British Council listening

Motivation at work

Interviewer: How __________ is motivation for a manager?

Professor: Oh, motivation is extremely important. I’d say it’s ________important aspect of a manager’s job. A manager’s job is to get the job _______, whatever that job might be. So a manager has to motivate the workers, both as a team and also on an individual basis. Without _________, the job just won’t get done.

Interviewer: So how do managers go about doing this? It doesn’t sound very _______.

Professor: No, it is a complicated issue. But managers have ___________. They are trained to use them to boost motivation and increase production to a _____________.

Interviewer: Tools?

Professor: Yes, _________ like praise, approval and recognition. And then there is trust and ________. They are all important for workers.

Interviewer: And money? What about money?

Professor: Yes, money is a factor but you might be surprised to learn that it comes out last on the list of these __________that we are talking about.

Interviewer: So, what comes before money? What sort of things are more important for ____________?

Professor: Well, all of the things that I have already mentioned, and then job enrichment and good _______________ between the workers and the _______.

Interviewer: And have you got any examples of real life situations to back up your ________?

Professor: One good example is the firm Western Electric. When managers started taking an interest in their workers, there was a huge _______ in production. They started to talk to the workers and encouraged them to get involved in decision-making. Workers began to feel that their contributions were important. And it ____________.

Interviewer: Productivity increased?

Professor: Yes, hugely. The Swedish company Kochums is another example. The company was on the verge of collapse when managers _________ to try a change in motivation practice.

Interviewer: What did they do?

Professor: Well, basically it was a change in attitude towards their ________. Managers decided to stop giving orders and to try persuading them ________.

Interviewer: And it worked?

Professor: Absolutely. In just ten years they managed to turn a 15 million dollar loss into a 100 million dollar _______.

Interviewer: So, let’s get this straight. Are you saying that workers are not interested in _______ more money?

Professor: I’m saying they’re not just interested in money. It is important of course. We need to enjoy a certain standard of living. But, as I mentioned before, there are other things that are just as important: ________, approval, recognition, trust and ________, job enrichment and good _________.



Lecturer: Welcome everybody to today’s seminar. If I remember correctly, David, you’ll be leading the seminar
David: Yes, that’s right …
Presenter: Fine. And how about questions – shall —————————————– or would you like people to interrupt during your presentation?
David: Thanks, ehm , if anyone has a question just __________________
Lecturer: Fine, let’s go then …
David: Right, ehm … eBay is an enormously successful company; it’s a household word in several countries; in 2005 it had a turnover of $______ billion and it employed ________ people – it’s achieved all of this in just ___ years. What’s the secret of eBay’s success? I think the _________ here is that eBay couldn’t exist without _____________. You know, there aren’t many examples of companies like this – take Amazon, for example. If you don’t feel like switching your computer on you can always go round to the nearest bookshop. But if you want to sell your old magazines to somebody in Germany, eBay’s _______________ to do it. Without the net’s ability to bring buyers and sellers together ______________________ there would be no eBay. So this is big point number one. Now, let’s move on to point two, the founders of eBay. Meg Whitman, the CEO, like all of the senior staff, already had a successful _______________________ – she brought in an experienced management team. They had a great idea but it had to be a _____________ idea. Around this – the importance of ________ – they built their business model. Let’s move on to point three, sound business __________. Did you hear of eBay during the dotcom boom years?  Not a lot – they were busy building their customer base and making money, they didn’t feature in stories headlining the excesses of the dotcom boom years … Actually, I’ll add another point, point four. eBay doesn’t produce, _____ and ______ anything itself, it provides the online marketplace for other people to do this. This gives it enormous _______________ …
Student: David, can I ask a question?
David: Sure …
Student: What difference does that ______ – the point about eBay not making anything itself …?
David: Well, this means that they can use their capital very ________ – you know, their capital isn’t ______ in buildings, factories, warehouses, that sort of thing. Again, their capital isn’t _________ in things that are waiting to be sold, they haven’t got shops all over the world with sales assistants in them – all this costs – see what I mean?
Student: Sure, I get it now …
David: Great, now … The only problem they’ve run into – actually, that’s not true, they’ve had a couple of major problems – anyway, the first problem, they arrived in a couple of key markets __________. This happened in Japan and Hong Kong, where Yahoo’s online marketplace had a head start. The other problem – well, it’s the sort of thing we’ve all heard about – buyers receiving ______________, or a product different from the one they thought they’d bought, or no product at all, sellers putting in false bids to increase the price just before an auction finishes. eBay admits this happens, but says that this sort of thing accounts for a very small percentage of all sales. OK , now I’d like to ________________ just how the company has expanded over the last 11 years …



Minister: Good morning. Thank you for coming. I’m ready to take your questions.

Journalist 1: Minister, your department has just announced a 3%(1) _____ ___________on fuel, and yet earlier this year you stated that you had no plans to increase fuel taxes. Can you explain this change in (2)_______________?

Minister: To begin with, I’d like to make it clear that this is not a change in (3)___________. We’ve always said that we will respond to changes in (4)________ (5)__________ when and as necessary. And while it is true to say that earlier in the year we saw no reason to make any changes to fuel tax, that statement applied to the situation then. As you know, (6)____                  (7) ________ have decreased dramatically in recent months, and we are simply responding to this change in the market. Consumers have been enjoying (8)__________ fuel prices for some time, but this has resulted in a decrease in our (9)_____________. We are simply redressing the balance.

Journalist 2: Isn’t it fair to say, minister, that this is yet another                (10) ________ tax on the motorist?

Minister: No, that is simply not true. As I said, fuel prices have actually gone down over recent months. This slight (11)______________ in fuel tax means that, in real terms, motorists are actually paying less for their petrol than at the beginning of the year. We made this(12) ___________ so that tax revenues, which help pay for our department’s commitment to environmental issues, amongst other things, will (13)______________.

Journalist 3: In your election manifesto last year, you promised no new taxes.

Minister: With all due respect, sir, this is not a new tax.

Journalist 3: But this is an increase in(14) ___________. Erm, doesn’t that amount to the same thing?

Minister: Ha, ha, I think that it would be a very foolish government who stated they would never (15)________ or, for that matter,(16) ___________ taxation in response to global circumstances.

Journalist 1: But if oil prices are falling, why should the motorists have to pay more for(17) __________?

Minister: I’d like to say it again that in real terms, this is not an increase in fuel prices. Let me give an example. On the 31st of January, a litre of diesel cost 79.9p. Today, a litre of diesel costs 79.1p. That’s a (18)__________ of 0.8p per litre, and you’ll find a similar (19)__________ in the cost of petrol.        Now, are there any ___________ questions?


1 tax increase

2 policy

3 policy

4 world

5 markets

6 oil

7 prices

8 lower

9 revenues

10 unfair

11 / 12 adjustment

13 increase

14 taxation

15 raise

16 decrease

17 fuel

18 / 19 decrease

20 further



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