Business|Adults|Intermediate|16. Organising a conference

Useful language

Introducing people

🔹Jurgen, this is Lisa.
🔹Anita, do you know Ian?
🔹Have you met Mauro?


🔹Yes, I’d love to.
🔹Thank you. That would be very nice.


🔹Pleased / Nice to meet you.
🔹Good to see you again.

Making small talk

🔹How’s business?
🔹We’re having a great year.
🔹Have you heard about….?
🔹How are things?


🔹Could I use your printer, please?
🔹Do you mind if I take a map?


🔹Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.
🔹I’m afraid I missed the name of your company.


🔹Would you like to have dinner with us tomorrow night?
🔹How about coming to the Cabaret Club with us?

Refusing politely

🔹I’m really sorry, but l’m meeting a client then.
🔹Thank you very much for asking, but I’m afraid I can’t make it tomorrow.


🔹Thank you for the meal. It was really good.
🔹Thank you for a lovely evening.
🔹I had a great time.


Choose a more suitable response to each of the expressions


This conversation takes place over a business lunch. Rearrange the lines into a logical conversation

Example: — The menu looks interesting. What’s the salmon like here?


Complete the chart with the information about the company

A multinational is choosing the best location for its next sales conference


Global Food and Drink Corporation (GFDC), a multinational company based in Dubai, is holding an international conference later this year. The Chief Executive, senior managers from the head office and about 100 managers from its overseas subsidiaries and sales offices will attend. The aims of the conference, in order of priority, are to:

  • discuss how the company can improve its products and services;
  • thank managers for their hard work;
  • give managers the opportunity to get to know each other better.

The conference will take place in July. Participants arrive on Thursday evening, have a free day on Friday and leave on Monday morning. The budget is $4,000 per participant.


Listen to two colleagues in the marketing department planning the future conference. Make notes about the key features the conference location must have

Ahmed: It’s not going to be easy to please everyone, Kate. What are the most important things, do you think?
Kate: Actually, I’ve made a list of things we’ll need. Shall I go through it with you?
Ahmed: Yeah, go ahead.
Kate: Right, well, we’re looking for a hotel that’s good value for money. It’s a priority for us, because we’ve got to keep costs down. The conference centre must have a really big room for, say 100 people, because there will be some presentations that everyone must attend. And we’ll need at least four meeting rooms. We’re going to have quite a few workshops and training sessions, as we usually do.
Ahmed: Yes, and the meeting rooms will need to be quite big, Kate, with enough room for, say, 25 participants — even more if it’s a popular session.
Kate: Yeah. Good point. We have to think carefully about the location for the conference, if possible, it shouldn’t be too far away from an airport. Most people will be arriving by air. We don’t want them to have problems finding the hotel, like they did last year. A shuttle service from the airport to the hotel would be a plus, don’t you think?
Ahmed: Yeah, but not all hotels offer that facility.
Kate: True. One other thing, it’s important that the centre has good leisure facilities. We want staff to enjoy themselves as well as take part in work sessions. Don’t forget, they’re free on Friday and they could also have some free time early on Monday as well.
Ahmed: Right. We certainly don’t want them to go away complaining they didn’t enjoy themselves or have enough time to buy presents for friends and relatives.
Kate: Yeah. There’ll be a gala dinner on the Sunday evening. They should enjoy that. It’ll be an opportunity for everyone to relax, do some networking and meet colleagues from all over the world.

Read the information about the venues

Read the results of the questionnaire

The marketing team sent out a questionnaire to find out what type of venue the participants preferred. They have selected four to choose from (see below).

Preferred location

  • Seaside 31%
  • City 28%
  • No preference 6%
  • Rural area 35%


Role-play the situation

You are members of GFDC’s marketing department.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each hotel as the venue for the conference.
Rank the hotels 1-4 (1 = the most suitable hotel for the conference, 4 = the least suitable).

Useful language

Stating an opinion

🔹In my opinion…
🔹The way I see it…
🔹According to…
🔹If you ask me…
🔹On the one hand
🔹On the other hand
🔹Speaking about…

Asking for an opinion

🔹What’s your idea?
🔹How do you feel about … ?
🔹What do you think?
🔹Do you agree?

Expressing agreement

🔹I agree with you 100 percent.
🔹That’s so true.
🔹You’re absolutely right.
🔹I suppose so. / I guess so.

Expressing disagreement

🔹I don’t think so.
🔹I’m afraid I disagree.
🔹I totally disagree.
🔹No, I’m not so sure about that.


Watch the Case study commentary. Do you agree with Ros Pomeroy?

Ros Pomeroy has worked in business, in the UK, Mainland Europe and Asia Pacific in a variety of areas, including sales, business strategy, human resources and most recently workplace consultancy and change management. She has an MBA from the London Business School and is a trained executive coach.

