Office party planning

Office party planning

Listen to the conversation with an event planner to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



Ayako: Hello, sales department. This is Ayako speaking. How can I help you?

Sam: Hi, Ayako, this is Sam from Events-4-U. I'm calling about the piano you want at your Christmas party next month.

Ayako: Oh, good. It would be a great surprise to have one there for our boss for the night. He can play and it would be a great addition for the party. Have you been able to source one?

Sam: Well, yes, I have, but …

Ayako: But what?

Sam: Well, we're going to either have an issue with the logistics or the budget, or possibly both.

Ayako: Oh dear.

Sam: Well, we've found a baby grand piano, as you requested, and it's available for the date you want.

Ayako: OK, great. So what's the issue? Is it too expensive?

Sam: No, it's within the budget you gave me, so everything there is OK. But it's too wide for the entrance doorway into the building.

Ayako: Oh, I see. So what are our options? Could we dismantle it outside and reassemble it inside?

Sam: Er, no. Unfortunately, you can't really do that with pianos. But don't worry, I'm sure we can find some inventive solution.

Ayako: Do you have any ideas?

Sam: Well, we could hoist it up to the first-floor balcony. The door there would be large enough to fit it through.

Ayako: Great. That sounds like a good plan.

Sam: That would work, though it would increase the cost considerably as we'd need a crane, an extension on the insurance policy and probably two to three additional people to manage getting it successfully into the building.

Ayako: Oh, I see. Well, we can definitely stretch the budget by about ten per cent, but we shouldn't go over that. If we exceed the budget by more than ten per cent, then other areas of the party budget will have to be cut. And we don't really want that.

Sam: OK, so this idea won't work then. Sorry if I wasn't being clear. The considerable budget increase I was referring to would add a further fifty per cent. You know, cranes are expensive.

Ayako: Oh … um … OK. So what other options do we have?

Sam: Well, how fixed are you on the piano being a baby grand? Would an upright piano be an option?

Ayako: Hmm. I don't know.

Sam: It would fit through the door on the ground floor and cause fewer problems. I've also got the option on a really nice white vintage upright piano, with black design work.

Ayako: OK. That sounds like it might work. Could you send me over some photos of it?

Sam: I'll do it now, together with the rental and delivery information and costs.

Ayako: Great. Thanks, Sam. Let me think about it and I'll call you back later today.

Sam: Sure, no problem. I'll wait for your call. 

Task 1

Task 2


Worksheet82.28 KB

Language level

Average: 4 (46 votes)

Submitted by Diogo1606 on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 00:28

Well, I remember the last time I had to discuss a problem on the phone was something around two weeks ago. I was trying to solve a problem about a party I had paid but that I didn't want to go because the moment we're living right now isn't propitious to celebrate (with or without security measures).

Submitted by Saad786 on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 15:40

It was last month when school organized a trip. I discussed with my friends about our party food and drinks. It was better to discuss on phone rather than sending emails .

Submitted by Asni on Wed, 09/12/2020 - 22:21

Usually, I prefer to solve that kind of problems by going in person to the office, because phone calls are not ideal in such situations. Moreover, technical assistance might not be as good as expected or there might be some misunderstanding, and sometimes many calls are necessary to get your problem solved. Unfortunatley, I had an issue with my credit card a few months ago. As I wasn't in Spain, I had no choice but to try to fix it by calling the customer service of my bank. I admit I was extremely worried and didn't expect much from them, luckily, the assistance didn't meet my expectations and was very good actually. I could have my credit card working again in a short time and I was happy with the service.
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Submitted by DJ Singh on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 08:14

I don't like talking about problems on phone. In my opinion, it's just a waste of time if the person is not engaged in the conversation fully. Talking face to face helps humans to fully-in, in the topic they are discussing. But when it's really important and one has no options then only I prefer to discuss something really important.
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Submitted by danisep on Mon, 30/11/2020 - 23:34

I don’t remember when was the last time that I have a discussion by phone, I think that I’m not really good discussing I get upset easily so I just hung up when the other person explode or start to tell me lies or whatever. But how I read before in one comment and I agree that discuss by phone could be good because you can call immediately when the problem arise and get a quick solution.
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Submitted by javibuendi on Mon, 23/11/2020 - 10:19

I have never had to discuss a problem on the phone because I do not like talking on the phone, whether a discussion or a normal conversation. It drives me crazy. I rather to talk on Whatsapp or face to face, in the event we could. Cheers from Madrid.

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Mon, 26/10/2020 - 20:57

Last time, I had been discussing something on the phone, I was talking to my boss about a problem related to a project because it had a delay, so the timming schedule got some changes.

Submitted by zahid ali shah on Wed, 07/10/2020 - 09:29

I don't like to talk on phone but some time it is more important and necessary to use phone. Instead of calling I had proffered to texting someone if it is required.

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Thu, 01/10/2020 - 15:00

It is not a discussion by phone, the conversations trough the phone has been to convey any kind of information related to work or maybe about family or according to the time at the moment.
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Submitted by Hennadii on Mon, 21/09/2020 - 14:19

Well, telling the truth, I don't remember when exactly it was but, of course, I did it many times before. Now, when we tend to communicate with others by phone but not tet-a-tet, we mostly discuss everything this way. I think it's easier and harder at the same time. Harder, because you can't see the true reaction of your opponent. You can't be sure what he (or she) thinking truly. So you have to rely on the intonation and hope you get things right. It's funny but it's easier for the same reason. Your opponent can't see your face and your reaction. This gives you a chance to hide your emotions and manipulate the situation. Of course, video calls can easily ruin all this pretense but, hand on heart, how often do we use them? Another good point to discuss problems on the phone is an instance. If something has just happened, you don't need to wait for the face-to-face meeting. You can phone immediately to share your problems, discuss it and, maybe, get a solution as soon as possible.