Listening, learning and teaching activities for students learning business English

businessman learning English

Business English


There are more vocabulary activities related to these podcasts on the 'extras' page.

59 The hashtag. Twitter is 10 years old this year, so some top tips for businesses; level 2 (1 Sep 16)
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Vocabulary tasks

EFL means different things to different people:

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58 The line. Britain's Team Sky stand out both for their cycling and for their branding; level 2/3 (21 Jul 16)
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Antidote created the first real brand for an international road cycling team:

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57 The supermarket man. Alan talks about his responsibilities as Technical Director for Tesco; level 2 (2 Jun 16)
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Bonus for members! He's also involved in some interesting projects re sourcing:
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Transcript

It's not just food at Tesco, you know:

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56 The Panama papers. While many benefit from offshore finances, there are also those who are victims; level 3 (27 Apr 16)
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The podcast goes with this video from the ICIJ:

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55 Brexit. Britain in Europe: should we stay or should we go?; level 2 (3 Mar 16)
Download (1.94MB, 4min 13sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 70KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 78KB)

The podcast goes with this video from Michael Hobbes:

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54 Going down. We look at why the price of oil is tumbling and who is benefitting from this; level 2 (28 Jan 16)
Download (1.9MB, 3min 52sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 74KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 74KB)

53 Selling nostalgia. The marketing secret behind some 'traditional' customs and products; level 3 (26 Nov 15)
Download (1.86MB, 4min 04sec)
Transcript (pdf 52KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 115KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 78KB)

It's become 'traditional' to have KFC for Christmas in Japan:

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52 The VW scandal. So it seems there's no such thing as clean diesel after all; level 3 (5 Nov 15)
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Transcript (pdf 52KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 67KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 72KB)

One of VWs 'clean diesel' adverts shown in the US:

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51 Crowdfunding part 2. What a lot of money can be raised for small businesses! level 2/3 (24 Sep 15)
Download (1.9MB, 4min 06sec)
Transcript (pdf 55KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 291KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 90KB)

Bonus for members! Even football teams are using crowdfunding:
Download (461KB, 58sec)
Transcript (pdf 42KB)

50 The amalgamation. An employee's personal experience of three companies merging; level 2/3 (6 Aug 15)
Download (1.8MB, 3min 56sec)
Transcript (pdf 49KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 83KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 78KB)

49 Consumer choice. Buyers today can choose between many varieties when buying a product, but how good is that really? level 3 (21 May 15)
Download (1.9MB, 4min 15sec)
Transcript (pdf 54KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 84KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 87KB)

How your brain deals with choices:

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48 Import and export part 2. What is the point of countries importing and exporting the very same product? level 2/3 (9 Apr 15)
Download (2MB, 4min 06sec)
Transcript (pdf 55KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 153KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 71KB)

47 Crowdfunding part 1. We look at a growing industry in the business world and ask what it is and how it works, level 2/3 (25 Feb 15)
Download (1.7MB, 3min 43sec)
Transcript (pdf 52KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 113KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 67KB)

Bonus for members! What happens when it doesn't work?
Download (338KB, 43sec)
Transcript (pdf 42KB)

Crowdfunding, a new way to raise capital for your business:

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46 Import and export part 1. Who dictates what food we import: consumers, farmers or retailers? level 2/3 (15 Jan 15)
Download (1.8MB, 3min 56sec)
Transcript (pdf 54KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 113KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 67KB)

45 Black Friday UK. From over there to over here, how successful was the American sales day in the UK? level 2 (4 Dec 14)
Download (1.9MB, 3min 56sec)
Transcript (pdf 56KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 186KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 72KB)

44 Mood music. In-store marketing says it can turn browsers into buyers, but does it work? level 2 (6 Nov 14)
Download (1.7MB, 3min 31sec)
Transcript (pdf 52KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 237KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 69KB)

Bonus for members! How does 'visual' and 'scent' media work?
Download (711KB, 1min 30sec)
Transcript (pdf 45KB)

Marks and Spencer is one UK high street retailer that has turned to in-store marketing:

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43 It's a bargain! Or is it? Supermarkets have lots of special offers, but are they always better value? level 2 (2 Oct 14)
Download (1.86MB, 4min 03sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 94KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 93KB)

42 The bitcoin Baffled by bitcoins? Confused by the cyber-currency? You're not alone!; level 3 (28 Aug 14)
Download (1.48MB, 3min 14sec)
Transcript (pdf 47KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 61KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 68KB)

This podcast comes from this video from The Guardian:

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41 How can I help? What a difference good customer service makes - if you can find it! level 2 (23 Jul 14)
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Transcript (pdf 50KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 154KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 61KB)

40 Taxi! How a modern technology angers taxi drivers and brings cities to a standstill; level 2 (19 Jun 14)
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Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 76KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 97KB)

The traditional taxi business faces competition in a high-tech world:

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39 FIFA scores. For many football is a passion, for FIFA it's purely a financial affair; level 2 (15 May 14)
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Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 76KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 97KB)

Bonus for members! Where does FIFA's revenue come from and how much do they earn?
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Transcript (pdf 45KB)

Where is the excitement that met the 2007 decision to award Brazil the World Cup tournament?

