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TRADING WORDS
Meetings Pack.

The TRADING WORDS Meetings Pack has been produced to accompany the BBC ENGLISH series Trading Words. Both the series, and the material in this Meetings Pack, have been produced with the cooperation of Specialist Language Services, York, who acted as consultants for the business English taught in the programmes.


*OPENING THE MEETING
*GETTING THE MEETING UNDERWAY
*MAKING A POINT
*ELICITING INFORMATION
*MAKING SUGGESTIONS
*EXPRESSING OPINION
*HESITATING
*INTERRUPTING
*GETTING TO THE POINT
*EMPHASISING A POINT
*REFERRING TO A PREVIOUS POINT
*GETTING BACK TO THE POINT
*DEFERRING
*CHECKING A POINT
*ASKING FOR CLARIFICATION
*MOVING ON
*SAYING THAT SOMETHING IS IRRELEVANT
*DIGRESSING
*RECAPPING/SUMMARISING
*MAKING OFFERS
*ASKING FOR OFFERS
*ACCEPTING AN OFFER
*REFUSING AN OFFER
*ASKING FOR RECONSIDERATION OF AN OFFER
*CONSIDERING AN OFFER/HEDGING
*MAKING CONDITIONS
*AGREEING
*TENTATIVE AGREEMENT
*DISAGREEING
*EXPRESSING INCREDULITY

*OPENING THE MEETING
Attracting attention
Right, then.
Right, can we start?
Ladies and gentlemen, are we ready to begin?
Well then, if we could get things rolling.
OK then, perhaps we could make a start?
Well, shall we get things started?
If everybody's ready, maybe we could make a start?

Directing attention
Let's get straight down to business.
Shall we get down to business?
Let's get the meeting under way.

Why are we here?
As you all know, we're here today to ...
I've asked you here today to ...
We're meeting today to ...
The reason we're here is to ...
The subject of today's meeting is ...
The purpose of today's meeting is to ...
Today we shall be looking at ...
Today we shall be dealing with...
Today, we intend to ...
Let's take the first item on the agenda...
Has everyone got a copy of the agenda?

*GETTING THE MEETING UNDER WAY
Inviting someone to state their position
Would you like to start, John.
Could I ask you for your comments first, John?
Can I turn first to Mr. X ...
So, let's go first to ...
Could I ask you first for your opinion?
Could I ask you first for your view on this matter?
John, perhaps you could give us a brief outline of you/your company's position on this matter?
Mr. Y, perhaps you would be so good as to tell us how you feel on this matter?
David, what are your first impressions of the new proposals?
I think it would be helpful if you could put us in the picture about the company's position on ...
Peter, can I ask you for your views on ... ?
Mr. Z, perhaps you'd like to give us your initial reaction to the proposal?

Stating your own position
Perhaps I could begin by saying that ...
I think I should make it clear right from the outset that .. .
If you would allow me to give you a brief outline of my position on this matter ...
I think I ought to say right from the start that ...
If I could just begin by saying ...
I want to make it clear that ...
I would like to say here that ...
I feel I should point out to you that ...

*MAKING A POINT
I would like to say that ...
I would like to say here that ...
You should know that ...
I'd like to make one thing clear from the outset ...
I think I should be frank and say that ...
You do realize that ... ?
I think we have to consider that ...
I think I should mention here that ...
We must bear in mind the fact that ...
We should always remember that ...
I believe you know that ...
The point is that ...
You must realize that ...

*ELICITING INFORMATION
I wonder if you'd mind telling me ...
What I'd like to know is ...
Can you give me some information about ...
I'd like some details about ...
What I really need to know is ...
Can you tell me something about ...
I wonder if I could ask you ...
I'm afraid I need to know ...
What is your position on ... ?

Specific information
What is your lowest price for ... ?
When can you give us delivery on ... ?

