In English we use many idioms. But what is an idiom? According to my Concise Oxford English Dictionary an idiom is ‘a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words’.
In most cases, particularly with some of the more informal idioms, I recommend that you avoid them when you are writing for business. In business writing we are often writing for someone whose native tongue is not English, and idioms can be a barrier to them understanding what we mean.
That said, there are some idioms which are used so often in business that they have become quite acceptable. In this tip we will look at some of the idioms and expressions that are in common use when we talk about meetings.
|To adjourn a meeting||To end a meeting|
|To call a meeting to order||To start a meeting|
|To call on someone to speak||To invite someone to speak, to give a meeting participant permission to speak|
|To carry a motion||To win acceptance for a proposal or idea in a meeting, usually through voting|
|To circulate the agenda||To distribute the programme of the meeting to participants before the meeting so they know what will be discussed|
|To defeat a motion||This happens when a proposal or idea does not get enough votes to pass. When a motion is defeated the proposed action will not take place.|
|Follow-up meeting||A meeting where participants discuss business that wasn’t completed at a previous meeting, or discuss new business related to an agenda item.|
|To have the floor||To have permission to speak, without interruption, during a meeting|
|To hold a meeting||To conduct a meeting|
|To put (or lay) something on the table||To present a matter for discussion at the meeting|
|To make (or table) a motion||To make a suggestion at a meeting that will be voted on by the participants|
|To move to do something||Another way of saying to table a motion.|
|To open a meeting||To begin the meeting proceedings|
|To be out of order||Used when someone does not obey the speaking rules of the meeting. For example, someone may speak when someone else has the floor.|
|Robert’s Rules of Order||A reference book that provides guidelines on how to conduct a meeting and a code of conduct. It has been adopted officially by some organisations.|
|To rule someone out of order||When the chairperson states that someone is not following the rules of the meeting|
|To run a meeting||To conduct or chair a meeting|
|To second a motion||To agree with a motion that is tabled. In formal meetings someone will move the motion and it will be seconded before it will be put to a vote.|
|To table a discussion||To postpone a discussion until a future meeting|
|To take minutes||To record the details of a meeting to create the official record of the meeting|