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Episode 01

Philip is the CEO of WebWare, an IT company. He needs to hire a new sales director as soon as possible.

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises. You can also read the transcript.


Philip: You what? What do you mean? You've lost the DollarMart contract? Oh, Brian, tell me you're joking! That's our biggest contract and you've lost it! OK ... OK ... yes, I know you've had some personal problems recently. Yes, sure ... yes, I know our competitors have improved their offer, but really, Brian, these are just excuses. Oh, Brian, come on – you failed to meet agreed targets for the entire last quarter. We talked about this in your last performance review and I told you then it had to improve, and to be quite honest – it hasn't. Losing the DollarMart contract is the last straw. No, I'm sorry, Brian, that's it. That's your last chance. I'm going to have to let you go. Let you go. Yes, that's what it means, Brian. You're fired.

Hi, Jess. Can you put me through to Marcia in HR, please? Thank you.

Hi, Marcia. It's Philip here. Listen, I've had to let Brian go. He lost us the DollarMart account. Yeah, but it had been going on for a while, and he just wasn't pulling his weight any more. He'd been warned. His last performance review was really bad. He knew it was coming. So, we'll be looking for someone new and we'll need to decide on who that is. 

Who are we looking for? Good question. I was hoping you might be able to help me with that! Here's what I'm thinking and let me know if you agree. Well, obviously, they'll need to have a first degree. Doesn't matter what subject. And then a master's or an MBA, I'd say. 

Experience? At least five years' relevant experience in an international company. I want somebody with a proven track record. Oh, they have to be a team player – Brian never was – so strong interpersonal skills. Oh, and I want someone with vision ... yes, 'vision'! Well, I know it’s difficult to define. What I mean is, someone who knows we're in a rapidly changing market, and they can use it to our advantage.

Experience with online sales, perhaps but ... yes, I'd be interested in that. Oh, language skills. I can't emphasise that enough. Not necessarily a native speaker, but they must be very good at English. And another language as well – Spanish, or Mandarin is best.

Does that sound OK to you? Great. OK, can you get an ad out on the website as soon as possible? Oh, and the trade press as well. OK, great. Thanks, Marcia. I want a new sales director by the end of the month. Bye!



Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


Hello Diana,

It can be difficult to put our thoughts into words sometimes, even in our own native language. I would give you two general pieces of advice here.

FIrst, try not to become too stressed about speaking as this will only increase the difficulty you have. It is quite natural to forget things and to get mixed up. Speaking, even in our own language, is chaotic and usually unplanned. Don't expect perfection and don't get frustrated when you have problems. Concentrate on making yourself understood, even if the language is imperfect.

Second, remember that fluidity is not the same as fluency. Fluidity is the ability to speak quickly and smoothly, making the sounds without dificulty. Fluency also includes the ability to express particular ideas. You can develop fluidity with recorded texts. Try using the transcript that we provide with our recordings and reading aloud with the recording. This will get you used to producing sounds at speed and also get you used to the rhythm of natural speech. When I learn a language I speak to my pet dog all the time. He is very patient and understanding and he never corrects me, and I can develop confidence and speed so that when I speak to other people I can do so much more fluently.

I hope those suggestions are helpful. For more advice, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page, which has tips on various aspects of English, including speaking.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Good evening!
I understand almost all the English conversations I listen to, however when speaking I face so many problems with speaking confidently and I get confused. I forget the words, the words orders in the phrase, at the end I usually try only to find a way to get rid of the conversation.
How could I deal with this situation?
What advices you suggest me to develop my vocabulary?
Thank you in advance.

Hello Abdelkerimkhalid,

It sounds to me as if spending regular time listening to spoken English might be useful for you. Even if you can only afford to spend 15 minutes two or three days per week, you can still learn a lot from this.

Try to eliminate distractions and make notes on phrases, sentences or expressions that you think are useful or that you want to incorporate into your speaking. Then spend a minute or two repeating them to yourself until they become easier to say. As you go about your day, whenever you find yourself in a situation in which the expressions you've studied could be useful, use them. Even if you're not speaking with someone in English, say the words in English to yourself.

If you listened to some of our audio or video resources, you could print out the transcripts and simply underline the phrases or expressions that you want to work on (instead of writing them down). Take small steps -- even if you only remember one new phrase per session, over time you will improve your vocabulary greatly, which will help you in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

I hope this helps you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello LearnEnglish team,
Sometimes I face with some sentences which are a little bit confusing and strange to me. For example in this video Philip says: 'I’m going to have to let you go'.
Why he doesn't simply say: 'I'm going to let you go' or 'I have to let you go' ?

Hello RezAref,

By saying 'have to', Philip suggests that he has no choice -- the situation requires him to let Brian go. By saying 'going to' he is a bit more indirect, which is a common way of being more polite in English. For example, we can say 'Can you help me?', but 'Could you help me?' ('could' being a past or conditional form of 'can') is more polite.

Brian doesn't quite believe it and so Philip has to say it directly in the end.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, why is used "a masters" ? Isn't it correct to say "a master"?
Thank you.

Hello Cinzia,

This is short for 'master's degree'. It is extremely commonly used. Saying 'master' means something else (something like an 'expert') and wouldn't be correct here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

can we use,
I told you should to improve
instead of
I told you then it had to improve

Hi Anwr,

The sentence should not have 'should to':

I told you to improve.


I told you that you should improve.


This would mean that the person has to get better - in other words, they have to improve themselves (their performance, their work etc).

If you want the person to make something better then you would have an object:

I told you to improve it.

I think this is probably the sentence you are looking for, but it is hard to be sure without knowing exactly what you are trying to say and in what context.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

thanks for explanation