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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. 



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


Nowdays is widespread to solve our problems and not only problems, even happy moments on the phone. I think is faster than to talk face to face and if you`re shy is more easy for you. That`s modern way to solve our problems on the phone. But I think solve problem face to face is more real, you can see face expression,gesture.... even you can understand if the person in front of you is worry, shy, lie.... COVID change everything now :/

I was solved many problems on phone. When my friends feels any problems related to study they they call me and asked solutions for it. I liked to solve friend's problem. My friends appreciate my knowledge. In this time covid is very dangerous in my country. I'm sad to see this situation.

Kids shouldn't use a phone after10.00 pm....that's what I was told by my parents. :0

actually, nowadays we face problems daily because of the social distancing and we have to tackle them on the phone appropriately, so this requires patience and flexibility. Face to face is totally better as the communication is not just based on the tune of a person, but there other ways a person can explain his/her ideas in a perfect way such as mimics, gestures body movements. however, the phone is very helpful since it shortens and saves time.

As I read before in several comments I prefer to don’t solve a problem on the phone. I like to talk face to face. I think it’s the best way cause your corporal language can be a plus and you may feel more comfortable when you see the other person. Last discuss I had was one year ago. I had to solve a university problem. Unfortunately there was no solution then I had to go and solve it in person.

Well, erm...I always have to discuss something about a service or product because I work as a customer assistant, so it´s my day. When I have to solve the issue I listen actively to the client and try to offer the best option to him, even if I have to pass note to another department and takes time to reach an agreement. You have to be very patient...

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).

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 .

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.

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.