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4

meetings
DICTIONARIES
Longman:
http://www.ldoceonline.com/
Oxford:
http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/
Macmillan:
http://www.macmillandictionary.com/
Cambridge:
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/
Cobuild:
http://www.mycobuild.com/free-search.aspx
Merriam-Websters (American English):
http://www.learnersdictionary.com/

EXTRAS
British English / grammar (BBC ENGLISH):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/askaboutenglish/
British English / reading, listening and vocabulary (BBC ENGLISH):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/wordsinthenews/
British English (news, BBC):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
American English (news, VOA):
http://www.voanews.com/
American English (learning English, VOA):
http://learningenglish.voanews.com/

Input texts adapted from Margareta Petru, Eugenia Irimia, STEPS TO EFFECTIVE BUSINESS
COMMUNICATION, Argonaut, Cluj-Napca, 2008. All questions by Adrian Ciupe, 2013. Some
questions adapted from Bob Dignen, ENGLISH FOR MEETINGS / BUSINESS MINIMAX, York Associates,
2008.
1

module A lecture
speaking & writing
Below you may find the main ideas of the mini-lecture to be delivered in class. Each section is followed
by a set of questions which you can prepare prior to class meetings, at your leisure.
THIS MODULE WILL BE USED FOR BONUS POINTS (SPEAKING / WRITING)!
#1 SETTING UP A MEETING
Every meeting:

has a purpose and an agenda


is about informing people, analyzing problems, generating options, making decisions
includes techniques for disagreeing collaboratively, based on the quality of listening skills
involves participative listening

1. Why do you think most people hate meetings?


2. Based on the listening and persuasion skills you know you already have (or not), how do you think you
would behave as a participant in a meeting?
3. In certain cultures / countries, people prefer telephone meetings to personal contact. What do you
think about this?
4. Would you expect extensive pre-meeting documentation and briefing or would you prefer spontaneity
during discussions?
5. In some cultures / countries, people value fact over opinion. What is your own stance?
6. In certain cultures, people view informality as unprofessional in meetings. What do you think?
7. Do you think that meeting participants should work systematically through a meeting agenda, covering
point by point? Are meeting agendas really necessary? Explain.
8. In some cultures, people work organically (= in a natural way, without previous planning) and value
flexibility and digression what is your own opinion regarding meetings?
#2 THE MEETING PROCESS

First, decide the purpose of the meeting.


Second, negotiate the process of the meeting.
Types of decision-making: majority vote, unanimity, consensus, deferral / referral.
Ground rules for effective meetings: punctuality, no interruptions, no accusations, no personal
attacks.

9. If you were to chair a meeting, which of the 4 decision-making models would you prefer and why?
Same question if you were a mere participant.
10. Look again at the description of each of the 4 decision-making models and think about some problems
that could arise with each of them can these possible drawbacks be outweighed by REAL advantages?
11. In some cultures, people connect hierarchy with authority in decision-making; would you agree with
this? Explain.
12. In a meeting, would you prefer cold logic to discussion and imagination?
13. In a meeting, would you prefer diplomacy to open disagreement?

#3 ROLES
Roles performed in meetings:

the facilitator (leads the meeting; makes sure people stick to the agenda)
the secretary (takes the minutes)
the timekeeper (keeps the meeting on schedule; makes sure all agenda items are covered; calls for
decisions to be made)

14. Which of the above role(s) would best suit your personality, temperament and communication skills?
Justify your answer.
15. Which of the above role(s) would you avoid at all costs and why?
16. In certain cultures / countries, people see the chair as the controller and decision-maker rather than as
a facilitator. What is your own view?
17. Why are the minutes of a meeting important? What problems can arise from not taking the minutes
properly / accurately?
18. In certain cultures, people respect punctuality and are quite concerned with deadlines, whereas in
others, they view time as an elastic concept. Which view would you prefer and why?
#4 BEHAVIOURAL STYLES
4 behavioural types are to be found in meetings:

tellers
sellers
dwellers
compellers

19. Which of the above behavioural styles would best describe you and why?
20. Imagine that in a meeting, tellers and compellers predominate. Sellers and dwellers are either too few
or virtually nonexistent. How good / bad would this be for the success of a meeting regarding ultimate
decision-making?

