Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you ever take a break during meetings?

In today’s episode, Michelle and Lindsay share how to say you want to take a break in a meeting in English.

Listen in to learn phrases to say you need a break during a long work meeting.

Take a break

Michelle asks Lindsay about taking breaks during podcast recording sessions.

They often record multiple episodes in one day so taking breaks is necessary.

If meetings are intense, a break can put your mind at ease and help you relax.

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Michelle answer a listener’s question which inspired today’s episode.

Hanurao has asked for more podcasts talking about meetings.

Lindsay and Michelle record a lot of helpful episodes on the All Ears English Business Podcast.

You can check out episode BE 191: Do You Coffee Badge? How to Talk About Your In-Office Routine.

Listen to that episode and learn why it’s not always wise to share your office routine.

Today, Lindsay and Michelle are going to talk about taking a break during a meeting.

Ideal meeting length

Michelle asks Lindsay what is an ideal length for a meeting and at what point a break would be needed.

Lindsay says that 30 minutes for a quick meeting may be enough.

This is ideal because attention spans are much shorter nowadays.

However, it depends on what you’re meeting about.

If a meeting goes beyond 45 minutes, a 5-minute break might be appropriate.

You can also consider the frequency of meetings.

The All Ears English team has a 90-minute meeting but they don’t take a break unless a team member requests one.

They’re always excited to see each other because it is rare that they all get together.

In terms of their podcast sessions, they take breaks as needed to grab a snack or quickly go to the bathroom.

It’s now time for a break

There are several ways to express that a break needs to be taken during a meeting.

This is especially important for supervisors or anyone leading a meeting.

However, you may also need these phrases if you are meeting with coworkers.

Here are some examples to use:

#1: Let’s take five

This often means taking a break for five minutes.

However, it can also mean 10 or 15 minutes.

This just refers to a short break and doesn’t mean exactly five minutes.


Lindsay: Ok everybody, take five!
Michelle: Thanks, I’m gonna grab a coffee.

#2: Let’s take a quick break

This is just what it sounds like.

It’s very straightforward.

It means you are taking a short break and will reconvene after a few minutes.


Michelle: Let’s take a quick break and reconvene at 1.
Lindsay: Perfect. Should we get lunch?

#3: Let’s take a few minutes to

This is also very straightforward.

You can be more specific with the time on this one.

For example, “Let’s take 30 minutes for lunch.”


Let’s take a few minutes to recharge before the next item on the agenda.

#4: Let’s take a breather

This is a good way to ask for a break when things become heated or intense.

It does happen when there are a lot of discussions.

There may also be arguments in meetings.


Michelle: Ok let’s take a breather. There’s coffee in the team room.
Lindsay: Thanks!

When to interrupt

There’s an art to knowing when to cut someone off.

You have to realize when planning a meeting that you should consider a good time to break.

This is especially vital if the meeting will be intense or will require a lot of communication and effort from attendees.

A good break is needed to be able to create more mind space and make the meeting more fruitful.

You also need to keep in mind when taking breaks that you should return on time.

Just like arriving at a meeting on time, it’s also important to return from a break on time.

This shows you respect the time of your colleagues.


Lindsay and Michelle share a roleplay using the phrases in today’s episode.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Michelle are in a meeting and Lindsay is the supervisor.

Lindsay: Ok, so that closes up that point. You know what? Let’s take a quick break. We can grab coffee and then start on the next item.

Michelle: Sounds good!


Remember that breaks are necessary!

If you have multiple meetings in a day, it is very important to pause for a while so you have a quick break to clear your mind.

You want to be your optimal self when you are in meetings.

This is important so you can give valuable input or feedback on the agenda.

If you are a supervisor, considering a break for your colleagues will make them feel you value them.

What other questions do you have about meetings?

Share more in the comments below.

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