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Business English conversation lesson : Every meeting ever

MAKES

A lesson on Business English doesn’t have to be dull and serious so I’ve created this (hopefully) fun lesson to show myself(and other teachers) that students can laugh and learn in a Business English class.

How many meetings have your students attended during their lives? Probably tons of them! Were all of them productive? Most likely not!

Not every meeting is valuable, and there are a few that are downright counterproductive. The main reason is due to how the meeting progresses and whether there are a few characters who end up dominating the discussion.

This lesson is based on a funny and relatable comedy sketch video  which summarizes common types of people and situations one might experience during a meeting.

 Activity: Debate / Pair work / Videotelling

 Topic:  People who ruin meetings

 Age group : Adults / Business Professionals

 Time: 1h

 Level: B1

 Language point: Giving opinions, comparing, contrasting, speculating,  discussing techniques for business meetings

Step 1

Tell your students they will watch a video about a business meeting and ask them what they predict will happen. Prime them with questions:

Do you attend lots of meetings each week? Do you like going to meetings? Are the meetings in your work productive or a waste or time?

Step 2

Show the video once and ask them for their reactions.

Every Meeting Ever Video

Do you identify with any of the personalities featured in the video? Which one(s)? Who is the most irritating character? Why ?

Pair up students and let them share their ideas.

Step 3

Give out the  Every_meeting_ever handout to each student. Play the video once more and let them do Exercise 1 and 2 in pairs.

You may want to explain some key words and lexical terms:

  • Ol’ Thin Skin – Ol’ is for Old. Thin skin or thin-skinned is an extremely sensitive person who easily gets offended.
  • To ramble on
  • Underachieving scribe
  • Hedging
  • Carefree -laid back
  • Unintelligible notes
  • To accomplish goals

Explain the most common discussion techniques of meetings: Hedging, interrupting, referring back, checking understanding, concluding. Show other ways of how to use polite expressions in meetings.

Ask them: How could the characters use polite language in those situations?

Handout Answer Key

Exercise 1 – variable

Exercise 2 –  (in order) 7 – 5 – 4 – 2 – 11 – 3 – 10 – 6 – 1 – 9 – 8

Exercise 3 – a) Concluding  b) Interrupting  c) Checking understanding  d) Hedging  e) Referring back

Exercise 4

a) How long is this meeting supposed to last? The schedule wasn’t exactly clear.

b) Uh, that’s a fun idea.

c) Hold on! Thanks for pointing.

d) Let me take that back a little bit.

e) We get your concern, Nancy.

f) Sorry, but I’m a couple of minutes late. I got caught in traffic.

Thanks for reading.

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