module B seminar
practice tests
The following practice tests are intended for seminar and / or independent activities. They simulate the
question formats to be used in your final test.
THIS MODULE WILL BE USED FOR THE FINAL TESTS!
#1 SETTING UP A MEETING
acquire, generate, lead, master, quite, schedule
It is estimated that some 01 ____ EMPLOY spend 02 ____ to two thirds of their time 03 ____
meetings and 04 ____ few of them have 05 ____ the skills and knowledge to participate 06 ____
EFFECT . Good meeting management skills require 07 ____ much training and preparation as any other
aspect of business. Every meeting, 08 ____ every speech, needs to have a purpose and its important to let
everyone know exactly what the purpose is when you 09 ____ a meeting. Send 10 ____ a preliminary 11
____ record / agenda / schedule / report to inform everyone when, where and why the meeting
is taking place. The basic goal or purpose of a meeting falls 12 ____ one of these four categories: to inform
people, to analyze a problem, to 13 ____ options about possible solutions or activities or to decide 14
____ a solution or 15 ____ of action. Whether 16 ____ or attending a meeting, every businessperson
needs to be trained 17 ____ meeting management behaviour and techniques of 18 ____
COLLABORATE disagreement. Knowing how to 19 ____ AGREE is the only way to 20 ____
SURE that ideas are freely generated, but this is a difficult skill to 21 ____ . (...)
add, amount, back, introduce
(...)
People usually dont disagree with one another because we basically believe that disagreeing is 22 ____
SYNONYM with 23 ____ LIKE someone. However, in meetings, for us to 24 ____ show / turn /
come / arrive up with the best possible alternatives, we need to learn how to disagree. Techniques for
disagreeing 25 ____ COLLABORATE require that first of all we learn how to listen. 26 ____ the most
important meeting management skill, listening 27 ____ to how we get information from other people. This
requires not just our ears, but also our eyes, intuition and feelings. Listening actively means asking
questions not 28 ____ CONFRONT ones but requests 29 ____ more information, 30 ____
further / farther / several / another explanation or clarification. Remember that when youre
listening actively, youre not just parroting 31 ____ what people are saying youre questioning and
participating 32 ____ their content! The key 33 ____ listening participatively is to take other peoples
ideas and elaborate 34 ____ them. According to this model, when someone presents an idea, the first step
35 ____ responding is to describe what you like about it. Then, after 36 ____ KNOW the idea, the
second step is to 37 ____ on what you think could take it to the next level. Next, you should be 38 ____
your concerns, 39 ____ RESERVE or worries. And finally, youll have to decide where you go from
there. In this way, you can connect to the idea before 40 ____ AGREE with it, by building a bridge to the
other person before saying what you dont like.
4

#2 THE MEETING PROCESS


choose, foster, make
After deciding 01 ____ the purpose of the meeting, the next important step is to 02 ____ present /
negotiate / make / do the process. This is a matter of 03 ____ setting / settling / lying /
putting the ground rules and deciding how decisions will be 04 ____ . Without agreeing 05 ____ this
crucial issue, theres virtually no way in which to arrive 06 ____ a 07 ____ RESOLVE . This is
particularly important with an ongoing team, as a means of 08 ____ dialogue and preserving relationships.
There are several different ways to reach a decision. Whichever method is 09 ____ , it must be
determined before 10 ____ DELIBERATE begin. The most common decision-11 ____ taking /
making / doing / forming models used in business are as follows: (...)
action, draw, have, head, lie, refer, when, whereby
(...)

Majority vote this is the standard democratic process, 12 ____ a majority vote can lead to a decision
13 ____ nothing else can, but it also carries the potential for a 14 ____ SATISFY minority.
Unanimity this amounts 15 ____ a unified decision for or against something, 16 ____ dissent.
Although it is ideal to 17 ____ everyone agree, its nearly impossible to reach a 18 ____
UNANIMITY decision in business. If you come 19 ____ with a such a decision, you ought to think
twice whether or not youre leading people in the wrong direction.
Consensus this is an agreement 20 ____ everyone in a group to move forwards, whether or not all
members agree 21 ____ a particular course of 22 ____ .
Deferral this is a model in which a decision is deferred (or 23 ____ ) to either an expert in the field or
an authority in the company, such as a 24 ____ SUPERVISE , business manager or 25 ____ of
department. This is most useful when a decision must be made but there is no general agreement; it
thus 26 ____ with an expert or another authority to 27 ____ the final conclusion 28 ____ this
respect. (...)
load, pitfall, plague, show, state

