Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Missed a meeting recently?

Need someone to catch you up on what you missed?

Today you’ll learn the vocabulary you need to share the reason you didn’t turn up.

When missing scheduled meetings and appointments in the workplace, you need to be prepared to share your reason.

Missing a meeting?

Michelle asks Lindsay if she has ever missed a meeting or been late for an appointment.

Lindsay shares that this is inevitable for everyone.

Business is fast-paced and unforeseen circumstances are always coming up.

There are things that are out of one’s control, and life is unpredictable.

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Michelle share an important skill you need in the business world.

Missing meetings can happen to anyone.

You need to have the vocabulary to share what went wrong or to ask a colleague to catch you up on what you missed.

You can check out episode BE 265: Late on a Deadline? How to Ask for an Extension in English which shares what you can say when you miss a deadline.

Vocabulary to use

What can you say to a co-worker when you miss a scheduled appointment or discussion?

Here are some terms and phrases to use if you’ve been late or missed a meeting.

#1: Up to speed

We use this phrase with the verbs ‘get’ and ‘bring’.

  • Can you bring me up to speed?
  • I need to get up to speed.

This is a great phrase when you’ve arrived midway through a meeting, and you want to know what you missed.

You have to be strategic when you ask this since you don’t want to disrupt the flow.

You can ask during the break or even after the meeting.


Can you bring me up to speed? I missed the first ten minutes of the meeting. I’m a little lost.

#2: Catch me up

This may sound grammatically incorrect, but this is a common saying that means you want to know what you missed.

It means you want a quick briefing of what they’ve been talking about so far.


Okay, so I couldn’t make the conference call because I was meeting with our donors. Can you catch me up on what I missed?

#3: Give me the summary

This is a straightforward way to say you just want to know what you need to know.


Lindsay: I took notes for you.
Michelle: Okay, give me the summary.

#4: Give me the Cliff’s notes version

Lindsay and Michelle share that this may not have a translation in other languages.

Cliff’s Notes are summaries of English literature.

This expression means you just want the highlights of the meeting.

You are asking for only what you need to know.


Michelle: I can meet with you for twenty minutes to go over what you missed.
Lindsay: It’s okay. Just give me the Cliff’s Notes version.

How to cover what you missed in the meeting

Michelle asks Lindsay what is her favorite from all the phrases and expressions mentioned.

Lindsay responds that she likes the phrase ‘give me the Cliff’s Notes version.’

Michelle agrees and mentions that the first two examples, ‘catch me up’ and ‘bring me up to speed’ are more of a request for details you’ve missed.

On the other hand, ‘give me a summary’ and ‘give me the Cliff’s Notes version’, we are sharing that we only need the important parts.

Lindsay and Michelle share that these phrases also help at school.

If you miss a class, use these to get help from someone who takes good notes in class.


Here is a roleplay from Lindsay and Michelle using the examples shared in today’s episode.

This can help you use the terms and expressions in an actual English conversation in the workplace.

In this scenario, Michelle and Lindsay are coworkers and Lindsay missed a meeting.

Lindsay: Hey Michelle.
Michelle: Hey! We missed you at the meeting.
Lindsay: I know I can’t believe my train didn’t arrive in time.
Michelle: Too bad.
Lindsay: Well, can you bring me up to speed?
Michelle: Yes. There was so much covered.
Lindsay: Okay, how about give me the summary?
Michelle: Yeah! I can catch you up.
Lindsay: Yeah, just give me the Cliff’s Notes version.
Michelle: Haha okay!


These are really useful tips so that you can catch up on something you missed.

With these phrases, you have options.

This way you can communicate how much information you need to know.

You may only need an overview of what updates are relevant and important to you.

This is a good opportunity to build rapport with a team member that has your back.

Having a good professional relationship is key in having a harmonious work environment.

Have you ever missed a meeting in the work place?

Share it in the comments.

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