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[ESL/EFL] Phone Etiquette
First in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev
Jennifer Lebedev (jenesl)     Print Article 
  Published 2008-06-18 07:54 (KST)   

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TIP #1

Let's begin with a simple situation. The phone rings (Ring-a-ling!) and the caller asks for you by name. You say: "Speaking."

This is appropriate for any phone call, business or personal.

Please don't say something like: "Yeah. That's me."

TIP #2

Now the phone rings (Ring-a-ling!) and the caller asks for someone you don't know. Obviously, they have the wrong number.

The simplest and most polite response is: "I'm sorry. You have the wrong number."

If you're in the workplace, you could say: "I'm sorry. There's no one here by that name."

TIP #3

(Ring-a-ling!) If you answer the phone and it's a call for another person in your home or office, you can say one of two things:

1) If the person is able to talk, say: "One moment. May I ask who's calling, please?"

2) If the person is not able to talk, say: "I'm sorry. She isn't available right now. May I take a message?"

Less formal would be: "I'm sorry. He can't come to the phone right now. Would you like to leave a message?"

TIP #4

(Ring-a-ling!) You answer the phone, but you really don't have the time to talk. What do you tell the caller?

If it's a business call, you can say: "I'm very sorry. I'm not really able to talk right now. Could I return your call later?"

If it's a friend, you can say:"Hey! How ya doin'? Listen. Can I call you back?"

TIP #5

The caller said something that you didn't hear or didn't understand.

If it's a business call, you can say: "I'm sorry. Could you please repeat that?"

If it's a personal call, you can say: "I'm sorry. I didn't catch that."

Please don't say something like: "HUH? Whadja say?"

TIP #6

Often you need to end the conversation, so what can you say?

If it's a friend, you can say: "Hey, listen. I'm sorry, but I gotta go right now. I'll talk to you later, okay?"

You might add: "Take care!"

If it's a business call, it's fine to say something like this: "I'm so sorry. I'm afraid I have to go now, but I'm glad we got the chance to talk. Perhaps we can talk again sometime soon...say next week?"

- Tips for Phone Etiquette by Jennifer Lebedev 

This is an original podcast I created for the OMNI community.
©2008 OhmyNews
Jennifer Lebedev is a teacher of English as a second and foreign language with 12 years experience. She has additional experience in teacher training and administration of an IEP and is a published author. Find more of her online English instruction on YouTube under the name "JenniferESL".
Other articles by reporter Jennifer Lebedev

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Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
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