Exercise 1

A. Listen. Circle the correct answers.

 What was good about the printing company?

      a   They had a lot of experience.

      b   Their work was good.

      c   They met deadlines.

 The printing company didn’t _________.

      a   use the right paper

      b   return phone calls

      c   use the right color

 Will Liz and Diana use the printing company again?

      a   Yes.      b   No.

      c   They don’t know yet.

B. Listen. Complete the conversation.

Diana:   So what went wrong?

Liz:   Well first, they didn’t communicate clearly.

Diana:   I agree. They didn’t respond to emails very well.

Liz:   And they didn’t follow instructions.

Diana:   Yes! That _________ so frustrated!

Liz:   Yeah, I found that _________ to understand.

Answers & Audioscripts

1 b   2 c   3 c


Liz:   Good morning, Diana! How are you today?

Diana:   I’m good, thanks. How are you?

Liz:   Doing great! Ready to figure this out! Diana: So, you reviewed the notes from everyone? I mean, about their experience with the printing company.

Liz:   Yes. But before we talk about the problems we had, let’s talk about what went right.

Diana:   Yeah. Good idea.

Liz:   OK, so the brochures are beautiful. The colors are nice. And the paper feels really good, too!

Diana:   Yes. I remember we used them because their work was much better than anyone else’s.

Liz:   In the end, they delivered what we were looking for.

Diana:   Yes. They did.

Liz:   So, now let’s talk about the problems we had with them.

Diana:   Yeah, it looks like everyone found them very difficult to work with. What went wrong?

Liz:   Well, first, they didn’t communicate clearly. They didn’t respond to emails very well. I often had to call them.

Diana:   So communication was a big problem.

Liz:   Right. And they didn’t follow instructions. Remember when they used pink when we wanted red?

Diana:   Yes! That got me so frustrated! What was that all about?

Liz:   I don’t know. I found that hard to understand. I think our instructions were pretty clear.

Diana:   OK, so these are pretty big problems. How much of this should we communicate to them?

Liz:   All of it, I think. If we’re going to use them again, that is—are we?


Diana:   So what went wrong?

Liz:   Well first, they didn’t communicate clearly.

Diana:   I agree. They didn’t respond to emails very well.

Liz:   And they didn’t follow instructions.

Diana:   Yes! That got me so frustrated!

Liz:   Yeah, I found that hard to understand.

Exercise 2

A. Listen. Read the sentences. Circle T for True and F for False. If the statement is false, cross out the false information and correct it.

1   Liz and Diana have decided not to use the printing company again.   T   F

2   They will give the printing company feedback with specific examples.   T   F

3   They will set clear goals to communicate better.   T   F

4   They will ask the printing company for daily reports.   T   F

B. Listen. Complete the conversation.

Liz:   __________ we offer suggestions on how to work together more effectively?

Diana:   That’s a great idea! What did you have in mind?

Liz:   Well, for one, we __________  set up weekly meetings.

Diana:   I couldn’t agree more! That will give us a specific time to discuss problems that come up.

Liz:   Exactly!

Answers & Audioscripts

1 F   Liz and Diana have decided to use the printing company again.

2 T

3 T

4 F   They will not ask the printing company for daily reports.


Diana:   I want to talk about the new printing company we used for the brochures. I thought about it and the problems we had with them, but I think we should give them one more chance.

Liz:   I agree. We just need to figure out how to work with them better.

Diana:   OK. So we need to give them some feedback. What were the major issues again?

Liz:   Um, communication was poor and they didn’t always follow instructions.

Diana:   Right. Why don’t we give them that feedback with the specific examples that we discussed last week?

Liz:   Got it. How about we also offer some suggestions on how to work together more effectively?

Diana:   That’s a great idea! What did you have in mind?

Liz:   Well, for one, we could set up weekly meetings so that we can communicate better. That will give us a specific time to discuss problems that come up, instead of waiting for them to answer our emails.

Diana:   I couldn’t agree more! OK. We could make weekly meetings part of our agreement next time.

Liz:   Perfect!

Diana:   Now…how do we make sure they follow our instructions? Maybe ask them for daily reports?

Liz:   Hmm. I think that might be too much. Let’s see if the meetings and more communication help.

Diana:   Sure. As long as we don’t get pink brochures again!


Liz:   How about we offer suggestions on how to work together more effectively?

Diana:   That’s a great idea! What did you have in mind?

Liz:   Well, for one, we could set up weekly meetings.

Diana:   I couldn’t agree more! That will give us a specific time to discuss problems that come up.

Liz:   Exactly!

Exercise 3

A. Listen to the two stories. Circle the correct answers.

1   What was the problem in the first story?

      a   Tony’s mom didn’t understand what a vegetarian was.

      b   Tony didn’t want his mother to cook.

      c   Tony’s mother didn’t know Tony had a girlfriend.