*MAKING SUGGESTIONS
Couldn't we ... ? (make a better offer)
Why don't we ... ?
I think we should ...
How about ... -ing?
What about ... -ing?
Let's ...
Can't we just ... ?
Maybe it would be a good idea to ...
I think it would be a good idea if we ...
Have you thought about ... -ing?
Have you considered ... -ing?
Wouldn't it be possible to ... ?
Surely it would be possible to ... ?
I don't see why we can't (just) ...
Is there any possibility of ... -ing?
It might be worth looking into ...
What would you think if ... ? (I lowered the cost)
What do you think of ... ? (lowering it)

*EXPRESSING AN OPINION
Expressing an opinion weakly
I'm inclined to think that ...
I tend to think that ...
I rather think ...

Expressing an opinion
As I see it ...
I think ...
I consider ...
In my opinion ...
As far as I'm concerned ...
If you ask me ...
Personally, ...
My point of view is ...

Expressing an opinion strongly
I'm sure that ...
I'm certain that ...
I'm convinced that ...
I really do think that ...
I definitely think that ...
I'm absolutely convinced that ...
There's no doubt in my mind that ...
What if ... ? (we did it like this)

*HESITATING
Sometimes when you are answering questions you may need to delay replying in order to collect your thoughts. Here are some useful phrases:
Well, let me see ...
Oh, let me think for a moment ...
Well now ...
I'm glad you asked me that ...
What do I think of your proposal? Well . . .
Actually, you've caught me on the hop there ...
However, it may be that you want to avoid answering altogether, or simply do not have an answer:
I'd rather not answer that, if you don't mind.
I've no idea, I'm afraid.
I'm sorry, but I'm not the right person to answer that question.
I can't answer that.
I'll need some time to think about that one.
I'm sorry I can't give you the exact figures off-hand.
Well, at a rough guess I'd say that ...
Don't quote me on this but ...

*INTERRUPTING
If I could just come in here a moment and say that ...
If I could just get a word in ...
Do you mind if I just interrupt?
Might I interrupt at this point?
Could I say something on that point?
Can I just say something here?
Excuse me, but could I just say something?
If I could just interrupt a moment?
I can't let that pass ...
Could I just pick up on that point?
Could I just query that last point?
Sorry to butt in, but ...
Could I just correct one small detail?
May I add something to that?
If I might just add something to what has just been said.
May I make a point?
Could I come in here?
I'd like to raise the subject of ...
Could I say a word about something?

Accepting the interruption
Certainly.
Please do.
Yes, of course.
Go ahead.
Not at all.
Sure.

Refusing the interruption
If you could just allow me to finish.
I'm sorry, but ...
Could I just finish?
Just a moment/second, please.
This won't take more than a few seconds.
Just let me finish.
One moment, please.

*GETTING TO THE POINT
What I'm trying to say is that ...
What I'm getting at is that ...
The point I'm trying to make is that ...
The crux of the matter is that ...
What I'm driving at is that ...

*EMPHASISING A POINT
Let's get this straight.
I want to make it quite clear that ...
I must emphasize that ...
I want to underline the fact that ...
There's no doubt that ...
I don't have to spell it out.
I think the figures speak for themselves.
I think the facts speak for themselves.
You don't need me to bell you that ...
Everyone should know by now that ...
I thought I'd made myself clear when I said that ...
At the risk of repeating myself, I should say here ...
I can't make this point strongly enough.
I don't want to leave anyone in any doubt about the fact that ...
I hope I've made myself clear.

*REFERRING TO A PREVIOUS POINT
If I could just pick up on a point you mentioned earlier.
I'd like to say something about a point John mentioned earlier.
If we could just cast our minds back to something which was said earlier.
I'd like to talk about something that was mentioned in passing earlier.
If I could get back to something that came up earlier in our discussion.
Maybe it would be worth looking at something we only discussed briefly earlier on.
I think we should look closer at an issue that we only touched on earlier.
I'd like to return to the previous point.
I'd like to return to the point made a few minutes ago.

