Companies use consultants for many reasons. Match the sentence halves to discover a few of them.

Consultants are not involved fresh ideas to the company.
Consultants have experience of specialist knowledge.
Consultants bring in internal company politics.
Consultants can be used things realistically and objectively.
Consultants have working with other companies.
Consultants see quickly and efficiently.
Consultants work by management to take the criticism foe unpopular decisions.

Note: two verbs that are often used for making suggestions or proposals are suggest and recommend. Look at the following examples:

We recommend changing the dates.

We recommend that you change the name.

We suggest using the Internet.

We suggest that you use the Internet.

Other expressions:

How about changing your job?

Have you considered changing your job?

What if you change / changed your job?

We'd like to propose that you invest ?9,000.


Read the story about the consultant, the shepherd and sheep. What conclusion can you make, analyzing a consultant’s work?

Once upon a time there was a shepherd. He was standing by the side of the road, looking after his flock of sheep. Suddenly, a brand new Cherokee Jeep appeared and stopped near the shepherd. A young man wearing a Hugo Boss shirt, Yves St. Laurent trousers and Nike trainers got out and said to the shepherd: “If I can guess how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one of them?” The shepherd looked at the man, looked at his sheep – who were eating grass peacefully – and said: “Yes, OK then.”

The young man parked his car and took out his laptop computer and a GSM phone. Then he logged on to a NASA website and scrutinized the local area with the help of a GPS (global positioning system). Next, he created a database and 60 Excel tables full of statistics. After that, using a hi-tech micro-printer, he printed a 150-page report. Finally, he turned to the shepherd and said: “You have 1,586 sheep in your flock.” The shepherd replied: “You are absolutely right, I do have 1,586 sheep in my flock. Now you can take your sheep.”

The young man took a sheep and put it in the back of his Jeep. When he had done this, the shepherd said: “If I can guess your profession, will you give me my sheep back?” “Yes,” said the young man. “You are a business consultant,” said the shepherd. “How did you guess?” asked the young man. “Three things”, said the shepherd. “Firstly, you came here when nobody asked you to. Secondly, you charged me a sheep to tell me what I already knew. And thirdly, you have no idea what I do, because you took my dog, not a sheep!”

From In Company Intermediate


I. Bruston Bicycles and Cycling Accessories Ltd is in trouble. Sales are 15% down on last year. It is losing clients. Three of its best sales people have left the company in the last two months. To find out what's going wrong Bright Ideas Ltd, a business consulting group, visited the company a few days ago and made the notes below. Read the notes and then discuss the different problems with your teacher. In your opinion, which are the three most important issues, and why?

Bright Ideas

· Sales and Production – only monthly meetings

· staff not given enough information

· products old-fashioned – design manager left a year ago – not replaced

· company doesn’t use internet at all

· name of company!

· sales manager obviously overworked – covers national and export sales – no assistant

· John Bruston – managing director – 79 years old, son of founder

· Reputation for top quality, but delays of up to a month in deliveries

II. Listen to the presentation that one consultant from Bright Ideas gives to the management of Bruston. He mentions four of the problem areas. Which ones?

III. Now listen again. This time complete the spaces with the words the man uses to make his proposals.

1. First of all, we __________________________ a change to the company’s name.

2. We ____________________________ to a more international name.

3. Secondly, we’d like to ________________________new sales staff.

4. We ____________________________three new assistant staff – people with languages and experience.

5. Our third _____________________________the possible use of the Internet as a marketing tool for your company.

6. Finally, we ____________________________serious and immediate measures to reorganize the production side of the company.


Your friend comes to you with the following problems. Make two suggestions in each case. Use as many different expressions as you can.

“I just feel I’m going nowhere in my job.”

“I frequently travel to Germany but I don’t speak a word of the language”

“I often forget things like meetings and phone numbers”

“My car’s always breaking down”

“I feel so tired and overworked”


You are not happy with the following five things. Tell your teacher why you are not happy and what you would change if you could. Make two different suggestions or proposals about:

1) the organization of your classes (days, time, etc.)

2) the place where you work

3) the work timetable or calendar that you have

4) the TV programmes in the country where you live

5) the traffic and/or parking problems in the city where you live

Explain the reasons behind your proposals. Find out if your teacher agrees with you. Choose one of the topics and write an email to an appropriate person, containing your proposals.

Lesson 3. Reacting to suggestions

Warm up

I. Do you have any colleagues with the following habits?

· They make personal calls in a loud voice.

· They arrive late and leave early.

· They never return items they borrow.

· They use bad language all the time.

· Their only subject of conversation is their children (any other variant).

· They waste time and never get anything done.

· They smoke continuously.

· They never pay for drinks or meals when you go out.

II. Which of the habits do you find most annoying?

III. How could you deal with these colleagues?

Active Vocabulary

When we react to a suggestion, we often suggest specific action, or propose a possible alternative for action. Look at the expressions used to react to the following suggestion.   Everyone in the office seems a bit down. Why don't we all go out together? That's a good idea... ... We could have dinner and then go out dancing. ... Let's start planning it right now. ... It would be even better if the company paid for a party! ... Shall we put up a poster?  
Shall is used with we and I, especially in British English. It is often used to make suggestions along with let's. Shall we leave now? Yes, let's / let's go.
When we reject a suggestion, we normally give a reason. Mm, I'm not so sure about that... …It might make things worse. ... I think people would prefer a bonus to a night out.


Look at the extracts from the conversations. Complete them with the useful phrases for reacting to suggestions.

1. No, _______________________ do that. It would be really embarrassing.

2. No, I'm ___________________________that's such a good idea.

She is the boss ______________________!

3. OK, that ___________________, I suppose.

4. What _____________________! I'll do that next time he calls.


Imagine you have to deal with the following situations, in which you have to give feedback.

Plan what you will say.

a) you share an office with a colleague who often goes out, without telling you for how long. When clients phone, you are unable to tell them when to call back. What suggestions can you give your colleague?

b) one of your staff, who often visits clients, insists on wearing jeans at work, despite the office dress code which states “no jeans”. You feel it is necessary to discuss it formally with the staff member.


Read the following email and suggest ways the supervisor could deal with the problems in the department. Role-play a conversation to follow the email, with you as Charlie and your partner as Sam. Reply to the email with your own ideas.


Lesson 4. Praise

Warm up

I. In what circumstances do you praise colleagues at work?

II. Do you find giving praise or receiving praise more difficult? Why?

III. What is your approach for giving negative feedback to colleagues?


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