2   What was the problem in the second story?

      a   Greg didn’t know how to set up the meeting room.

      b   Greg set up the meeting for the wrong number of people.

      c   Greg didn’t know where to order the sandwiches.

B. Listen again. Complete the chart.


Story 1

Story 2


Tony and his mother

Greg and his boss

Effect of the misunderstanding

First, mom asked Tony if she could make 1 ________

Then she wanted to make 2 ________

Greg reserved a 3 ________ that was too small.

Greg didn’t order enough 4 ________

Answers & Audioscripts


1 a   2 b


1 chicken   2 fish   3 room   4 food

A:   Welcome to the show! Today on Daily Trouble we’re talking to people who experienced some funny misunderstandings and would like to share their stories with us. We have a listener on the line. Hi. Tony! Let’s hear your story.

B:   I’ve been married for 10 years now. After my now-wife and I had been together for a few months, my mother suggested that I invite her to have dinner at our house. I was a little nervous, of course, but I was also worried. My girlfriend was a vegetarian. My mom is a great cook, and she wanted to make a nice meal, but she’d never cooked anything vegetarian before.

And she didn’t quite understand what vegetarian was. She said, “She doesn’t eat meat? No problem. I’ll cook chicken.” So I answered, “No ma, she doesn’t eat chicken either.” Next she suggested fish. I said, “Ma, she doesn’t eat fish!” By then, we were both frustrated, and my mom was confused. I didn’t know how else to explain it. So finally I said, “Ma, listen to me! She doesn’t eat anything with a face!” We looked at each other for a second, and then burst out laughing.

A:   Hah! That’s a good one! Next up is Greg. Greg, tell us what happened.

C:   It was my first week at a new job. My manager told me to set up a lunch meeting for 16 people for the next week. The smallest room available was for 30 people and that was actually good since there would be space for the food. So I reserved the room and ordered sandwiches and drinks for lunch. Later that week, I received an email from my manager with the meeting details. Next to “number of attendees” it said 60. I went to her office and asked her how many people were coming to the meeting, and she said 60. Then she asked me if everything was set up. I said, “Yup! Everything’s ready to go!”

I’ve never moved so fast in my life! I went online to see if there was a larger meeting room available. There wasn’t! I panicked! There were two meeting rooms in the building that could hold 60 people. I found out who had reserved those rooms and contacted them to see if there was any chance they could use a smaller room. Fortunately, one of them said that they actually needed a room for just 30 people, but there was no smaller room available! She agreed to switch rooms. Then I called the restaurant to change the lunch order to 60.

To this day, every time someone says 16 or 60, I confirm by asking, “You mean sixTEEN, one six, right?”

Exercise 4

A. Listen the article. Which statement best describes the main idea of the article?

 Lateral thinking is the best way to solve a problem.

 Lateral thinking helps you make assumptions.

c   Lateral thinking might help you to solve problems.

B. Listen again. Circle the correct answer.

 What does lateral thinking mean?

      a   thinking in a creative way

      b   taking a direct approach to problems

      c   asking questions about a situation

 Lateral thinking is different from ___.

      a   problem solving

      b   logical, step-by-step thinking

      c   thinking outside the box

3   What is an example of lateral thinking?

      a   making an assumption

      b   solving a situation puzzle

      c   asking a yes / no question

4   Why are situation puzzles difficult?

      a   People think the solution is too obvious.

      b   People add their own information.

      c   People don’t understand the problem.

Answers & Audioscripts




1 a   2 b   3 b   4 b


Sometimes no matter how much I think about a problem, I just can’t solve it. Solving problems is important for my job, so when a colleague mentioned lateral thinking, I was ready to listen. Lateral thinking means thinking in an indirect and creative way and looking at the problem in a new and unusual way. This can help you become more flexible when you try to solve a problem. Lateral thinking is different from how I thought about problems.

I was being too logical. I was thinking about each problem in a very direct, step-by-step way and making too many assumptions. You’ve probably heard the expression, “thinking outside of the box.” It actually comes from a famous problem called the nine-dot puzzle. To solve the puzzle, you have to connect all nine dots with four straight lines, but you can’t take your pen off the page. HINT: To complete this task successfully, you must go “outside the box.” Solving this puzzle is an example of lateral thinking.

Situation puzzles are other examples of practicing lateral thinking. To solve situation puzzles, you may ask only yes/no questions, which have three possible answers: “yes,” “no,” or “the information isn’t relevant.” There’s not only one answer to problems like these, but one answer is usually the best. That answer usually seems obvious after you know it.

Here is an example:

Someone calls the police to tell them that a criminal named Jim Price is playing cards in the apartment next door. The police know Price is dangerous, but they don’t know what he looks like. They go into the apartment and they see three people playing cards: two truck drivers and a firefighter. They don’t say a word, but they immediately arrest the firefighter. How do the police know he is Jim Price?

