Business|Adults|Advanced|7. Describing relations


Answer the questions


1. In general, who do people have to build relationships with?

2. Where is building relationships more important for you — in life or at work?

Discuss the quotation


«lf you destroy a bridge, be sure you can swim.»

— African (Swahili) proverb



Answer the questions

1. You are in a room with a group of people who don’t know each other. Do you:

a) introduce yourself?

b) introduce a topic of conversation?

c) wait for someone to say something?

2. When you are introduced to people, do you remember their:

a) name?

b) face?

c) clothes?

3. On festive occasions, e.g. New Year, do you:

a) send greeting cards to everyone you know?

b) reply only to cards received?

c) send e-mails?

4. Do you think small talk is:

a) enjoyable?

b) a waste of time?

c) difficult to do well?

5. Do you prefer:

a) to socialise with colleagues only if you have to?

b) to socialise often with colleagues?

c) not to socialise with colleagues?

6. Do you like to have conversations with:

a) people who share your interests?

b) almost anyone?

c) people who are your social equals?



a) 2

b) 1

c) —


a) 2

b) 1

c) —


a) 2

b) —

c) 1


a) 2

b) 1

c) —


a) 1

b) 2

c) —


a) 1

b) 2

c) —

0-7 Building relationships is not easy for you. Communication is the key. Make the effort to talk to people about problems. Ignoring them won’t solve them, and practice makes perfect.

8-9 You are making the effort to build good relationships, but are you trying too hard? It might be better to spend more time developing the relationships you have rather than going out to meet more people.

10-12 Congratulations! You obviously enjoy good relations with many of your business associates. Can you use your skills to help those who work with you improve their business relations, too?


Listen to the recording. What factors does Gillian Baker mention?


Listen to the interview and check the predictions you made

Interviewer | Gillian Baker

Interviewer: Gillian, what are the key factors in building good business relationships?
Gillian Baker: I’d say one of the best ways of building a lasting relationship is to give the customer or supplier superior value and satisfaction. It’s all about not just meeting the customer’s expectations, but trying to exceed them if possible, If you satisfy and also delight the customer, this will produce greater customer loyalty, and that in turn will lead to a better company performance.
Let me give you an example. It was reported in a marketing book written by the famous American marketing expert, Philip Kotler. He gives the example of Lexus Cars. It’s well known that the manufacturer of this luxurious car makes immense efforts to satisfy their customers and exceed their expectations. Apparently, a customer bought a new Lexus car, and while driving it home, he decided to try out the radio. As he tuned in to some radio stations, he noticed that they were set to either his favourite station — music, news or whatever — or to his daughter’s favourite station — in this case, it was rock music. Every button was set to his or his daughter’s tastes. How did it happen? Quite simply, the mechanic who checked the car he’d traded in to buy the Lexus noted the radio settings. He then transferred these to the new car. Of course, the customer was highly impressed.
Interviewer: I see. so you’re suggesting customers will remain loyal to a company if it makes that extra effort to satisfy and if possible delight them?
Gillian Baker: Exactly.

Vocabulary. Describing relations

Complete the table below with these verbs, which are often used with the word «relations»

1. If something jeopardises relations, it puts them in danger.

2. If people resume/restore relations, they start them again after a period when they had stopped.

3. If people strengthen/cement relations, they make them stronger

4. If something sours/damages/undermines relations, it makes them worse.

5. If people sever/disrupt/break off relations, they stop them.

6. If people encourage/foster relations, they support communication.



Positive meaning | Negative meaning


build up relations  |  break off relations

Choose the correct verb in each sentence

More vocabulary practice


Match these sentence halves

  1. break off relations
  2. build up relations
  3. cement relations
  4. cultivate relations
  5. cut off relations
  6. damage relations
  7. develop relations
  8. disrupt relations
  9. encourage relations
  10. establish relations
  11. foster relations
  12. improve relations
  13. jeopardise relations
  14. maintain relations
  15. promote relations
  16. restore relations
  17. resume relations
  18. sever relations
  19. sour relations
  20. strengthen relations
  21. undermine relations

Listening. «Cadbury Cocoa»

Listen to the first part of the interview and complete this information about the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership

VSO — Voluntary Service Overseas — a UK charity working on aid projects in the developing world.