*GETTING BACK TO THE POINT
If we could just get back to the subject under discussion.
If I could just bring you back to my original point/question.
I think we've strayed a little from our main point.
I think we're moving away from the main problem.
Let's get back to your original point.
To get back to your original question.
Could you stick to the point?
We seem to be getting off the point here.
Perhaps we could return to that point later.

*DEFERRING
I think that's something we could look at in detail later.
Perhaps we could consider that matter a little later in our discussions.
Yes, I think that's something that we could bear in mind when we come to discuss the contract.
I see your point, but perhaps we could leave that matter until later on.
I'd rather not go into those details here, if you don't mind.
Perhaps you could leave those points until a later stage?
I don't think there's any point in going into detail at this moment.
Perhaps we can pick up on that point later.
It might be better to return to that point later.

*CHECKING A POINT
Sorry, but can we just go back to what you said earlier?
Am I right in thinking that you're proposing ... ?
So would it be true to say that what you're suggesting is... ?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but what you're proposing is ...
So, what you seem to be suggesting is ...
So, if I've got this right, what you're saying is ...
Would I be right in thinking that ... ?
So, reading between the lines, your company seems to be offering ...
So, what you're actually saying is ... ?
Right. If I'm not mistaken, your policy is ...
You seem to be implying that ...
You seem to be suggesting that ...
All the evidence would seem to suggest that ...

*ASKING FOR CLARIFICATION
I'm sorry, I don't quite follow you there.
I'm sorry, I don't quite get your point.
Could you possibly expand on that?
Would you mind going over that again?
Could I ask you just to explain that again?
Could I ask you just to explain that a little further?
What exactly do you mean?
What are you really saying?
What are you really trying to say?
What exactly are you driving at?
What are you really getting at?

*MOVING ON
Perhaps we could move on to the next point under discussion.
That brings us to the next item on the schedule.
Perhaps we could turn our attention to the question of ...
If we could just move on to ...
I think we should now consider ...
Let's turn to the question of ...
Can we not look at ...
I'd like to move things on a little here ...
Can we get on please?
As we are running short of time, perhaps we could hear ...

*SAYING THAT SOMETHING IS IRRELEVANT
But surely that's quite a separate issue.
I don't really think this is the time to go into that.
I don't think there's any point in pursuing that line at all.
I'm sorry, but I can't see what that's got to do with the matter in hand.
I really can't see what that's got to do with what we're talking about.
I'm sorry but I think that's totally irrelevant.
You can't seriously expect me to take that into account.
Come on, I can't really see the significance of that ...
NB. These sentences are listed in order starting with the most polite and ending with the most direct.

*DIGRESSING
If I might digress for a moment here and say that ...
Let me digress for a moment.
I know it isn't strictly what we're here to discuss, but I think it might be worthwhile to spend a little time looking at ...

Background information
I think it would help if I gave you a little background information on this matter.
Perhaps you would just allow me to fill you in on some of the background to this situation.

*RECAPPING/SUMMARISING
So, let's just recap on what we've agreed.
Let me just recap for a moment.
Maybe we could just run over the main point again.
Maybe we could just run over the main areas of agreement.
Maybe we could just run over the main areas of disagreement.
Can we just stop here a moment and summarize the points so far?
Let me just summarize our main demands again.
Perhaps it would be useful if we just summarized what we've said so far.

*MAKING AN OFFER
Making an initial offer
Would you be prepared to consider our offer of ...
Are you prepared to accept ... ?
We are in a position to offer you ...
Could I suggest a figure of ...
Would you be happy with a figure of around ... ?
Would your company consider ... ?
Would an offer of something in the region of ... interest you?
We've examined the situation in detail, and are prepared to make an offer ...

Making subsequent/final offers
We've considered all the points you've put forward, and our final offer is ...
Our original offer still stands.
We can't do better than that, I'm afraid.
We're prepared to offer ...
After taking all the points into consideration, and we've come up with an offer of ...
We've come up with what seems to us to be a very attractive offer.

