If you're like most English learners, you find it difficult to make
phone calls in English. But if you're traveling abroad or working in a
foreign company, using English on the phone is essential. So how do you
conquer this last obstacle to fluency? Prepare yourself for any
telephone situation with the following phrases and techniques.
Start any telephone conversation by introducing yourself: "Hello, this is Peter Jones. If you answer the phone and the caller fails to identify himself, you can say: "May I ask who's calling, please?"
Asking for someone / Making a request
If you're calling to talk to a specific person, then phrase your request as a polite question, e.g. "May I speak to Rachel Smith, please?" When you have an extension number but no name you can say: "Could I have extension number 635?" But if you're calling with a specific purpose, then a statement works best: "I’m calling to make a reservation."
Holding and transferring
"Please hold" is telephone language for "just a moment". When you need to be transferred (connected) to another extension you'll often hear: "Connecting your call..." or "Please hold, I'll transfer you.".” If you call a business at a busy time, you might hear only a brief, "Hello, please hold!" before the operator switches over to another line.
Leaving a message
When the person you're calling isn't available, be prepared to leave a message. You might use voicemail (a digital voice recording system) or an answering machine (a machine that records messages onto a tape). If you're talking to an operator, they'll ask: "Would you like to leave a message?" Or you can say, "May I leave a message?" Be sure to leave your phone number if you want the person to return your call. This is called a call back number.
Asking the speaker to slow down
If you're not sure you'll understand everything in English, be honest. Tell the speaker immediately: "My English isn't very strong, could you please speak slowly?" Most people will appreciate your honesty and will be happy to oblige.
Write it down
If you're nervous about telephoning in English, it's helpful to prepare a
script. Write out a brief outline of what you need to say. You can
use it to organize your thoughts beforehand and as a reference if you
get confused during the call.
Remember your manners
It's very important to sound polite on the telephone. Use phrases like <="" b="">, 'Could you', and 'Please' when making requests. And always remember to finish a conversation with 'Thank you' and 'Goodbye'!