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ESL Business Meetings Lesson

5 Tips For Dealing With Meeting Overload

Student Level


Video Length: 5:08

Updated on: 08/18/2023

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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ESL Business Meetings Lesson Description


This ESL lesson plan on business meetings contains activities, PDF worksheets, and digital materials for C1 advanced students. By the end of the lesson, students will develop skills that allow them to manage meetings more effectively, write better email subject lines when calling for meetings, as well as develop vocabulary skills in accepting or declining meeting invitations via email.


This ESL lesson on business meetings and meeting overload starts out by having students describe and answer some questions about an image of people suffering from meeting overload and looking bored, confused, and disengaged at a meeting. Students move on to some discussion questions about meetings and discuss whether they agree or disagree with certain topics about meetings. The first part of this lesson also contains a prediction-based exercise on meetings in which they assess a few email subject lines that call for meetings and share their thoughts on the effectiveness of these subject lines.


Students watch a video report about business meetings and meeting overload, answer some short questions about it, and do a matching activity about the five tips offered in the video. They then move on to a listening comprehension activity for detail by explaining these tips using some of the phrases in the video.


In the second half of the lesson, students discuss some additional questions about the video, and analyze a quote by the speaker about action verbs in the context of subject lines and calling for meetings. Students then try to use some action verbs in specific email subject lines when calling for a meeting, and discuss some etiquette tips for accepting or declining a meeting via email.


The final stage of this lesson on meetings, students write emails and email subject lines containing strong action verbs. They write an email to a colleague or colleagues calling for a meeting, and then students have to choose whether to accept or decline the invitation to the meeting using some of the tips they proposed in the prior stage of the lesson.

Benefits of using this ESL business meetings lesson plan and meeting overload:

This ESL lesson plan centered around business meetings and meeting overload could be useful in almost any Business English context, since meetings are such a vital and common practice in the workplace today, regardless of students’ professions. It provides practical language skills essential for effective communication when calling for meetings, and accepting or declining meeting invitations. The lesson plan directly engages learners with a common workplace challenge, offering plenty of discussion on the topic of business meetings and how to overcome challenges associated with them. 

Video Description

Could this meeting have been an email? The phenomenon of "calendar creep," where meetings completely take over your work days, is wasting time, energy and productivity -- but you can take back control. Leadership expert Cindy Solomon shares her five tips for clearing up your schedule and getting your calendar to work for you, not against you.

Lesson Activities


Work Meetings, Meeting Overload


Short Answers, Video Tips, Phrases, Prediction Check


Action Verbs, Email Subject Lines


Email Invitation Tasks, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Meetings, Meeting Overload

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