(...)
As 29 ____ some ground rules for meeting management, the most effective way to avoid the barriers and
30 ____ that can 31 ____ a meeting is to anticipate problems and lay 32 ____ a set of procedures to
keep the meeting 33 ____ flowing / following / conducting / performing smoothly. One
common problem, for instance, is too much discussion. It is essential for us to establish a ground rule that
determines when the group will stop talking and move 34 ____ to the next 35 ____ sentence /
paragraph / item / chapter on the agenda. Here are some other such ground rules: no interruptions
let everyone 36 ____ his or her opinion during the discussion period; all the 37 ____ PARTICIPATE
must 38 ____ up on time or the meeting will start without them; avoid 39 ____ language, accusations
and personal attacks. For every ground rule there must be a consequence to back it 40 ____ . Many
businesses, for example, have a system in which fines are contributed 41 ____ a kitty, with the money
being used to buy coffee for the next meeting.

#3 ROLES
be, minute, pay, record, rotate, run, sure, table, take
There are certain tasks or roles that must be performed at every meeting:

The facilitator leads the meeting and makes 01 ____ people stick 02 ____ the agenda. This is one
role that should be 03 ____ . That way, everybody gets to learn how to 04 ____ a meeting and how
to control the process. This also allows the person who usually 05 ____ the lead to sit back and
participate, letting others develop their 06 ____ LEAD skills as well.
The secretary takes notes (or the 07 ____ ) of the meeting in order to create a permanent 08 ____ .
These notes should document not only decisions that are made, but also objections that are 09 ____
raised / risen / arisen / aroused and ideas that are 10 ____ or rejected. The most important
requirement for this task is a persons ability to 11 ____ close attention to what is 12 ____ said,
rather than becoming involved in the discussion. It is best to rotate this role 13 ____ well.
The timekeeper keeps the meeting 14 ____ schedule, makes sure that all items 15 ____ the agenda
are discussed and lets people know when its time to make a decision and 16 ____ conduct /
transform / proceed / initiate to something else. Again, be sure to rotate this role.
#4 BEHAVIOURAL STYLES
assume, contrast, convene, hold, key

People often 01 ____ certain 02 ____ PREDICT characteristics and behaviours when they get together
in a meeting. This 03 ____ true whether the people know each other well, or are 04 ____ for the first
time. These behavioural styles affect the groups dynamics and play a 05 ____ role in how a group
accomplishes its goals. There are basically four behavioural types: tellers, sellers, dwellers and compellers.
Each of these 06 ____ styles 07 ____ achieves / attains / fills / takes a valuable function in the
course of a meeting. (....)

achieve, drive, heat, implement, penchant, take


(...)

Tellers are results-oriented people, with strong egos and a 08 ____ for leadership. They have the
answers and they dont refrain 09 ____ telling you what they are! They would expect you to accept
them and then move 10 ____ . Tellers are 11 ____ by time constraints, goals, objectives and results
they are not much concerned with process.
Sellers use 12 ____ PERSUADE to influence others. They are motivated not so much by results 13
____ by people buying 14 ____ the process.
Dwellers are 15 ____ PRIME concerned with accomplishing tasks 16 ____ HARMONY . They
care about whether or not they get 17 ____ with others. They dont like 18 ____ CONFRONT very
much and if discussions get a little 19 ____ , they tend to step 20 ____ and try to smooth things 21
____ . They are team-oriented people who avoid 22 ____ risks. Whereas the tellers are the ones who
tell everyone what to do, and the sellers convince everybody its a good idea, its usually the dwellers
that do what the team comes up 23 ____ .
Compellers are detail-oriented. Theyre the ones who sit around and pay very close 24 ____
ATTEND to details and to 25 ____ perfection. These people are quiet and like to work alone rather
than in a group.

In conclusion, the essential elements in every 26 ____ SUCCEED meeting are to be able to define the
goals and have the authority and the ability to 27 ____ decisions.

module C self-study
extra testing material
Carefully read the following texts and see how words work together in context, in terms of collocations,
fixed expressions (dependent prepositions, idioms, phrasal verbs) and word formation. Use the online
LDOCE (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English see the cover page of this unit for the web-link)
to clarify meanings and find more examples that illustrate typical usage.
THIS MODULE WILL BE USED FOR THE PARTIAL / FINAL TESTS!
TEXT 1
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/conducting-effective-business-meetings.html
TEXT 2
http://www.jobs.ac.uk/careers-advice/managing-your-career/844/holding-a-successful-businessmeeting/#1
TEXT 3
http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/cultural-services/articles/international-business-meetings.html