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Video:Learn ESL: Essential Phrases for Business Phone Conversations

with Alex Jimenez

Business phone conversations should follow certain etiquette. Watch this About.com video geared to help ESL students learn essential phrases and best ways to approach a business phone conversation.See Transcript

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Transcript:Learn ESL: Essential Phrases for Business Phone Conversations

Hi, I’m Alex Jimenez, a licensed ESL teacher in New York City.  I’m here with About.com today to talk to you about essential phrases for business phone conversations.  

Answer a Business Phone

When a call comes in to a main line of a company, you should answer the phone by saying, "Good morning, this is ABC Web Design, how may I direct your call." At which point you’ll direct the caller to the extension or department that they’ve asked for.   However, when a phone call comes in directly to your line, you can be more personal and say, "Good morning, this is Liz.  How may I help you?"  This lets the caller know that they’ve reached the person they wish to speak to. 

Taking a Message

Sometimes a caller will call at a time when the person they are trying to reach just isn’t available.  You can tell them, "Sorry, Vanessa isn’t available at the moment.  Would you like to leave a message?" Or, you can say, "Vanessa isn’t at her desk right now, would you like to leave a message on her voicemail?"  At which point you would put the caller through to her voicemail.

Best Practices for Business Phone Conversations

If the caller chooses to leave a message with you, it’s really important that you get their contact information down correctly.  You might want to ask them, "How do you spell your name, please?" Or, "How do you spell that address?" After they’ve left their message with you, you’ll want to repeat it back to them, by saying "Let me repeat that information back to you, just to make sure I’ve got it right." And then after you’ve repeated the message back, they’ll let you know if there’s anything you need to correct or if it’s just right. 

Sometimes, you’ll need to spell out words over the phone.  It would help both you and the caller if you would use words that represent each letter of the alphabet.  For example, you could say "My last name is Powers – that’s P as in Paul, O as in Olive, W as in Water, E as in Egg, R as in Robert and S as in Sam." This way, both caller and receiver get it right. 

If the caller has nothing more to add, you can just finish the call by saying, "Thank you for calling ABC Web Design.  Have a great day."

 I hope these tips help you to improve your business phone conversation skills.  For more information on business phone conversation skills, please visit About.com.

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