Understanding in business meetings

Managing Discussions – Part 3: Simple English Videos Lesson

Kathy, do you have a moment? Yes? I just received this message and I don’t understand it. What does IDK mean? The letters IDK? Yes. I don’t know. Hmm. I’ll ask Vicki. Vicki, what does IDK mean? I don’t know. Well I don’t know either. People are so hard to understand. I’ll go ask Louise. Welcome back to our third video on managing discussions. Sometimes the hardest thing about business meetings in making sure everyone’s understood one another. And that’s what this lesson’s all about. So let’s go back to the meeting we’ve been following and see how they do it. Are we wrapped up then? Yeah. Ah, just a moment. Is there anything else anyone wants to say? Is the meeting going to be at eleven o’clok again next week? Yes, is that a problem? Well sometimes I have to go to the other site in the morning and it’s hard to get here in time. Sounds like you need a faster car then. I’m afraid I have another meeting at two. Errr, don’t worry about it then. Just get up earlier on Tuesdays. Yeah. So are you saying it’s not a problem, Jay? I’ll work something out. OK. So we’ve agreed we’ll meet at eleven o’clock again next Tuesday. Yeah. Fine. Are we finished then? Looks like it. Yes, this meeting is officially over. Did you understand everything? What about this phrase? Are we wrapped up then? Yeah. Wrapped up means finished. And what about Jay’s question. Is the meeting going to be at eleven o’clock again next week? Why did Jay ask that? Because the time was difficult for him. Well sometimes I have to go to the other site in the morning and it’s hard to get here in time. So are they going to change the time of the meeting for Jay? No. I’ll work something out. When we work something out we find an answer, a solution to a problem. Great! So now let’s look at some things you can do to check everyone understands in meetings. The first one is summarize the important points. People say a lot of things in meetings so make sure the key points get heard. If you’ve made a decision, briefly restate it. OK, so we’ve agreed we’ll meet at eleven o’clock again next Tuesday. Summaries like this are helpful. Everyone can check they’ve understood. And that’s good because sometimes people don’t hear things. I didn’t hear what you said. I didn’t catch that. Sorry? Can you say that again? What was that again? You can use all these phrases to get people to repeat things. And if you don’t understand, you can say something like this. I’m not following you. I don’t get it. What do you mean. But if you don’t understand, try to be specific. So customers in Europe need to pay VAT. OK? No, I don’t follow. You don’t understand. No, I don’t get it. What don’t you get? I forgot. Customers in Europe will need to pay VAT. What do you mean by VAT? Value Added Tax. It’s similar to sales tax in the US. Oh, I see. This question’s specific. It tells us what you don’t understand. Now there’s another very useful way to check you’ve understood. That’s to paraphrase. Let’s watch Louise doing it. I’m afraid I have another meeting at two. Errr, don’t worry about it then. So are you saying it’s not a problem, Jay? I’ll work something out. To check she’s understood, Louise paraphrases – she puts what Jay says into her own words. So are you saying it’s not a problem, Jay? I’ll work something out. Customers in Europe will have to pay VAT. So are you saying they’ll have to pay a kind of sales tax? Yeah, sort of. OK. I get it. So are you saying that IDK means I don’t know? You gotta be kidding me. Now what about ending a meeting? First you’ll want to check that everyone has finished talking. Is there anything else anyone else wants to say? It gives people a chance to speak if they want. And if they don’t, you can end the meeting. This meeting is officially over. And this video series is officially over too. If you have anything else you’d like to say about managing discussions and business meetings, please write to us in the comments. And make sure you subscribe to our channel so you can stay up to date with all our videos. Subscribe to our channel to see more of our videos. And if your organization needs specialized English language training, we make videos for that too. So get in touch if we can help.

6 thoughts on “Understanding in business meetings

  • October 28, 2015 at 4:19 pm
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    Thank you for your lighthearted lessons. They’re really helpful**

    I need your advice: My boss is Scottish and has a very strong accent! I can hardly understand what he says every meeting!! How can I let him know this dilemma I’m into? By the way, a number of my colleagues have the same problem!

    Reply
    • October 28, 2015 at 4:56 pm
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      Hi Ahmad, so glad you like the lessons.
      It sounds like you and your colleagues are going to have to sit down and talk about this with your boss. The accent could indeed be a factor, but the cool thing is, if it is, it’ll probably just take getting used to and the problem will disappear over time. But maybe it’s something else too – like his speed of speech, or the idioms and expressions he’s using? I don’t know.
      But sitting down and talking about it with him is a good first step. There will be things he can do to make everyone’s life easier if he’s aware of the problem – like speaking slowly, articulating clearly and avoiding complicated vocabulary and expressions.
      And on your end, perhaps you can make an effort to listen to some other Scottish accents?. Wikipedia has a page of television shows shot in Scotland – or maybe films set in Scotland? Maybe you can get hold of some somehow? So I’d do a search for Scottish movies and TV shows and I expect your boss will appreciate the effort and have ideas too. There are some lovely Scottish accents, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy them when you get used to them.

      Reply
      • October 30, 2015 at 6:44 pm
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        Thank you for your prompt reply. I will certainly take your advice and let you know the outcome.

        Reply
  • March 19, 2016 at 10:57 am
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    I am Indonesian, it’s helpful program

    Reply
    • March 20, 2016 at 3:21 am
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      So glad it’s helpful Darman. Thank you for writing.

      Reply
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