*ASKING FOR OFFERS
What would be your position on ... ?
What can you offer us with regard to ... ?
What's your policy on ... ?
I was wondering what you had in mind as far as ... is concerned?
What figure did you have in mind?
Could we talk about the ... you're prepared to offer?
What can you offer us on ... ?

*ACCEPTING ON OFFER
I can't see any reason why we shouldn't agree to that.
That seems like a reasonable offer to us.
Yes, I think we can do business on that basis.
Yes, I think that would be satisfactory to us.
That sounds most satisfactory.
OK, it's a deal.
NB. These sentences are listed in order, starting with the most guarded and ending with the most direct.

*REFUSING AN OFFER
We appreciate your position but we simply can't afford to accept an offer like that.
We've taken all the factors into account, but find your offer just isn't good enough.
I'm afraid that wouldn't be acceptable to our company.
I'm afraid I must reject that offer.
I'm afraid we can't see eye-to-eye on that.
I'm sorry, but we can't agree to that.
I'm sorry, but that's completely out of the question.
No, I really can't accept that.

*ASKING FOR RECONSIDERATION OF AN OFFER
In the light of what's been said, perhaps you'd reconsider your offer.
I was wondering if you'd look again at the offer we've made.
Would you like to think again about the original offer?
Perhaps it would be worth looking at the offer again?
There's still time to reconsider the offer, you know.
I'd like you to reconsider the proposals.

*CONSIDERING AN OFFER/HEDGING
Subject to the approval of my Board of Directors, I think that you proposal is attractive.
There are certain points I'd like clarifying before I give my final word.
I'd rather not commit myself on that point until I've studied the figures in detail.
I'll have to consider that very carefully.
That point needs careful consideration.
I agree in principle, but there are certain points I'm not happy about.
I can't give you my final decision until ...
I'll have to get back to you on that one, if you don't mind.
I really don't think I can give you a firm decision on that.

*MAKING CONDITIONS
In negotiations making conditions plays an important role. Here are some useful expressions:
We could do it, as long as ...
We can't do it unless ...
It's not worth ...ing unless ...
I won't do it unless all else fails.
Even then, I'll only do it on condition that ...
We did it on the understanding that ...
The only proviso is that ...
They've agreed - conditional on ...
If you could only ...
Provided you can ... we can ...
Only if ... would we ...
We can do it provided ...
We can agree as long as ...
We can agree provided ...

*AGREEING
I absolutely agree.
I completely agree.
I agree entirely/completely.
I agree with you most strongly.
You're right (of course).
Yes indeed!
I quite agree with you.
Couldn't have put it better myself.
Hear, hear.
Exactly.
That's true.
That's a wonderful idea.
That would be marvellous.

*TENTATIVE AGREEMENT
You may well be right, but ...
To a large extent you're right, but ...
I agree with you to a certain extent, but ....
Up to a point I'd agree with you, but ...
I see what you mean, but ...
I take your point, but ...
You have a point there, but ...
I appreciate your point of view, but ...
You could be right, but ...
That's an interesting idea, but ...

*DISAGREEING
Are you sure?
I'm not sure I entirely agree.
I can't quite go along with you there.
I don't think I really like the idea.
No, I think you're mistaken here.
No, I'm sorry, there I have to disagree.
No, I disagree.
I disagree entirely.
I can't agree at all.
I don't agree with you at all on that point.
That's not right I'm afraid.
That's quite wrong.
I really must object to that comment you know.

*EXPRESSING INCREDULITY
When you refuse to believe someone, use one of the following expressions:
Is the any proof that ... ?
Do you really mean to say that ... ?
I find that very hard to believe.
You don't honestly believe that ...
You can't really expect me to believe that ... ?
You're not seriously trying to tell me that ... ?
That's incredible!
Oh, come on!
Oh, come off it!
You must be joking!

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