Alison Ward is Head of Global Corporate Responsibility at ‘Cadbury’, the chocolate maker.

Interviewer | Alison Ward

Interviewer: Can you tell us about the Cocoa Partnership and how it came to be developed?
Alison Ward: We launched the Cocoa Partnership in 2008, and it’s a £45-million investment into cocoa sustainability. But the inspiration for it came from a piece of research which was done in the UK and in Ghana. And we looked at what was happening to cocoa farms in Ghana, and cocoa in Ghana accounts for about 70 per cent of our cocoa-bean supply, so it’s an important country for us. We found that farmer yields were declining, and they were actually getting only 40 per cent. So, a 40-per-cent yield from the land, compared to what they could get — so a real gap between the potential of the land and what they were getting now. We also found that farmers were ageing. So the average age of a farmer is 50 — young people don’t want to become farmers in Ghana. And we also found … Through the research, we looked at the social aspect in the village, and it was clear that we needed to take some action in terms of helping people have a sustainable livelihood from cocoa. So, that’s really where the investment came from, um, and, already, we’re working with partners in Ghana, including the United Nations Development Programme, and then with social experts like Care, VSO and World Vision, to actually look at how we create, create action at a farming level in Ghana.
But there’s also a real commercial element to this because, quite simply, if we don’t have the beans, we don’t have the bars that, for our great chocolate brands around the world. So, it’s really important that this isn’t just a social programme, but it’s actually a commercial programme as well.

Listen to the second part and complete these extracts with one word in each gap

Interviewer | Alison Ward

Interviewer: What are the benefits for each side in this relationship, and are there consumer benefits, too?
Alison Ward: Well, we’re really proud that we’ve achieved Fairtrade certification for our Cadbury Dairy Milk brand, and that’s in the UK and Ireland, and Canada, Australia and New Zealand. So it means that people around the world can now make an ethical choice and know that the money, some of the money from their chocolate-bar purchase is going right back to farmers in Ghana. I was privileged enough, um, to meet some of the farmers from the Fairtrade co-operative and really saw the empowerment that trade had brought these women, um, and how that it was trade that was giving them a helping hand out of poverty. Fairtrade’s an interesting marque in that it’s not only very powerful in consumer markets — it’s very well-understood — but it also has great power back in cocoa-farming communities. And we’re really proud to be their partner and looking forward to really helping these farmers in Ghana as well.

Listening. «Cadbury Cocoa». Final part


Listen to the final part and answer these questions

Interviewer | Alison Ward

Interviewer: Are there other examples of Cadbury building long-term business relationships?
Alison Ward: We see partnership as part of the way we do business and we also have a great partnership with our milk farmers in the UK. We use fresh milk in our chocolate, and there’s a co-operative of farmers who supply only milk that makes our UK chocolate. We’ve been working with them on their carbon footprint, so that’s the metric that measures how much carbon is produced from, to make milk.
And we found in our Cadbury Dairy Milk bars that 60 per cent of the carbon footprint comes from milk. So, by working with this co-operative, we’ve begun to help them and help us make some changes in our supply chain. So that includes different type of animal feed, it includes investment, so that the lorry that brings the animal feed only delivers once rather than three times, and actually helping them really make some changes on their farms, so it’s more efficient. So our partnership spans not only for farmers in Ghana, but back into the UK and our dairy, dairy farmer partners in the UK as well.

1. What other partnership does Cadbury have?

2. What does Alison say about the changes in the supply chain with that partnership?

1. With milk farmers in the UK.

2. They have been working to change the animal feed, the investment and the way the feed is delivered to the milk farmers, in order to make the farmers more efficient and reduce their carbon footprint.

