Some of these phrases are similar to the ones in presentations so check that page for variations.
Note: checking the room, small talk and coffee is before the actual start.
Let’s get down to business.
OK, shall we make a start?
Right, let’s begin/ start/ go !
2. Welcoming and introducing
I’d like to start by welcoming everybody.
I’m happy to see everyone!
Thanks for attending/ being here/ on time
Firstly, I’d like to introduce…
Let’s go around the table and introduce ourselves!
Shall we do a round table?*
3. Apologies for absence
I’m afraid that… cannot be with us today because…
We/I have (received) apologies (for absence) from…
Xxx sends his/her apologies
unfortunately, xxx is missing today…
I would like to offer my apologies for ….
Sadly, it’s not possible for Jane to attend today…
Today’s meeting will last an hour.
We have x minutes, so I would like to spend x minutes on a, then x on b, ….
I hope our meeting will take / last [x minutes / no longer than x minutes]
We are scheduled to finish at / by 5pm (by = up to, possibly earlier)
I will / would like to speak for about…minutes.
I plan to speak for about…minutes.