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. 


Worksheet82.28 KB

Language level

Average: 3.8 (17 votes)
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Profile picture for user javibuendi

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.
Profile picture for user Hennadii

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.
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Sun, 16/08/2020 - 15:52

I think it was last month when I discussed a problem with my colleagues on a phone. Talking is quicker and easier than sending emails. ;)

Submitted by fahri on Sat, 15/08/2020 - 16:05

Dear team. From lesson Above. 'to source' means to find or locate something. The other: to source:to get something, especially products or materials, from a particular place: The question: Which one the true??? Thank you very much for your answer

Hi fahri,

Both of these definitions of source are correct. It can mean to get something, or to find out where you can get something. Also, the second definition is a bit more detailed than the first one. It's correct to say that it's usually products or materials that are sourced, in a business context.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by kbravoz on Wed, 22/07/2020 - 02:15

In the last question is ambiguous: when you say "that sounds like it might work", it's like you agree with the idea.