Here is one way that yes/no questions could help you find the solution:

Did any of the players say anything?   No

Did the firefighter try to run away?   No

Did the policemen know any of the players?   No

Did the firefighter look different from the truck drivers?   Yes

Was the firefighter wearing a hat?   Not relevant

Was the firefighter’s hairstyle different from the truck drivers’?   Yes

Price looked different from the truck drivers and had a different hairstyle from them because Price was a man and the truck drivers were women. Many people begin with the assumption that truck drivers are always men.

Lateral thinking is already helping me at my job in market research. After practicing this type of thinking, I suggested a whole new group of customers for our products to my boss. Try it! It just might work for you!

Exercise 5

A. Listen. Who does Rafi talk about?

B. Listen again. Answer the questions.

1   What does Raf do with Malik?

2   Why is Raf happy to know Yanni?

3   How does Tariq help Rafi?

Answers & Audioscripts


Answers will vary. Possible answer: He talks about his co-workers.


1   Malik brainstorms ideas for projects with him and has lots of creative ideas.

2   He goes to lunch with Yanni and feels more relaxed. Yanni asked him to lunch when Rafi was new at work.

3   Tariq gives him helpful feedback.

Hi, everyone. This is Raf. I have the greatest friends and coworkers!

This is Malik. I meet with him to brainstorm ideas for new projects. He always has creative suggestions to offer and he’s very helpful. I really like working with Malik.

Then there’s Yanni. When I started this job, I didn’t have much experience, so I was nervous. But Yanni asked me to go to lunch with him. That made me feel more comfortable. It helps to have a friend at work so we can have lunch or take breaks together. Finally, there’s Tariq. He’s my boss. I find his feedback helpful, especially if I’m confused about the project. It makes me happy working with these great people.

Exercise 6

A. Listen to four conversations. Match the words and phrases with each conversation.

Conversation 1


didn’t meet deadlines

Conversation 2


didn’t follow instructions

Conversation 3


doesn’t have experience

Conversation 4


didn’t communicate clearly

Answers & Audioscripts

Conversation 1 – mad – didn’t follow instructions

Conversation 2 – tense – didn’t meet deadlines

Conversation 3 – embarrassed – didn’t communicate clearly

Conversation 4 – frustrated – doesn’t have experience

Conversation 1

A:   Why were you so angry at Susan yesterday? What happened?

B:   Oh, that…Well, I specifically told her to add blue background to the posters, but she added yellow instead. It’s like she didn’t even listen to me.

Conversation 2

A:   They didn’t finish their part of the work on time. We’re so late!

B:   Yeah, I’m worried, too. But all we can do is wait.

Conversation 3

A:   I can’t believe I didn’t explain my idea correctly! Everyone must think I don’t know how to do my job!

B:   It’s OK. No one noticed.

Conversation 4

A:   Hi Erin! How’s it going with your new job?

B:   It’s OK. But I still have so much to learn. I’m tired of asking my colleagues for help. Hopefully, things will become easier soon.

B. Listen to the conversation. What did Mary tell Ana and Jim to do? Circle the correct instructions.

 bring / don’t bring laptops

 take / don’t take notes

 arrive / don’t arrive late

 fix / don’t fix mistakes in the brochure

 print / don’t print the brochure

 finalize / don’t finalize the design

 book / don’t book a room

 order / don’t order coffee

Answers & Audioscripts

1 bring   2 take   3 don’t arrive late   4 fix

5 don’t print the brochure   6 finalize

7 don’t book a room   8 order

A:   Hey Jim! Do you have a few minutes to talk?

B:   Sure, Ana.

A:   So, I just spoke to Mary about the big meeting on Friday.

B:   Great. What do I need to do? How can I help?

A:   Well, Mary said to bring laptops to the meeting. So, bring yours.

B:   Will do.

A:   She asked us to take notes. So, why don’t we both take notes so we don’t miss anything?

B:   Great idea.

A:   She also asked us not to arrive late. She wants us to be really prepared.

B:   That makes sense.

A:   Now, we need to do a few things before the meeting. Mary asked us to fix any mistakes in the brochure. Do you have time to do that?

B:   Sure. I can do that tomorrow morning.

A:   But she said not to print it out. We can look at it online.

B:   Sure.

A:   Also, she said to finalize the new designs. I’ll do that.

B:   Sounds good. Anything else? What about booking a room?

A:   She told me not to book a meeting room. She’s already done that.

B:   OK.

A:   Just one more thing. She said to order coffee for 10 people.

B:   OK. Will do. I’ll arrange for coffee and tea for 10.

A:   Thanks for your help, Jim!

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