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Phrases for Group Discussions and Client Meetings

Posted On: March 5, 2022

Knowing and understanding how to use phrases for group discussion, team, and client meetings boosts your confidence as a global professional using English as a non-native speaker with native speakers. Using such phrases helps improve the flow and relatability of the conversation, making it sound more native and natural-sounding. In addition, your global native-English speaking teammates will build rapport with you quicker and you will sound more professional.

In this blog, you will find a list of phrases to use in various parts of your discussions or meetings. The phrases are organized by subject, section of meeting and appropriateness (if they are polite or impolite).

In addition, I have given tips on how to use certain phrases with US Americans, keeping in mind the tone or cultural context.  Keep in mind that while using English with US Americans, you will typically sound more polite when making requests into question using a question mark at the end. This is true for written English and spoken English. In the case of spoken English, ensure that you have a questioning tone.

The questions marked with double asterisks ** can also be considered coaching questions. Using these questions really inspire our colleagues to think and share from a deeper level.

 

130+ Phrases for Group Discussions, Team, and Client Meetings

 

8 Phrases for Asking for Ideas, Thoughts, Opinions – Polite

      1. Posing the question to a group:
      2. What else can be considered here?
      3. Does anyone have anything else to share?
      4. Shall we brainstorm some solutions here?
      5. Would anyone like to share …..?
      6. Have we missed anything? (What may we have missed here?)
      7. Is there anything else to add?**
      8. What has worked well in the past?**

(Keep in mind, a really good question to ask when opening the floor to questions is NOT, “Does anyone have any questions?” Instead, use, “Does anyone have anything else to share?” or “Would anyone like to add anything?” or similar phrases to increase engagement.)

 

9 Phrases for Posing a Question in a 1:1 Setting

      1. What do you think about…?
      2. Do you have anything else to add?
      3. What else can be considered here?
      4. Does anything else come to mind?**
      5. What else is surfacing?**
      6. How does this land for you?**
      7. What has worked well in the past?**
      8. Is there anything else to add?
      9. Based on your body language, it looks like you are in agreement/disagree?** (This is a coaching question which though it seems like it’s a sentence, it would have a questioning tone at the end.)

 

Asking Ideas, Thoughts, Opinions – May not always sound polite

      1. Kindly share your thoughts/ideas.
      2. Tell me what’s on your mind.
      3. I want your feedback on this.
      4. I need you to tell me what’s on your mind.
      5. I think you don’t like this./You really like this. (When we insert feelings on the behalf of someone else. We can ask them instead of assuming.)

 

15 Phrases for Sharing your own (or others) Ideas, Thoughts, Opinions – Polite

      1. After giving this careful consideration, I…..
      2. Based on my experience with this, I’d say…..
      3. I actually had a chance to talk to (name) about this since our last meeting. We had discussed…
      4. This is a really good question… I have not thought about it from this perspective before…..
      5. I have a hunch that if we do this….
      6. There’s a really good chance that if we do this… then this will happen….
      7. We actually had done this in a previous client project… in that project we noticed that….
      8. There’s no doubt in my mind that… (use when you are 100% sure…)
      9. I have some doubt that….
      10. It’s clear to me that…/I’m not really clear about…/I need clarity on…
      11. I’d really like to highlight that….. (when you want to emphasize something)
      12. I’m 100% convinced that…
      13. When thinking about this/When trying this out, we must keep in mind……
      14. Above all, we must keep in mind that….
      15. I tend to think/believe….

 

6 Phrases to Share your own Ideas, Thoughts, Opinions – Not so Polite

      1. If you ask me…
      2. As far as I can see/I’m concerned….
      3. It seems to me that….
      4. If you want my opinion….
      5. Let’s get this clear….
      6. Just let me say this…

 

5 Ways to Rephrase and/or Use When Forgetting/Trying to Remember What You Were Saying

      1. If I were to put this another way, I’d say that…. (use this when you start talking and then realize the audience is not understanding you by their body language, etc.)
      2. Let me back up here… (When you lose your ideas/train of thought, and have to start over)
      3. What I meant to say was…. (rephrase what you said before that statement)
      4. I think I wasn’t clear… what I meant to say was….. (Saying “I think you misunderstood…” can create defensiveness, so try to avoid you statements.)
      5. To put it another way, (rephrase, not repeat word for word)
      6. “jog (pronoun) memory” – That doesn’t seem to jog my memory. / What can possibly jog our memory here.