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38 Techno kitchen. High-tech products have revolutionised the way we cook; level 2 (24 Apr 14)
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Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 98KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 193KB)

Bonus for members! And what about a glass oven that sits on top of the worktop?
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Transcript (pdf 53KB)

The halogen oven:

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37 Modern innovations: sugru A very small thing is going to make a very big difference to many people's lives! level 2/3 (20 Mar 14)
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Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 70KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 94KB)

Watch Jane introducing sugru:

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36 The café conundrum Come and have a cup of coffee with the pie team in a new style of café; level 2 (13 Feb 14)
Download (1.53MB, 3min 21sec)
Transcript (pdf 51KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 84KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 68KB)

35 Booking.com part 2 What are the advantages for travellers choosing this online travel agency to book their holidays? level 2 (16 Jan 14)
Download (1.55MB, 3min 22sec)
Transcript (pdf 50KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 74KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 76KB)

Fancy a night at The Savoy?

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34 Power to the people. Since the Mandela era boycotts have been a powerful tool; level 2/3 (12 Dec 13)
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Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 175KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 77KB)

Nestlé gave in to pressure from Greenpeace about its palm oil supply chain after 1.5 million people saw this anti-advert for Kit Kat:

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33 All of a twitter. Not just for fun and socialising, Twitter is great for business too; level 2/3 (7 Nov 13)
Download (1.75MB, 3min 47sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 68KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 66KB)

More top tips for businesses here:

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32 Social media at work. How one manager deals with his staff using Twitter and Facebook; level 2 (12 Sep 13)
Download (1.7MB, 3min 41sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 82KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 102KB)

Bonus for members! How does Kevin know his staff are using social media?
Download (663KB, 1min 24sec)
Transcript (pdf 45KB)

31 Booking.com part 1. Just how useful is the online website for hotel owners? level 3 (1 Aug 13)
Download (1.75MB, 3min 49sec)
Transcript (pdf 52KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 73KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 62KB)

Bonus for members! Here are two top tips for hoteliers:
Download (346KB, 43sec)
Transcript (pdf 42KB)

30 The G8. What's the point of some powerful world leaders getting together for a few days? level 2/3 (20 Jun 13)
Download (1.8MB, 3min 47sec)
Transcript (pdf 54KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 85KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 68KB)

The transcript to this scene, and a listening task, can be found on the extras page.

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29 Designing a website. The pie team give 5 top tips for designing a successful website; level 2/3 (9 May 13)
Download (1.78MB, 3min 54sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 221KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 78KB)

28 The perfect office, part 2. Drawing on her experience, Jo tells us what works best for her; level 3 (11 Apr 13)
Download (1.8MB, 3min 47sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 221KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 221KB)

What are the key elements to a comfortable work station?

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27 The perfect office, part 1. Your working space affects your work, so what makes a good office?; level 2 (14 Mar 13)
Download (1.54MB, 3min 22sec)
Transcript (pdf 54KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 138KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 75KB)

Bonus for members! What do the pie team think about open plan offices?
Download (794KB, 1min 41sec)
Transcript (pdf 45KB)

26 Horseburger, anyone? There's a nasty surprise for some as they tuck into their beef burgers; level 2/3 (14 Feb 13)
Download (1.77MB, 3min 52sec)
Transcript (pdf 54KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 260KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 76KB)

What are we eating? asks Channel 4 news:

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25 The disappearing high street The way we shop now could see the face of our town centres changing forever; level 3 (24 Jan 13)
Download (1.92MB, 4min 12sec)
Transcript (pdf 54KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 90KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 72KB)

Bonus for members! Does it matter?
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Transcript (pdf 48KB)

24 Profits? What profits? Starbucks' coffee is leaving a bitter taste but it's got nothing to do with the drink; level 2 (15 Nov 12)
Download (1.85MB, 4min 03sec)
Transcript (pdf 56KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 79KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 68KB)

Listen to the same story from the BBC news:

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23 The cycling commuter. People should drive or take public transport to work rather than cycle, shouldn't they? level 2 (25 Oct 12)
Download (1.55MB, 3min 23sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 92KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 64KB)

22 Buyer beware. How can Poundland increase its profits by 50% when everything it sells costs £1? level 2/3 (20 Sep 12)
Download (2.1MB, 4min 23sec)
Transcript (pdf 60KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 98KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 78KB)

Back in 2010 Poundland made the news when profits rose by 80%:

