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Opening a Meeting

Small Talk

Whether you are holding the meeting or attending the meeting it is polite to make small talk while you wait for the meeting to start. You should discuss things unrelated to the meeting, such as weather, family, or weekend plans.

Sample Dialogue:

Pierre: Hi Thomas. How are you?
Thomas: Great thanks, and you?
Pierre: Well, I'm good now that the warm weather has finally arrived.
Thomas: I know what you mean. I thought winter was never going to end.
Pierre: Have you dusted off your golf clubs yet?
Thomas: Funny you should ask. I'm heading out with my brother-in-law for the first round of the year on Saturday.


Once everyone has arrived, the chairperson, or whoever is in charge of the meeting should formally welcome everyone to the meeting and thank the attendees for coming.

  • Well, since everyone is here, we should get started.
  • Hello, everyone. Thank you for coming today.
  • I think we'll begin now. First I'd like to welcome you all.
  • Thank you all for coming at such short notice.
  • I really appreciate you all for attending today.
  • We have a lot to cover today, so we really should begin.

Sample Welcome:

Pierre: I think we'll begin now. First I'd like to welcome you all and thank everyone for coming, especially at such short notice. I know you are all very busy and it's difficult to take time away from your daily tasks for meetings.


If anyone at the meeting is new to the group, or if there is a guest speaker, this is the time when introductions should be made. The person in charge of the meeting can introduce the new person, or ask the person to introduce him or herself.

  • I'd like to take a moment to introduce our new tour coordinator.
  • I know most of you, but there are a few unfamiliar faces.
  • Stella, would you like to stand up and introduce yourself?
  • Hi everyone. I'm Judy Strauss. I'll be acting as Amanda's assistant while Nancy is away on maternity leave.

Roll Call/Apologies

If the meeting is a small group, it is probably unnecessary to take attendance out loud. The person who is taking the minutes will know everyone personally and can indicate who is present and who is absent. In a larger meeting, it may be necessary to send around an attendance sheet or call out names. If an important figure is absent, it may be necessary for the chairperson to apologize for his or her absence and offer a brief explanation for it.

  • It looks like everyone is here today.
  • If you notice anyone missing, please let Jane know so that she can make a note of it.
  • Unfortunately, Ken cannot join us today. He has been called away on business
  • Mike will be standing in to take the minutes today, as Lisa is home with the flu.


Some people who hold meetings prefer to pass around copies of the agenda, and others will post a large copy on a wall, or use an overhead projector. No matter which format is used, attendees should be able to follow the agenda as the meeting progresses. Before beginning the first main item on the agenda, the speaker should provide a brief verbal outline the objectives.

Sample Introduction to the Agenda:

Pierre: As you can all see here on the agenda we will be mainly talking about the upcoming tourist season. First we'll discuss the groups that will be coming in from Japan. After that we'll discuss the North American Tours, followed by the Korean tours. If time allows we will also discuss the Australian tours which are booked for early September. Next, I'm going to request some feedback from all of you concerning last year's tours and where you think we can improve. And finally, we'll be voting on where and when to have this year's staff picnic.