Awkward dialogues

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The following dialogues are from an old book which I think is called Survival English, and involve awkward dialogues in a business context. These may be useful for speaking or pronunciation practice.


1 Wilbur Meeks

Wilbur Meeks walks into the Chief Executive’s office, sits down, and greets the CEO, Max Devonshire:

“Good going, Meeks – a tremendous job!” said Mr. Devonshire. “Sit down and have a cigar.” “I don’t smoke, sir.”

The CEO closed the cigar box. “Now, you’re British, aren’t you” asked Mr. Devonshire.

“That’s right, sir, but my wife’s American.”

“And how long have you been with us?” asked Mr. Devonshire.

“Only three weeks, sir, but I came from the Boston office.”

“Well, I just wanted to say congratulations!”

“Thank you, sir,” said Wilbur with a smile. Then he thought for a moment. “Um…I don’t understand, sir”, he said.

“Congratulations — you’ve done very well,” Devonshire repeated.

Wilbur looked surprised. “I don’t know what you mean,” he said.

The Chief Executive smiled. “The new contract – the one you got from Burlington Inc.? I’m very happy about it. In fact, I want you to come over to my house for dinner on Sunday. How about that?”

Wilbur Meeks looked at the floor. “Well, it’s not that good,” he said.

“Good? It’s great! A five hundred thousand dollar contract is good work, Meeks, ah, William.”

“My name’s not William, sir. It’s Wilbur.

“Didn’t I say ‘Wilbur’?” said the CEO.

“No, sorry, sir, you didn’t. Excuse me, but did you just say five hundred thousand? May I see my letter?” said Wilbur.

The Chief Executive passed it to him. “Here you are, Wilbur, my friend,” he said with a smile.

“I’m afraid there’s a mistake, sir,” said Wilbur. “There are too many zeros — well, actually there’s a period missing. I mean five thousand dollars and no cents. Um, what time should I come for dinner on Sunday, sir?”


2 Dinner with the CEO

Wilbur and Charlene Meeks have just had dinner with Wilbur’s boss, Max, and his wife Helena.

Wilbur: Well, I think we’d better be going. It’s almost ten-thirty.

Helena: Is that really the time? Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself. Um, I hope you had a good time.

Wilbur: Yes, we have. Thank you for inviting us.

Charlene: We’ve had a really wonderful evening.

Helena: I’m glad you enjoyed yourselves.

Charlene: Oh, yes, we have. It was a delicious meal.

Helena: Thank you.

Wilbur: I’m sorry about the carpet. I hope you can get it clean.

Helena: I’m sure we can.

Charlene: I hope I didn’t offend you. It’s a very nice fur coat…it’s just that, well, I think it’s wrong to kill little animals for fur, you know.

Helena: Uh-huh, you told me.

Wilbur: Anyway, our cab should be here any minute.

Charlene: Next time, you’ll have to come over to our place for dinner. Helena: Thank you.

Wilbur: I think I hear our cab now. Please thank Mr. Devereux… I mean, Max…for us…

Charlene: …when he wakes up, that is.

Helena: Of course I will. Uh, I’m very sorry that Max fell asleep…