Exercise 1

1. Match a company training course from the list to 1-5 below.

Project management      Managing stress      Motivating employees

Communication skills      Time management

Personal development at work

Five training courses to help you achieve your personal and professional goals

1   …………………………… Take a step back and achieve a better work-life balance.

2   …………………………… Be a better listener and express yourself more clearly.

3   …………………………… Learn to speed read and deal with emails more quickly.

4   …………………………… Set your team clear goals and give them better feedback.

5   …………………………… Improve your organizational skills and meet your deadlines every time.

2. Listen to Scott Wesley, a sales director, speaking with different colleagues. Match extracts 1-3 to situations a-c.

 At the coffee machine ……

b   At an annual appraisal ……

 At a meeting ……

3. Listen again and answer the questions.

1   Why aren’t Scott’s colleagues happy with what he says?

2   What courses in 1 would you recommend for him?

Answer & Audioscript


1 Managing stress   2 Communication skills

3 Time management   4 Motivating employees

5 Project management


a 3   b 1   c 2



Conversation 1: He didn’t make the objectives clear a year ago.

Conversation 2: He didn’t tell the team in advance what he wanted from them for the meeting.

Conversation 3: He doesn’t have time to read a proposal that has to be sent this evening.

2   Possible answers

Course 2: to express himself more clearly (conversations 1 and 2)

Course 3: to speed read and deal with emails more effectively (conversation 3)

Course 4: to set clear goals and give better feedback (conversations 1 and 2)



Scott   Hello, Thierry. Come in and take a seat.

Thierry   Thanks.

Scott   Now, this isn’t easy for me to say, Thierry. Basically, I’ve been very disappointed with your performance this year in Eastern Europe. I was hoping for much better results in that region.

Thierry   Well, I’m surprised, Scott. You asked us to boost sales and we achieved that. 3% on last year.

Scott   Yes, but I really wanted to see 10%.

Thierry   Well, you never told me that when we spoke this time last year.


Scott   OK, everybody, we have ten minutes left. Can we talk about the South American market? Er … Freia, you were at the trade show in Mexico City last week. Can you tell us how it went?

Freia   Scott, I didn’t go to Mexico. I had to go to Spain last week. I told you about it in our meeting two weeks ago. Don’t you remember?

Scott   No, sorry, I don’t. Never mind. Uhm … Roberto. Didn’t you do a report on the South American market a few weeks ago?

Roberto   Yes, but I didn’t know we were talking about that today. I don’t have the figures here. They’re on my computer at home.


Scott   Hi, Maria. Would you like one, too?

Maria   Yes, please. Thanks, Scott.

Scott   The sugar’s right there.

Maria   Thanks. So, have you finished looking at that proposal?

Scott   Not yet. I’ve got to about page ten.

Maria   It’s just that I need your signature on it. I have to send it this evening.

Scott   Sorry, Maria. I’ve got so much to read at the moment. The sales managers have just emailed me their monthly reports. I think I’ll be here all weekend!

Maria   Well, before looking at those reports, could you just finish reading my proposal, Scott? It’s only about 15 pages in all.

Exercise 2

1. Read the advice on how to conduct an appraisal with an employee. Ignore the gaps in the sentences for now. Do you agree or disagree with the different points?


Advice for managers

 You …………… use your own office.

 You …………… do most of the talking.

 You …………… start with one or two questions about the employee’s personal life.

 You …………… give positive feedback first.

 You …………… discuss if the employee achieved last year’s objectives.

 You …………… offer constructive help when the goals haven’t been achieved.

2. Listen to a human resources manager giving a presentation on appraisals and compare the speaker’s advice with your opinions in 1.

3. Listen again. Complete the advice in 1 with the modal verbs from the list.

must      mustn’t      should      shouldn’t      could

Answer & Audioscript


1 No   2 No   3 Yes, especially if they are shy

4 Yes   5 Yes   6 Yes


1 shouldn’t   2 mustn’t   3 could   4 should

5 should   6 must


First, think about where the appraisal will take place. If possible, you shouldn’t use your own office, because employees sometimes find it difficult to talk easily.

The next thing to remember is that this is a two-way conversation between you and the employee. So you mustn’t do most of the talking, even if the person in front of you is very quiet or shy. If you know something about the employee’s personal life, you could begin by asking them about their family or a recent holiday, for example. This will create a positive atmosphere.

Now, when you begin to talk about your employee’s performance, you should start with positive feedback. You should look at their personal objectives for the last year, and let them say how they have achieved them. And if they haven’t achieved them all, you must discuss why this hasn’t happened and offer real, constructive solutions.

Exercise 3

1. Read about the problems Marek and Klaudia have at work and decide what advice you would give them.

MAREK KAMINSKI:   45-year-old Project Manager for a software company. Works 60-70 hours a week and is very stressed. Has too many projects to manage at the same time, all with difficult deadlines. His team refuse to work extra hours and his boss refuses to recruit another team member. His wife complains that she and the children never see him.

KLAUDIA WOJCIK:   28-year-old Sales Rep for an insurance company. In the job for five years. Excellent sales results. CEO promised her quick promotion when she arrived, but her boss says she’s too young to be a manager. Applied three months ago for the position of Sales Manager, but didn’t get the job. Her boss was on the interview panel, but the CEO wasn’t.

