Business English Listening Practice

The London Conference - Transcript

Jenny describes the business conference she attended in London.

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Pete: Jenny, you're back from the London conference! How was it?

Jenny: Ugh...don't ask.

Pete: What happened? Was the weather terrible in England?

Jenny: Actually, the weather wasn't too bad. It rained a bit on the first day when I arrived, but after that, it was fine. No, it was everything else that was a disaster!

Pete: Oh, that's a shame. You were really looking forward to the conference too.

Jenny: I really was. The hotel was the first problem. We asked for a twin room not near the lobby. I went to London with Marcia, do you know her?

Pete: She works in the advertising department.

Jenny: Yes, that's her. Anyway, she told me she doesn't sleep well in hotels so I wanted a room in the quiet part of the hotel.

Pete: And, did you get one?

Jenny: No, they put us on the second floor and there was a party. A lot of people were shouting, a band was playing jazz until 2am and we didn't sleep very well.

Pete: Oh, that's terrible. What about the conference?

Jenny: We got totally lost on the London Underground. We came out of one station and just saw the River Thames and I knew we were lost. We tried to get a cab but all the drivers were ignoring us - I was so angry.

Pete: So what did you do?

Jenny: We asked a policeman the way to the conference hall and while he was talking to us, I saw Martin from our London branch, walking past us! I shouted to him and he recognized us and took us to the conference.

Pete: Wow, that was lucky! Martin was the guy who came over last year to speak to us about new markets in Latin America?

Jenny: Yes, a really nice guy. He helped us a lot in England. So we got to the conference and the conference center was this great Victorian building. It looked great but I don't think it was very suitable.

Pete: No? What was wrong with it? I saw the brochures before you left and I think they looked wonderful.

Jenny: The wi-fi inside the building was terrible. We kept losing our connection. Our table was too far from the front, it was difficult to hear the speakers sometimes.

Pete: Maybe the microphones weren't very good.

Jenny: No, they were terrible. Oh, and the keynote speaker didn't come in the afternoon.

Pete: What? That's terrible. They should give a refund for that!

Jenny: They're going to give a 10% refund. I went to speak to the conference organizer and there were twenty other people with him. They were complaining about the keynote speaker and they were asking for their money back. A lot of people were very angry!

Pete: Oh, it sounds like a disaster.

Jenny: That's exactly what it was. But there's more: one of the speakers was talking about unemployment and redundancies. She was a very smart woman from Madrid. But obviously she was speaking in Spanish. For the first ten minutes of her talk, we were listening with the earphones, and we didn't have the English, we were listening to the French!

Pete: French?

Jenny: Yes, I only recognized it from my high school French classes. Bonjour!

Pete: What did you do?

Jenny: For five minutes, nothing. Then I saw everybody was getting angry because they couldn't understand what she was saying. Suddenly, the language changed and it was Chinese or Japanese or something.

Pete: Come on, you're joking with me.

Jenny: No, honestly. We had five minutes of French, a minute of Chinese, maybe it was Japanese, and then the English came on. Everybody started applauding and the Spanish woman looked very embarrassed.

Pete: I'm happy that I stayed here!

Jenny: After they resolved all the technical problems, it was a good conference. I met some interesting people, made some good contacts for the future. There was a cocktail and cheese party in the evening so we did a little networking.

Pete: So it wasn't a total waste of time.

Jenny: A total waste of time? No.

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