Interviewer | Ros Pomeroy

Interviewer: Ros, what are the most important considerations when choosing a conference location?
Ros Pomeroy: There are three types of considerations for any conference organizer. Firstly, the practical, the venue itself, its quality and the service provided, the location, the distance to travel, the capacity of the venue, and, importantly, the cost. The second type of consideration is about whether the venue is a place that will allow the objectives of the conference to be met. So, in this example the conference objectives are to allow networking, to allow people to discuss the marketing strategy of the company, and a reward and «thank you» for the employees, for all their hard work. And the third type of consideration is what is it that the venue symbolizes. So, what message does it say about the company and its ambitions, what is it saying to its employees. So, as an example, if a company is looking to find ways of becoming more efficient or save costs, then staging a conference at a very luxurious and expensive hotel would symbolize the wrong things.
Interviewer: What do you think of each of the possible locations?
Ros Pomeroy: Well, starting with the SeaGreen Hotel in Florida, I think it goes well on practical factors, such as location, capacity, facilities and cost. And the fact that there is no airport shuttle, I think, can be easily overcome by arranging transport independently. The second possible venue, which is the Bamboo Conference Center in Macao, in South-East China, is also good on practical considerations. And Macao is part of an emerging market. Discussing new products and services in a market like this would be important for the company. The Hotel Port Ouvert in Monaco looks like a good place to reward and thank staff but the cost is right at the limit of the budget, which doesn’t allow for any extras. And the conference hall has a capacity of more than five hundred which is in fact too big for this event. And, finally, there is the Hotel Stefenburg in Sweden which has a very different feel to it. If the objective of the conference is to get away from it all, to provide time for relaxation and also to spend a lot of time discussing the business objectives and the marketing strategies of the company, then it could be a good option. If all the delegates are golfers then they will value the leisure facilities which might be enough to outweigh the big disadvantage of the distance from the airport.
Interviewer: Which location would you choose and why?
Ros Pomeroy: Well, I would choose the Bamboo Conference Center in Macao, and there are three sets of reasons for this. Firstly, the practical factors. The location is close to the airport, the cost per delegate is well within the budget, so there’s room for extras. And the conference hall itself is large, but not too large. The second set of reasons are to do with the objectives of the conference being met. So, the leisure and the shopping facilities are a good way of thanking participants for all their hard work. The dining hall will be available only for the delegates themselves, which gives them an opportunity to meet informally with their colleagues and to network. And there are a number of smaller seminar rooms which allows for group discussions to take place to discuss business strategy. And the third reason is about the location in China which is a fast growing economy and will be important for the company to consider when it discusses its product and marketing strategy.

Complete the extracts from the conversations with the words from the box. You will not need all the words


Listen again and practise the dialogues

— David, have you met Elisa Vasconcelos?
— No. Hello, Elisa. Nice to meet you.

— Jameel, do you know Sylvia?
— Yes, of course. Hi Sylvia, good to see you again.

— How do you do? My name’s Ralph Karsten.
— Nice to meet you. Mine’s Brendan Lenihan.

— How are things?
— Fine thanks. It’s good to be here.

— Can I get you something to drink?
— That would be nice, thanks. I’ll have some fruit juice.

— David, have you met Elisa Vasconcelos?
— No. Hello, Elisa. Nice to meet you.

— Jameel, do you know Sylvia?
— Yes, of course. Hi Sylvia, good to see you again.

— How do you do? My name’s Ralph Karsten.
— Nice to meet you. Mine’s Brendan Lenihan.

— How are things?
— Fine thanks. It’s good to be here.

— Can I get you something to drink?
— That would be nice, thanks. I’ll have some fruit juice.

Read the article from the Financial Times and do the task below


How golf appeals to blue-chip sponsors

Jill James

The current popularity of golf is matched by the number of companies who want to sponsor the game. Banks and motor manufacturers are two big business sectors that have invested billions of dollars in sponsorship. Honda, Ford, Chrysler, Buick, Nissan and Mercedes all sponsor PGA tournaments. BMW and Volvo feature on the European Tour. Elsewhere, HSBC, Barclays and RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) have all built on their initial involvement and sponsor either Asian or European tour events.

Even smaller companies are getting involved. OKI Printing Solutions, sponsors of Portsmouth Football Club, decided to enhance its profile in the golf market by announcing a sponsorship of the OKI Castellon Open de España Senior on this season’s European Seniors Tour.

Buick created one of the biggest splashes in sponsorship history in 1999 when it signed Tiger Woods for a reported $20m to $25m for five years. And that was mainly to have its company name on his golf bag. The company says it was definitely worth the money and is sponsoring his current contract.

Businesses sponsor golf competitions for publicity and to attract certain client groups to their products. Golf is still a game played by relatively wealthy people. And that is the main commercial attraction for most companies.

RBS says: «Research has shown golf to be the closest to our key target audience of executive-level business people in our geographic priorities of the US and the Europe/UK, and more recently the Asia Pacific countries. Golf was chosen as the only «global» sport that, cost effectively, targets this audience on both sides of the Atlantic.»

Look through the article again and match the words with their definitions

Read the text again and complete the sentences with the correct word from the article

Complete the story with the words from the box


This conversation takes place at a trade show. Rearrange the lines into a logical conversation

Example: Hello again, Barbara. How are you? It’s Alicia. We met in Paris last year.

Example: Oh yes. Hi, Alicia! I didn’t recognise you. Your hair’s different. I’m fine. What about you?

This conversation is a continuation of the previous dialogue. Put the sentences in the correct order

Example: Where are you staying, Barbara?

Урок Homework Курс
  • Warm-up
  • Vocabulary. At a business lunch
  • Speaking. Organising a conference
  • Listening. Planning a conference
  • Reading. Four hotels
  • Role-play
  • Case study commentary
  • The dialogues
  • The article
  • Complete the story
  • Conversation
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  5. 5. Business|Adults|Intermediate|5. Making sales
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