 

Bonus: Say, “Sorry, that slipped my mind. “When we forgot to do something with or for someone.

 

9 Phrases to Use When You Need Time to Collect your Thoughts/Can’t Respond Immediately

      1. That’s a really good question… while I gather my thoughts, would you/anyone else like to share their thoughts?
      2. It’s not occurring to me at the moment.
      3. Off the top of my head, I think…
      4. Gosh, that’s something I have never really considered before.. does anyone else on the team have any insights into this?
      5. Well… this is something new to me.. but If I were to consider this, I think we could…..
      6. That is a wonderful idea! I’d like to know more about how you came up with it!
      7. That point will actually be covered in the next section.. (when you get to that part of the presentation, call out that section by the person’s name “Jennifer, earlier you asked about XYZ, well… I’m about to dive into that now!”)
      8. That is a lot of good information- much of which could be new to many of us. I do like X about this… what I’d like to do is have all of us think about this between now and the next meeting so we can revisit it in the next meeting.
      9. While I have a little insight into this, it’s actually my manager who knows the ins and outs of this… she/he will be in tomorrow. (“Ins and outs” means the details.)

 

Restating an idea

      1. To put it another way….
      2. When we think about it from another angle….
      3. In other words,
      4. What I meant to say was… (note a second use for this phrase)

 

Phrases for Group Discussions, Team, and Client Meetings

 

12 Ways to Agree

      1. I couldn’t agree more.
      2. So true.
      3. I absolutely agree with (be specific about what it is)….
      4. I am on board.
      5. I think so, too.
      6. I don’t think so, either. (Use when another says “I don’t think so” in the moment you also don’t think so as well.)
      7. That’s a really good point.
      8. That sounds reasonable.
      9. That makes a lot of sense.
      10. I really resonate with….
      11. That reminds me of…. (connect it to a past or recent situation)
      12. I hear what you are saying…

 

5 Ways to Partially Agree

      1. While I agree with XYZ, I’d like to share…
      2. Yes, possibly, however, we need to keep in mind…
      3. I agree up to a certain point.
      4. Yes, however….
      5. While I’m not opposed to this, I tend to believe….

 

 8 Ways to Politely Disagree

      1. Though I can understand your approach with XYZ, I’d like to add…./I’d like to offer ….. (share the idea)
      2. I’m afraid that….
      3. I noticed that in one part of the discussion (topic) was mentioned, but later (topic) was mentioned. I am confused, as these two concepts seem to oppose each other.
      4. I need some more convincing on XYZ idea…
      5. I’m not quite convinced on XYZ idea….
      6. I’m curious about XYZ idea…. Can you share more insight into that?** (Use this when you don’t understand/agree.)
      7. On the other hand….
      8. I see this differently…./I see this a little differently because…

 

6 Ways of Disagreeing (not so polite)

(Notice that that some of these responses are questions, but these questions may not be considered polite depending on tone and context of the entire conversation. Avoid them in emails.)

      1. Do you really think so?
      2. That can’t be right…
      3. Are you seriously suggesting that..?
        You can’t be serious!
      4. Do you really think that’s a good idea?
      5. How stupid could you get? (Obviously this is offensive! In the US, the word “stupid” is taboo, even in families and among friends.)
      6. That’s out of the question.

 

How to politely tell someone they are wrong

 

Could be for agreeing or disagreeing

      1. I can see what you’re saying. In this case….
      2. That’s a good point. I’d like to add to that….
      3. Avoid statements with but as to most US Americans anything before a but is negated “I can see what you’re saying, but…”
      4. “There is some truth to what you are saying, but…” Try to break out the first part into it’s own sentence and start a second sentence, as suggested above.)

 

— How to push back with US Americans on everyday client calls for change requests, etc.

