How to Set a Meeting - Vocab

When you want to arrange a meeting, you might have to send emails or just speak to a number of people directly. Here are some common expressions to help you along the way.

call a meeting

This is a simple one to start with, just to remind you of the most common verb to use in this regard. It is another way of saying that you want to ‘arrange’ or ‘set up’ a meeting. Remember that you ‘host a meeting’ or ‘chair a meeting’ (more informal) if you are the person speaking and leading the discussion.


  • There are a lot of issues preventing us from achieving our full potential. I’d like to call a meeting to discuss them and hopefully to rectify the situation.

  • The HR Manager has called a meeting. She wants to go through the Health and Safety Policies again.

(some) outstanding issues

In this context, if something is outstanding, it still needs to be dealt with. Anything that is outstanding may be the reason for calling a meeting in the first place. Remember, however, that you might also get to the end of a meeting and find that some things ‘remain outstanding’.


  • I’d like to arrange a meeting for the 20th of this month, as there are some outstanding issues that I think need to be addressed. Here is a list of them: …

  • Good morning, everyone. When we meet for this evening’s meeting, we will be dealing with a few outstanding issues from last week. We need to get them cleared up before moving forward.

waste (of) man-hours

Although this term may sound sexist, we never say ‘woman-hours’. This is the same for terms such as ‘manual labour’ and ‘manmade’. No one likes to see time wasted, especially in business. Instead of saying ‘a waste of man-hours’, you could simply say ‘a waste of time’.


  • We won’t be proceeding with the production run we talked about last week. We have since weighed up our options, and have decided that it would be a waste of man-hours.

  • I don’t want to sit here and talk about things that don’t matter. Sometimes, these meetings are such a waste of man-hours.

face-to-face meeting

A ‘face-to-face’ meeting is a meeting in which people are physically in the same place, speaking to each other directly. This is often preferable to conference calls or video-conferencing. Sometimes, you will hear people dropping the word ‘meeting’, and just talking about having ‘a face-to-face’. Instead of this, you might like to say that you want to meet 'in person’.


  • I’d like to invite you all to our boardroom to have a face-to-face meeting. It’s been a long time since we sat down together and discussed our progress.

  • Okay, Tom, I need you to arrange a face-to-face with our new client. I hate doing these things over the phone.

get (to/around) the table

When you get someone ‘around the table’, you succeed in getting them to sit down with you or representatives of your company. It doesn’t have to be around a table - it could be in rows of chairs - but most meetings are.


  • It’s only been six months since we took on those truck drivers and now they’re looking for a pay rise. I want you to get them all around the table so we can figure out what this is all about.

  • It’s taken us a long time to get these manufacturers to the table, so let’s do our best to show them what we’re made of and secure a contract.

set (something) up

To set something up is to schedule it or make plans for it to happen.


  • I haven’t yet sat down with our new clients, and they need clarification on the contract. Can you please set something up for next Tuesday?

  • I need to get all of our suppliers around the table to go over their distribution schedules. You think you could set it up?

(a) sit-down

A ‘sit-down’ is generally a short, informal meeting between a small number of people - usually just two. Sometimes you can just say that you would like to sit down with someone.


  • I’d like to have a sit-down with you some day this week. We need to have a chat about your performance review.

  • I had a sit-down last week with your Line Manager. You and I should do the same. Let me know when you’re available.

take a rain-check

If you ask or tell someone that you need to ‘take a rain-check’, it means you can’t make it to the meeting or the arranged event, and in some cases you are asking for it to be rescheduled.


  • I’m afraid I’ll have to take a rain-check on the meeting we had arranged for Friday.

  • I got your email about the meeting, but I won’t be able to make it. Do you mind if we take a rain-check?

Don’t forget that these are just general expressions that you can use in any (generic) meeting. For more specific expressions, search our ‘Themed Expressions’ for subjects and topics of discussion.

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