2. Listen to two experts talking about the problems in 1 and compare their ideas with yours.

Answer & Audioscript



Should try to take some holiday and spend time with his family

Needs to work on his management skills

Should ask for training in time management and managing people

Could hire a personal coach

Must talk to his team

Should set clear goals for his team


Should talk to her boss

She could ask him how to improve her promotion prospects

She could speak to the CEO, but she shouldn’t do this immediately

She could say she might leave



First, I think Marek should try to take a week or two of holiday and spend some time with his wife and children. It’ll also give him time to take a step back and think about the reasons for his poor performance.

When he returns to work, he needs to work on his management skills. First, he must learn to manage his own work better. He should ask for training in time management and managing people. It might be an idea to hire a personal coach.

Then he really must talk to his team. He should set clear goals for them, and each person should know that they are responsible for meeting their own deadlines. If they can do all that between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., that’s fine. If not, they will have to work longer hours.


Klaudia is young and successful. Maybe her boss, the sales director, is afraid of her. Or perhaps he just doesn’t want to lose his best sales rep. Klaudia should talk to him first because she needs his help to get a better job in the company. She could ask him what she can do to improve her promotion prospects. If it’s a question of training, he should offer it to her.

Another possibility is to speak to the CEO. She shouldn’t do this immediately because her boss won’t be happy. But if her boss doesn’t help her, she should tell the CEO that after five years in the same job, she would really like management experience. She could say that she would prefer to stay with the same company, but if it’s not possible, she will leave.

Exercise 4

1. Listen and match Conversations 1-3 to situations a-c.

a   You want to thank the speaker for a very interesting talk ……

b   Somebody has written a report for you but it still needs some work ……

c   Somebody has done some very good work for you ……

2. Listen again and complete the feedback in A and the responses in B. Then repeat the conversations with a partner.

I really ………… your talk. It was very ………… . Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you ………… it.
You did a really good ………… . Well …………! That’s good to ………… .
I can see you worked really ………… on this. You’re on the right ………… . It ………… needs a few changes. Not so …………, then. What do you think needs to be changed?
Answer & Audioscript

1   1 a   2 c   3 b


A: enjoyed, helpful, job, done, had, track, just

B: liked, hear, bad



A   Thanks very much. I really enjoyed your talk. I learnt a lot from it. It was very helpful.

B   Well, thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you liked it.


A   Have you had time to read the proposal?

B   Yes, you did a really good job. It’s very clear and you made a lot of interesting points. Well done!

A   That’s good to hear. Thanks very much.


A   I can see you worked really hard on this.

B   Yes, but I’m not sure it’s what you wanted.

A   Well, not exactly. But you’re on the right track. It just needs a few changes here and there.

B   Not so bad, then. What do you think needs to be changed?

Exercise 5

1. A quality manager is talking with a business coach about a problem of motivation in his team. Listen and number points a-c in the order they are mentioned.

a   Getting positive feedback for work you have done ……

b   Having new challenges ……

c   Understanding how your job helps the company to achieve its objectives ……

2. Listen again and match suggestions 1-6 with responses a-f.

1   Why don’t we start with motivation?

2   You could explain the value of their work.

3   You should always give feedback.

4   I suggest you send each person an email.

5   What about introducing a team project?

6   Shall we talk about how to put them into practice?

a   Well, I’m not sure about that.

b   Yes. Let’s do that.

c   Good idea.

d   Yes, that might work.

e   I don’t think that would work.

 Yes, that’s not a bad idea.

Answer & Audioscript

1   a 2   b 3   c 1

2   1 c   2 d   3 a   4 f   5 e   6 b


A   Tony, can we talk about your team in more detail? Why don’t we start with their motivation for the job?

B   Good idea. Well, their main objective is to keep the rate of defective products at 1% or lower. That always motivated them before, but not now. I don’t understand why.

A   Do they know why that 1% rate is important?

B   What do you mean?

A   Well, do they understand the importance of quality for the company, and especially for the customer?

B   Well, perhaps not. Not the younger members of the team, anyway.

A   You could explain to them the value of their work in terms of customer safety, for example.

B   Yes, that might work. So the idea that good quality can save lives?

A   Yes, exactly. We’ll come back to this, but let’s talk about the different tasks they have to do. Would you describe any parts of their job as boring or repetitive?

B   Let me think … well, they sometimes complain about the reports they have to write every Friday. But it never takes more than an hour, often less. It’s just a summary of the week’s quality issues.

A   And what do they do with that?

B   They email it to me, but I don’t always have time to look at it.

A   Ah, that’s not good. You should always give feedback or show appreciation when somebody’s done some work for you.

B   Well, I’m not sure about that. It takes a long time to read all those reports. And it’s not necessary to read them immediately – they’re for future use if we have a quality issue.

A   Then I suggest you just send each person an email to say ‘thank you’, even if you haven’t read them. It’s much better than no response at all.

B   Yes, that’s not a bad idea. It is nice to know that somebody has looked at your work.

A   Yes, it is. Tell me, Tony, does the team have the chance to work on special projects sometimes? Something a little different?

B   No, not really. Maybe that’s part of the problem. Basically, they do the same things every week.

A   One possibility would be to give them a new challenge. For example, what about introducing a team project to reduce the defect rate to … say … 0.5%?

B   Zero point five? I don’t think that would work. It’s too difficult to achieve, but 0.7 or 8 might be possible. Yes, I think that could motivate them. My boss would be very happy too if we achieved it!

A   All right, I think we have some useful ideas there. Shall we talk about how to put them into practice?

B   Yes. Let’s do that.

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