An analysis of different ways of saying NO to US clients 

Words and phrases to avoid using with US Americans or that have a different meaning between US English and Indian English

 

6 Strategies to Revise your ideas or thoughts…

      1. Yes, you are right, I had posed that idea last week. Since then, I had a chance to try it out. Now I realize it may not work for all situations because…..
      2. I used to think that way… I have changed my viewpoint because….
      3. Actually, I am now seeing this from a new perspective.
      4. Just a little while ago (in the same meeting), I had said (restate what you said), however, after listening to Jennifer, I had a breakthrough. After digesting her ideas, I now believe something different (say the new idea).
      5. Wow (name team member)! That’s amazing insight. I have never thought of it that way before. I totally see your point. I can support you on that.
      6. (Name)… I really like how you approached that… it’s from such a positive angle, it’s making me rethink how I approach this. Your insights are a real boost to our team morale!

 

5 Ways to Politely Interrupt

      1. If I could add…..
      2. Can I add in….
      3. Sorry to interrupt, but….
      4. Excuse me, can I share….
      5. If I may… (used by a colleague in South Africa)

 

More ideas on how to interrupt – phrases to use, phrases to avoid

 

7 Phrases to Use When You need clarity/Don’t understand

      1. I think I am missing something.
      2. Can we the first two points, but I missed the last point. Can we review that one again? (With US Americans, it’s best to call out the exact point you missed, else they may have thought you did not hear any points.)
      3. I understood that points 1, 3, and 4 relate to the current project as they (call out example), but I am unable to connect how the second point relates to the current project. Can we revisit the second point?
      4. I’m not quite sure I know what you mean when you say… (be specific)…
      5. When you say (restate or rephrase), does this mean that…(your interpretation)?
      6. If I understand correctly (rephrase something)… Did I get that right?
      7. I’m not quite sure I follow….

 

6 Ways to Ask to Repeat

      1. It is not recommended to always ask “Can you repeat?” especially on global teams, as people may lose confidence in the clarity of their speech/accent. Instead…
      2. Is it possible to go back to XYZ topic? I did not quite catch that part.
      3. I did catch the second point, but due to (a bad internet connection, coming into the meeting late), I missed the first point.
      4. Is it possible to recap it?
      5. I think I missed a crucial word or phrase when you were talking about…..
      6. I heard some names listed off for the committee including name, name, and name… Did I miss anyone?

 

Phrases for Presentations, Facilitating Discussions, Meetings

 

Starting Off

Today we are here to talk about….

 

8 Ways to be Inclusive or Include others

(It is very important to be inclusive, everyone should feel psychologically safe to speak up. Facilitators, group members should encourage everyone to share.)

      1. (Name of person who’s silent)… would you like to share?
      2. For those who’d like to share, but may not want to be public, feel free to share in private chat to me as the facilitator (for online platforms), I will address your comments without mentioning your name.
      3. (NAME), I know you have worked on this type of project before… (ask the question)….
      4. (Name) has done a super job on (be specific).. based on your experience with that project, what were your most important lessons?**
      5. (Add in someone’s name to give credit) Though I frequently handled the client calls, I would be amiss not to mention how
      6. (Name) supported me. Though (name) did not get a chance to attend the client calls, she often shared crucial insights and information that I relayed to the client….
      7. (Name), I know you successfully handled the last few client escalations, (name), can you share your experiences or insights that others would find interesting?**
      8. Earlier (name) was talking about… this is such a salient point, which I’d like to add on to…

 

There will be more to come. Of course, this is not completely comprehensive, but it should start you off in the right direction.

Jennifer Kumar, author facilitates coaching and training programs for non-native English-speaking teams working with US Americans. Check out our foundational program, Business English Seminar, or our mid-career level program, Managing Client Expectations. This list of phrases has been compiled based on Jennifer’s 10 plus years’ experience coaching, training and assessing thousands of non-US English native speakers to boost their leadership effectiveness on global teams. Jennifer specializes in working with software development teams to build cultural competency with US American culture to build your business and to retain and grow your client base. Contact her for more information.

 

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