Complete the responses using the words from the box in the correct form


Choose the most suitable option

Example: To do business with someone, first you should try to (improve/establish/promote) a rapport.

Read the text and put the headlines in the correct places


Read the first part of the text (up to the first headline) again and find three verbs that are associated with relationship


Read the text again and mark the statements after the text as True or False

Business relationships can take many forms. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you obviously want to create good relationships with your customers or clients. You may also want to connect with other business owners for possible partnerships. If you are seeking funding, you will need to develop relationships with potential investors.

Young (or even older) entrepreneurs can benefit by finding an experienced mentor, another relationship that is necessary to cultivate. The type of people on this list will depend on your current situation and goals. There are, however, certain guidelines that hold true for just about all business relationships.

Networking vs. Relationship Building

The word «networking» is commonly used to describe the process of cultivating business relationships. There’s nothing inherently wrong with networking, but it often has the connotation of being manipulative and self-serving. It’s better to think of going to an event in order to meet people rather than to network. The latter carries the risk of making you wonder what you can get from other people, which others can easily sense.

Does this mean you should avoid networking events or social networking sites online? Of course not. It’s partly a matter of semantics, but the point is that you should be careful about getting too caught up in the networking mentality.

Build Relationships in Diverse Ways

The world has gotten quite complex. Today, when people think of building relationships, they often think of Facebook or LinkedIn. These can be very useful, but don’t neglect traditional ways of connecting with people. This includes your job (or previous jobs), extended family contacts, friends and local business-related events. You never know who you will meet at the gym, golf course, your local club or wherever you spend time.

Remember the six-degrees-of-separation principle. Even if someone you meet has nothing to do with your business or industry, he or she might know someone who could be a potential client, partner or investor. In many cases, it’s two or three degrees of separation rather than six. That’s why you should never be shy about discussing your business with anyone, even if they seem like the unlikeliest of prospects.

Focus on What You Can Contribute

his is probably the single most valuable tip when it comes to building quality relationships. It applies across the board, whether you are talking to a potential customer or someone you hope will mentor you. Most people have a tendency to be self-centered. This means that when you are talking about your plans, he or she is probably less interested in how brilliant you are than they are how you can help them.

Helping others is not always a tangible thing. When you are trying to sell a product or service, it’s fairly straightforward that you have to emphasize the benefits to the customer (though even here, many businesses fall short and spend too much time on extraneous matters). Even when the person isn’t likely to become a paying customer, you may be able to offer some value. This can be something tangible such as advice, help with a technical problem or a referral. It can also be something less tangible, such as a sympathetic ear.

Hone Your Social Skills

Some people are naturally great with other people. If you find it easy to meet new people and you have an outgoing personality, you have half of the battle won. Others have to cultivate these characteristics. You don’t have to be an extrovert to develop winning social skills.

Being a good listener is key. Resist the urge to dominate the conversation and find out where the other person is coming from. This principle fits nicely with thinking about what you have to contribute.

Another essential aspect of developing relationships is following up. If you never talk to someone again, any positive interaction you may have had is nothing but a pleasant memory. If you don’t already do this, develop the habit of exchanging contact information with the people you meet. Always ask the best way to contact him or her in the future. Then really follow up!

Make Relationship Building a Way of Life

For the most successful entrepreneurs, building good relationships is a lifelong pursuit. It has been said that you can never have too many friends. The same goes for customers, clients and partners. The key to creating great business relationships is enjoying the process.

Don’t get caught up in hoping that the next person you meet will solve all of your problems. Rather, think of ways to connect with all the people you meet, even if there’s no immediate gain involved. In the long run, this approach will empower you to build mutually beneficial relationships with all kinds of people.

Урок Homework Курс
  • Warm-up
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Vocabulary. Describing relations
  • More vocabulary practice
  • Listening. «Cadbury Cocoa»
  • «Cadbury Cocoa». Final part
  • Relationships verbs
  • Keys to building relationships 1
  • Keys to building relationships 2
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