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70 English Telephone Phrases

by Chetna Vasishth


So do you procrastinate over important phone calls? You are a student and sometimes you may need to call a teacher, or a coaching institute or maybe you are organising a college fest and you may need to call a sponsor. Maybe you are looking for an internship or a job and you need to make phone calls for that too.

But you are usually reluctant to make these calls and you silently keep hoping that one whatsapp message would do the trick.

So in this article I will give you
a) 70 Common English Phrases and Vocabulary Words to Speak Fluently on the Telephone in various situations.
b) Sandwich technique to give bad news in a positive way (this is a surpise addition, and you will love it)
c) 7 Bonus Tips to make you a telephone superstar

Let’s begin with the basics –

MAKING A CALL

Call to an office number

1. May I speak with Mr Deepak please
2. Could I speak to Ms Seema Kapoor please
3. I’d like to speak with Mr Akshay Kumar please
Tips – use words like could, would, may etc. instead of being more direct like want, can etc.

If it is the operator

4. Could you connect me to … please
5. Could you put me through to … please

Call to a mobile number

6. Am I speaking with ….
7. Hello, is that ….

Further conversation

8. This is Chetna Vasishth from ChetChat
9. The reason I am calling is to request for leave today on account of …
10. This is in connection with the football class tomorrow…..
11. Just a quick call to get an update on … the dance practice scheduled for this evening
12. I got your number from Mr. Srinivasan
13. I was given your number by Ms. Prabhakar
14. Is this a good time to speak?
15. I just got a missed call from this number
16. I am returning his call

If they ask you to spell your name

17. C as in Cat, J as in Jacket…

If they are busy

18. Sure, I will call him back, could you let me know what is a good time to call?

Leaving a message

19. Could I leave a message for him please

RECEIVING A CALL

20. May I know who’s calling please
21. Who am I speaking with please?
22. May I know where you are calling from?

Asking someone to hold

23. Just a moment please
24. May I place you on hold for a moment please
25. Could you hold on please
(could, would and may are always useful)

After you come back

26. Sorry to keep you waiting

GIVING NEGATIVE INFORMATION

27. I’m afraid she’s not available right now
28. I’m sorry you’ve dialed the wrong number
29. I’m afraid he’s not here / in a class / on another call at the moment

If you are busy

30. I’m sorry I’m just in the middle of something, could I call you back this afternoon
31. I’m sorry I’m getting into a class right now , could I please call you back in ….
32. I’m tied up at the moment, can I call you back in an hour or so
33. If it’s ok with you, can I buzz you back in the afternoon

Follow this up with

Taking a message

34. Can I take a message … for her
35. Would you like to leave a message
36. Could you please drop me a text (or whatsapp) and I’ll call you right back

CANCELLING / RESCHEDULING

37. Mind if I take a rain check on the get together this evening? I have to study late tonight.
38. I’m sorry I might have to opt out of the event
39. I’m sorry we might have to axe / call off the event OR
40. I am sorry miss, I am unable to attend school / class today due to a sudden exigency
41. Ma’am I am sorry I will not be able to attend the class tomorrow, due to… may I please request for a replacement class if possible

FIXING UP TIME

42. Shall we say November 20?
43. How about the following week?
44. Would the week of January 18 work for you?

CALLING TO PARTICIPATE / NOMINATE YOURSELF

45. This is in connection with the Sports day OR rock fest OR captaincy position announced etc.. I am calling to express my interest in participating in the event
46. I am calling with regard to the forthcoming event,,, I would like to volunteer for the same. Request if you could let me know how I can go about this….

CALLING FOR INFORMATION

47. Miss, I am sorry I was not able to attend school all of last week, may I come and see you after school this evening to pick up the notes
48. Ma’am, I am calling with a request. I have not been able to follow the topic on Kinetic energy, could you please suggest an alternate book / source that I could use for this topic
49. Sir, I am just calling to confirm about the submission date for the Science project, there was some confusion in class about the exact date

CALLING FOR AN INTERNSHIP POSITION

50. This is in connection with the internship position advertised by your company on …. website. I am very interested in this position and I wish to apply for the same.
51. I am calling in connection with a marketing intern position at your company that I am very interested to apply for. May I please know who is the right person to speak to in this regard

NETWORK ISSUES

52. I’m sorry I can’t hear you well
53. I’m sorry, your voice seems to be breaking up
54. The network is bad,,,could you please repeat that
55. Let me call you back / from another number or another location
56. I think we got cut off

Checking if the network is fine this time before starting

57. Can you hear me well?
58. Am I audible to you

LOW BATTERY

59. We might get cut off since my battery is about to die
60. I might lose you since my battery is very low
61. I am running on low battery, could you please send me a text message and I will call you back once I charge my phone.
62. Let me grab a charger and I will call you back

JUST BEFORE ENDING A CALL

63. So basically I need to do three things a), b) and c) and you will send an email to Mr Sharma ….
64. Thank you so much for your time, it was great speaking with you
65. Alright! Nice talking to you then
66. Thanks for calling,
67. It was great connecting
68. Lovely talking with you / speaking to you

If it is casual –

69. Ok then, have a nice day or sounds great or
70. Ok, Talk to you later, Gotta go,

SANDWICH TECHNIQUE

This Technique is used to give bad news effectively. Suppose you need to give negative feedback to a team member who has not been contributing to team projects. Use this four sentence technique

1. The top bun represents starting on a positive note, for example: “Hey Sam, Nice job on the cover page of the project that you designed, it looked very attractive’
2. The lettuce represents your transition, for example, a pause, or something like: “one little thing I wanted to share with you OR One area of improvement might be ..’
3. The meat represents the main substance of your constructive feedback message,: “While I really believe you are very creative, the group is struggling to complete the project and it would be great if you could contribute at least one hour every day for this project…”
4. And the bottom bun represents your close, which might be something like: “Overall, I think the project is shaping up quite well and I’m sure all of us will crack the final presentation’
How about you use the sandwich technique for a situation that you are facing and share it with me in the comments section under the video.

BONUS TIPS

1. Smile while talking on the phone, this will ensure that you are polite
2. Pronounce your words slowly since there is no body language to support the words
3. Video calling – clothes / background
4. Always volunteer to call the person, don’t wait for a call from them.
5. Please return all missed calls, it is polite and you build great credibility
6. Always use the phone when you think the situation is tricky or complicated. WhatsApp is not the best way to deal with problem situations.
7. Practice, practice, practice

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