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Making a phone call in English: 8 Useful Tips

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The telephone is still a useful and common means of business communication especially with the arrival of very low-cost calls through social media and specific apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, Facebook & Yahoo Messenger to name a few. Let’s take a look at 8 great tips to help you make phone calls with confidence!

1 – Be prepared

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Make notes, write down what you need to say. Make sure you have the right documents, emails, or correspondence at hand so that when you actually make the call, so that you won’t have to look for things. Think about the words and sentences you want to use, and make sure they are appropriate and correct. Practise these sentences beforehand so that they will sound natural when you speak.

2 – Speak clearly

Have you ever spoken to someone on the phone who spoke so softly you that you could not hear them? Was it frustrating? Often when we feel nervous or uncomfortable, we speak softly. This can be very challenging for others on the telephone. In order to improve your ability to speak clearly, practice! Practicing what to say on the telephone will help you to develop confidence and become comfortable with the words and sounds in English. A great way to do this is to record yourself and listen to yourself speak. Use your smart phone or laptop to record yourself. It will help you:
• Perfect what you want to say
• Improve your pronunciation
• Correct grammar mistakes
• Become comfortable with your voice in English

3 – Use a professional greeting

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A friendly, professional greeting is always a good way to answer the phone at work. If you need to do it in English, here are some suggestions:
– Keep it simple with: Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon.
– Be helpful by providing your name, your organisation/company, and an offer to help with whatever they need. For example: “Good morning. This is Claudio with EC School. How can I help you?”

4 – Ask to put someone on hold, don’t just do it!

If you’re speaking to someone, but you need a few moments to review information, it is best to put them on hold for a moment. You might need a moment to:
– answer another call
– talk to a colleague
– take a moment to think about what you want to say in English
These are all good reasons to put someone on hold. But it’s important to ask first. You can do that by simply saying: Could you hold for a moment? Do you mind holding for a moment? May I put you on hold?

5 – Have paper and a pen handy

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Simple, but useful! Of course, you’ll need a piece of paper and a pen if you need to take notes or write important details from the phone call. but it’s also useful for your English skills. While you are listening, you can write down words or expressions you want to use when it’s your turn to speak. This will help you avoid forgetting what to say. And it will help you organize your thoughts clearly.

6 – Show you are listening

Have you heard your English-speaking colleagues say things like:
– “Hmmm”
– “Yeah”
– “Oh, I see”
– “Right”
– “Exactly”
Why do they do that? Well, On the telephone, we can’t see the other person, so you can use these filler words or sounds to show that you’re paying attention to what’s being said.

7 – Repeat back important details

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Do you write notes during a call? Never be afraid to repeat important information to check that it’s correct. To do this politely, simply use one of these expressions: “Great. I’d like to repeat that back to you to make sure it’s correct” or ”can I repeat that back to you?”

8 – Practise English dates

Dates and times seem simple, but when you’re on the phone and have to think or speak quickly, it’s easy to get confused or make a mistake. Once again, practise is your friend – practise saying dates and times out loud, because doing that will help you remember how to say these more easily when you’re on the telephone.

Remember – don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, repetition, or to slow down! The most important thing is clear communication.

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