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. 


Worksheet82.28 KB

Language level

Average: 3.9 (27 votes)
Do you need to improve your English listening skills?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English listening skills with our online courses.

Submitted by Sajedeh on Fri, 13/12/2019 - 09:16

Hello, how can I download the podcasts?

Hello Sajedeh

It's a little tricky to do on phones or tablets, but on a computer, you can right-click on the audio player and then choose the 'Save As' option. The mp3 should then download to your computer.

Happy listening!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Magedelabd

Submitted by Magedelabd on Wed, 11/12/2019 - 15:53

Last week I had to discuss a problem on the phone , as a service manager for an automotive service center I had to tell the customer about a problem in his car and the coast to fix it as well and the customer complained about that and asked to fix the problem under warranty .

Submitted by nikisyazwani on Wed, 02/10/2019 - 18:47

I have completed the lesson for 'Office Party Planning'. The level I chose was Upper Intermediate B2.
Profile picture for user kamicounciler

Submitted by kamicounciler on Sun, 29/09/2019 - 17:19

last time i remember i had to discuss a problem on phone, was over a year ago , when i tried to convince an online shop customer service to give me back some part of money i had paid, because of a missing part in my delivery.
Profile picture for user AL-Mustafa

Submitted by AL-Mustafa on Sun, 23/06/2019 - 08:06

The last time i was discussing a problem , it was with my brother two days back . We want to rental an apartment or a house , but we can't found a nice place with good price .
Profile picture for user mehrazin

Submitted by mehrazin on Fri, 17/05/2019 - 07:32

Dear British Council Team the last time I had to discuss a problem with my old friend was a day before yesterday, when I had to tell him not to try thinking of a start up a relationship again. I tried to persuade him by both logical and rational reasons that the relationship is much more be annoying me tather than making me be refreshed. best wishes

Submitted by marcasti on Mon, 15/04/2019 - 20:31

The last time I had to discuss a problem on the phone was three days ago, with the TV operator in my city.