Professionals Podcasts - Achievement

Listen to this speech given at a party being held for the retirement of an employee, James Dawson. The managing director of the company delivers a speech outlining James's achievements.

Do the Preparation task first. Then listen to the audio. Next go to each Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the transcript at any time.


Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


thanks for this article and audio script.I've learnt a lot of new vocabulary

I can really recomend this exercise.

A very good activity for learning some business words.

Great activity! But who is James Dawson?
We know a lot about him, though we don’t hear him.  We realized that all the people who have come appreciate him so that they speak instead of him.
In this post I want to understand who is actually James Dawson based on article’s facts.
What we get to know firstly is that he is ambitious person and that he worked on his way up to career ladder over the years, finally becoming  vice president. He had started as an administration officer in account department and has been striving for years to vice president position. So, he must have been vain and ambitious men to achieve this aim.
In spite of these facts we can notice that he has a lot of friends there in company – we can hear crowd voices behind. Some of them have been working with him for many years, other ones have joined later.  We must admit here – he must be very friendly person.
But what about difficulties which he faced in hard times? We know that he was one of the lucky man who didn’t lose his job when company setback because of falling through with rival merge. Some people were redundant. Of course we don’t know how he could keep his job, we can just speculate that he might have been very sly. That might have helped him, but again – nobody knows.
Although he might have negative characters, he also has a positive ones. He got a key player in company during struggle for Europe market in eighties. Everybody agreed that his immaculacy timekeeping and organization skills helped company to built accurate action plan to became one of the leading company in Europe.
His other strengths like good negotiating and presenting skills were factors of company success. His participation in rival company takeover brought turning point to their company. Despite all the obstacles, he made their company succeed.
Of course all these achievements couldn’t be possible without hard working. It is absolutely clear that James is a hard working person and what is most important he a good manager at the same time. As we can hear, he always acknowledged other people’s efforts and their dedication.
In conclusion I would say that James is a great person and to tell a truth I admire him. I would like to have the same career, struggles and rewarding eventually.
Great job James!

good activity but voice of the speaker sounded very unpleasant to me, as well as her manner to combine breathing with high loud noises

I didn't find the third exercise very meaningful. Besides there is a mistake in it. In the expression "to fall through", "through" is an adverb not a preposition. One does not expect to find mistakes like this in material produced by the British Council.

"through" is a preposition as well as an adverb, isn't it?

ı think it is more like a preposition rather than its being an adverb

In reply to Adnandas and Shinaa: "through" can be a preposition or an adverb. In the sentence: "Our plans fell through" it's an adverb. In a sentence like: "He fell through a hole in the roof"  it's a preposition.  If you want to know whether a word is an adverb or a preposition, try placing a noun after it. (A preposition always governs a noun.)  For example, in the text of the podcast, the plans didn't fall through something (like a hole or a gap) they just fell through, i.e. they failed. Therefore in this sentence through is an adverb. Anyway,  let's ask the British Council to settle this for us. After all, they wrote the exercise.
Best wishes

Hi guys

I'm afraid I can't represent the combined knowledge of the British Council but I'll happily tell you what I think. I would always call through a preposition. I think that the most important thing to remember here is the phrasal verb 'to fall through'.

I appreciate that through is sometimes used as an adverb - but I think it is still a preposition. When it is being used as a preposition, it is still part of an adverbial phrase so I don't think it's helpful to discriminate.

We are thinking of employing a full time grammarian to answer questions on the site and if we do, I'll ask him or her to comment.


Jack Radford

The LearnEnglish Team