Telephone tips · Uncategorized

Telephone English in Three Steps

Some people get a little shy when they need to speak English on the phone. So here are some things you can say.

It’s amazing how nervous you can get when you need to speak to someone in a language that is not your own. Suddenly you lose all your confidence, just because you can’t see this other person, and because you get only five minutes (or less) to achieve whatever it is you need.

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If the telephone call has to do with getting a new job, you can multiply the anxious butterflies in your stomach by a factor of a thousand.

Keep Calm and Use a Few Tricks

1. Think positive.

Most phone calls take only a few minutes. Your agony will be over before you know it.

2. Say your name.

In some countries, you can talk for an hour with someone without ever revealing your name, but in English you must say your name at the beginning of the call. Know how to spell your name in English in case you’re asked. No mix-ups of g and j, or i and y, please!

3. Learn these phrases (or similar ones) by heart:

Introducing yourself:

– Hello, my name is [first name] [last name].

– I’m calling from [company name].

Saying the purpose of your call (why you’re calling):

– I’d like to speak to Mr./Ms. [last name].

– I’m calling to check that you received my letter/email that I sent on [date].

– I’m calling about your email about …

– I’d like to set up a meeting.

– I’m in town this weekend. Would you like to meet?

– I’m calling to tell you I can’t meet you on Friday. My flight has been changed.

– I’d like to cancel my purchase.

– I’d like to make a complaint.

The person you’d like to speak is not available:

– What time can I call back?

– Can I leave a message?

– Could you tell him/her that I called?

– Do you have my number?/Does Mr./Ms. [last name] have my number?

– I’ll give you my number.

– Thanks for your help.

You haven’t understood:

– Could you repeat that again, please?

– I’m sorry, I didn’t get your last question.

– Could you speak a bit slower, please?

Now try the quiz.

Telephone Quiz:

Which is more polite/formal?

1 A Can I speak to Morgan?

B May I speak to Ms. Flannegan?

2 A Can you take my number down?

B Would you like to write my number?

3 A Call me back.

B Let me know when you’re available, and I’ll get back to you.

4 A It’s Karen with a K.

B Would you like me to spell that for you?

5 A Hang on.

B Could you hold the line?

6 A Talk to you soon.

B I’ll be in touch with you in the coming days.

7 A Who’s this?

B Who’s speaking, please?

Solutions: Scroll down.















All the B sentences/questions were more polite or formal.

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