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Business English Guide Blog: Essential Skills, Telephoning, Part I

Making a business-related phone call in English can be very intimidating for non-native speakers. However, those working in English-speaking work environments can boost their confidence by learning and practicing a few phrases that will help them navigate most business calls.

In this post, underlined phrases are those that are vital for basic telephone conversations.

1. Introductions as a receiver

As the receptionist or person answering a call, it is important to also fist introduce yourself and the name of the company/organization.

Ring… Ring…

“Hello, this is Stan White at Business101, how may I help you?” Mr. White should have a friendly tone with the caller.

2. Introductions as a caller

Let’s suppose Lisa Green needs to call to confirm details about a meeting next week with Mr. Smith. She dials, and when the receptionist answers, she introduces herself.

“Hello, my name is Lisa Green. Is Mr. Smith available? I’d like to speak with him about our meeting scheduled for next week.” Ms. Green should be clear about why she is calling.

3. Connecting a caller (Receiver)

Stan White, the receptionist, responds to the caller,

“Sure thing, Ms. Green. I believe Mr. Smith is in his office. I will transfer you. Please hold.” He places Lisa Green on a brief hold and transfers the call.

4. Confirming meeting details (Caller)

Let’s suppose in the first scenario, Mr. Smith is in his office and Lisa Green’s call is forwarded to his desk. He answers,

“Ms. Green, nice to hear from you! Are we still all set for meeting next week?”

Lisa Green replies,

“Yes, Mr. Smith, no problem with the meeting. I just wanted to confirm how many copies of the Annual Report I should bring? And, would it be alright if a colleague of mine also attended? He’s been very involved with the report.”

Let’s suppose Mr. Smith responds to both of these questions. He and Lisa Green are ready to end the call. Lisa says,

“Thank you so much, Mr. Smith. I look forward to meeting with you next week.” Mr. Smith says, “You’re welcome, Ms. Green. Have a nice day! Goodbye.” Lisa responds with a “goodbye” and they end the call.

5. Taking a message (Receiver)

But, let’s suppose Mr. Smith was not available. Stan White needs to take Lisa Green off of hold on the phone.

“Ms. Green? I’m sorry but Mr. Smith is not available right now. Would you like to leave a message?

Lisa Green now has 3 options: She can leave a message with Stan White, she can email Mr. Smith, or she can try to call again later/tomorrow. She replies

“Yes, please. Please tell Mr. Smith I just have a short question about our meeting next week. If he can either call me back this afternoon, that would be great.”

Stan White asks,

Is this the best phone number to reach you? 12345678910?”

Lisa Green confirms the number, and thanks Stan White. He replies

Thank you, have a nice day.” and they end the call.

Be sure to check out next week’s post deal with more complicated business calls and useful phrases for how to handle them.

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