How to Speak Well on the Phone (Part 2)
In today’s article, we will be talking about how to answer the phone. We have discussed in our previous blog that speaking on the phone can be quite a challenge for English learners. So, one simple solution for that is to memorize key phone expressions that we use all the time.
Doing this will improve your listening, you’ll be less anxious because you’ll know what people will normally say on the phone, and your speaking as well as confidence will improve.
When someone calls and you pick up the phone, you answer by asking a question, “Hello”.
The person who is calling will then ask a question, which can be done in different ways:
1) “This is (caller’s name)______ calling for ______ (Mr. Smith).”
*This expression is formal and commonly used at work.
2) “Is ________ in(the person that the caller wants to speak with)?”
3) “Is ________(the person that the caller wants to speak with)there, please?”
4) “May I speak with ______(the person that the caller wants to speak with), please?”
Examples: “May I speak with the principal, please?”
“May I speak with the head nurse, please?”
“May I speak with the manager, please?”
The answers for the questions above also vary. So if you are the person the caller is looking for, you say:
*This means, it’s me I’m the person you’re looking for.
2) “Josh (or your name) speaking. How can I help you?”
3) “This is Elise (or your name).”
There are instances when you pick up the phone and the caller is looking for another person, like your mother, brother, your boss, or officemate. So, here are possible responses that you can give. These phrases say ‘you need to wait’, but you don’t say “wait” because that’s very direct. We discussed in our previous blog that we need to avoid being direct on the phone because that would be rude. Here are polite ways of saying “wait”.
1) “Please hang on. I’ll get ______ (the person that the caller wants to speak with).”
2) “Please hang on a sec.”
3) “Just a moment please.”
4) “One moment please.”
For cases when the person that the caller needs is not around, you can say:
1) “I’m sorry. She/ He/ _____ (Name of person) is not here at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?”
2) “Oh, sorry. She/ He/ _____ (Name) is not here. I can take your message.”
After taking the message, you can hang up the phone.
There are many other scenarios that can happen during a phone call. We will discuss taking a message and ending a phone call in our next article. In the meantime, you can practice common phone expressions with another English learner or with your LingualBox teacher.
Continue to How to Speak Well on the Phone (Part 3).