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Business English Practice — Telephone conversations

Having telephone conversations in a second language can be very stressful. If you don’t know what to say, it is very common to feel nervous in any conversation. This is true even when speaking in your native tongue. One of the main reasons people get nervous is because they aren’t prepared and know they might make mistakes during the conversation.

To improve confidence on the phone you must learn what to say. So, let’s practice.

Business Telephoning Practice

1. Listen and complete the gaps.

A: «Hello? This is Steve.»
B: «Hi Steve, this is Mary from ABC Company. 1. ______________»
A: «Hi Mary. How are you doing?»
B: «I’m doing great thanks.»
A: «Thanks for returning my call. I couldn’t 2._______________ the ending balance on fiscal year 2003 didn’t match the beginning balance on of 2004.»
B: «When I checked, it was matching. How much is the difference?»
A: «The amount is exactly 3. $_______.»
B: «Oh. I know what the problem is. We opened another bank account at the end of fiscal year 2003. I might not have included the new bank statements when I 4. ______________.»
A: «That makes sense. I’m just glad it wasn’t out of my miscalculation. Can you send over the statements? I should 5.___________ by end of day since everything looks good.»
B: «Sure. I’ll fax them to you immediately. Is 555-123-4567 the number I should fax it to?»
A: «Yes. That is the correct number.»
B: «I’ll do it right now.»
A: «Thank you for your help.»
B: «I should have sent them over to you the first time. I  6.________________.»
A: «No problem.»
B: «Thank you.»
A: «Thank you. Bye.»

.
Answers
1. I’m returning your call
2. figure out why
3. 42,000
4. sent over the information
5. be done
6. apologize for that
.

Telephone: connecting

2. Listen, see if you can hear some of the phrases in the gaps.

.

Michelle: Hello, you’ve 1. ________ the marketing department. How can I help?
Male: Yes can I speak to Rosalind Wilson, please?
Michelle: 2.__________ please?
Male: It’s Richard Davies here
Michelle: Certainly. Please hold and I’ll 3._____________.
Male: Thank you.

Michelle: Hello, marketing. How can I help?
Male: Could I speak to Jason Roberts please?
Michelle: Certainly. 4. ________________
Male: My name’s Mike Andrews.
Michelle: Just a second — I’ll see 5.______________. Hello, Jason, I’ve got Mike Andrews on the phone for you … OK — I’ll put him through. 6. _____________, I’m just putting you through.

.
Answers
1. reached
2. Who’s calling
3. put you through
4. Who shall I say is calling?
5. if he’s in
6. Hang on a moment

Telephone: appointments

3. Listen to the audio track and check your understanding by reading the script below
 .
Audioscript
Michelle: Mr Hibberd’s office!
Peter: Hello, can I speak to Brian Hibberd, please?
Michelle: I’m afraid he’s in a meeting until lunchtime. Can I take a message?
Peter: Well, I’d like to arrange an appointment to see him, please. It’s Peter Jefferson here.
Michelle: Could you hold on for a minute, Mr Jefferson. I’ll just look in the diary. So when’s convenient for you?
Peter: Some time next week if possible. I gather he’s away the following week.
Michelle: Yes, that’s right, he’s on holiday for a fortnight.
Peter: Well, I need to see him before he goes away. So would next Wednesday be okay?
Michelle: Wednesday . let me see . he’s out of the office all morning. But he’s free in the afternoon, after about three.
Peter: Three o’clock is difficult. But I could make it after four.
Michelle: So shall we say 4.15 next Wednesday, in Mr Hibberd’s office?
Peter: Yes, that sounds fine. Thanks very much.
Michelle: Okay, then. Bye.

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