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21 Sunday trading. The UK doesn't have a 24/7 shopping culture... yet; level 2 (23 Aug 12)
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Transcript (pdf 49KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 115KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 82KB)

The Chancellor and Shadow Chancellor have differing views on changing Sunday trading laws:

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20 The Shard. Will Europe's tallest building be a financial failure or an investment success? level 2 (12 Jul 12)
Download (1.68MB, 3min 41sec)
Transcript (pdf 46KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 87KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 76KB)
Information sheet (pdf 7.3MB)

Listen to what people think of London's latest landmark:

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19 What money can't buy. Is it acceptable that there's a market for almost anything, or should some things not be for sale? level 3 (14 Jun 12)

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Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 106KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 78KB)

This podcast is highlights from this interview from The Stream:

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18 The accountant. Vaughan talks about being a fund accountant for BNP Paribas; level 1 / 2 (10 May 12)
Download (1.6MB, 3min 24sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 143KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 90KB)

17 Nike station. Big company sponsorship deals are usually welcomed, but not always... level 2 (29 Mar 12)
Download (1.7MB, 3min 43sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 143KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 61KB)

One sponsor that's trying to make golf and tennis a better experience for their fans:

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16 Starting a business Part 2: Why is starting a new business easier in the US? level 1 (23 Feb 12)
Download (1.8MB, 3min 17sec)
Transcript (pdf 60KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 114KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 103KB)

Fancy a Smashburger?
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15 Starting a business Part 1: Why not start your own business, even if there is a recession... level 2 (2 Feb 12)
Download (1.8MB, 3min 56sec)
Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 82KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 94KB)

Now 6 years old, A Suit That Fits sells around 15,000 suits a year:
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14 Ms marketing Helen, from Jersey Heritage, talks about the importance of target audience; level 3 (24 Nov 11)
Download (1.85MB, 4min 03sec)
Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 131KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 66KB)

A taste of what Jersey has to offer from Jersey Tourism:
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13 False claims Not all companies get away with exaggerating what their products can do; level 3 (6 Oct 11)
Download (1.76MB, 3min 50sec)
Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 123KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 70KB)
So hands up who believes this product works as well as this:

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12 Customer service What has a smiling dinosaur got to do with providing good service? level 2 (15 Sep 11)
Download (1.8MB, 3min 58sec)
Transcript (pdf 55KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 87KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 64KB)
Is this the kind of customer service you want from your bank?!

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11 Welcome to Wales - where the business world meets; level 1 (24 Aug 11)
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Transcript (pdf 43KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 189KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 64KB)

This podcast goes with this video which promotes Wales for business meetings:
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10 The Greek Crisis How are the beautiful Greek islands coping with the economic crisis? level 2 (7 Jul 11)
Download (1.03MB, 2min 14sec)
Transcript (pdf 49KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 74KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 78KB)

This podcast goes with this video from the Al Jazeera English Channel:

9 Running a small business Simon, from English for Business, talks about some of the challenges he faces; level 2 (2 Jun 11)
Download (1.8MB, 3min 48sec)
Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 78KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 66KB)

Ten reasons why small businesses fail:

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8 What next? What lies ahead now that Osama bin Laden is dead? level 3 (4 May 11)
Download (991KB, 2min 04sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 90KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 94KB)

7 Negotiating skills What's the best way to get what you want from management? level 3 (7 Apr 11)
Download (1.81MB, 3min 56sec)
Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 86KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 66KB)

6 The Cornish Pasty EU regulations gone mad, or sensible protection? level 3 (17 Mar 11)
Download (1.9MB, 4min 9sec)
Transcript (pdf 61KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 70KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 61KB)

'If it ain't made in Cornwall, it ain't Cornish!'

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5 To google or not to google What's the problem with a brand becoming a verb? level 2 (27 Jan 11)
Download (1.86MB, 4min 3sec)
Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 70KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 70KB)

Bonus for members! Some noun examples from the office too...
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Transcript (pdf 74KB)

4 Corporate responsibility A political adviser for BP gives his view; level 3 (9 Dec 10)
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Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 78KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 61KB)

The Smith Business School discusses BP's corporate responsibility over the oil spill

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3 Dress code It's not just what you do, it's what you wear; level 3 (11 Nov 10)
Download (1.65MB, 3min 35sec)
Transcript (pdf 53KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 131KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 61KB)

What percentage of men wear suits to work in the US?

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2 News bulletin Business people should be aware of global events making the headlines; level 3 (14 Oct 10)
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Transcript (pdf 49KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 70KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 66KB)

1 What makes a good boss? A senior manager for Mace, an international company, gives his view; level 2 (16 Sep 10)
Download (1.9MB, 4min 4sec)
Transcript (pdf 57KB)
Worksheet & Answers (pdf 70KB)
Vocabulary tasks (pdf 61KB)
Webquest (pdf 102KB)

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