include the points listed here:


· review of marketing performance in the current year

· marketing plans for next year

· minutes of previous meeting

· any other business

· new products

· date of next meeting

· personnel changes

· chair's opening address

· apologies for absence.



2. In pairs, prepare a brief opening statement by the chair to introduce the meeting above:


· think about what the opening statement from the chair needs to say

· use your agenda as a guide

· refer to the Language Checklist

· practise in pairs.


Role play

Work in groups of four.

Ash & Whitebeam is a manufacturing company. The Board has decided to set up a subcommittee to examine the four problems contained in File cards 6-9 (p. 54-55). Your group is that subcommittee and you are meeting to discuss these problems and to make recommendations to the Board. Read through the information on the File cards. Decide in groups who should lead the discussion on each of the four topics. Each group member should prepare his/her introduction. When everyone is ready, begin the meeting. If possible, also choose an overall Chair for the meeting.



Think about the role play meeting that you have worked on in this unit and your role in it. Evaluate the meeting by considering the following:

What were the objectives? What was your role in the meeting? Did you use any visual supports? What was the result of the meeting? How did you feel about this result?

What action or follow-up was agreed?



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