Speaking politely on the phone in English is a key skill. There is no doubt about it. This skill is particularly important if you need to use English at work.
Speaking and listening to English on the phone can be difficult for English learners. Here are some things that you can say to make speaking on the phone easier. Actually, most of these can be used in face to face conversations too. I recommend that you memorize all of these.
Answering the Phone
- Could you please repeat that?
- Would you please spell that for me?
- How do you spell that?
- Can you please speak a little slower?
- Can you call back later?
- Would you mind calling back this afternoon?
- Can I call you back in one hour?
- Please hold on for a moment.
When we do not know who is calling, then we can answer the phone using these sentences.
- Hello. Jon here. (more informal)
- Hello? Sarah speaking.
- Hello? This is Greg.
- Hello? This is Greg. May I ask who is calling?
- Hello? This is Jon. Who am I speaking to?
- Hello? This is Sarah. May I know who is calling, please?
- Hello? Tim speaking. Who's calling, please?
- Thank you for calling Bill's Pizza. How may I help you?
- Sarah's Dress Shop. This is Vicky speaking. What can I do for you?
If we know who is calling, then we usually greet the person. The greeting usually depends on the relationship. We usually greet our brother or best friend differently than we greet our boss.
Introducing Yourself on the Phone
- Hello James. How are you?
- Hi Maria. What's up? (informal)
- Hello Mr. Smith. It is great to hear from you.
- Hello Mrs. Jones. What can I do for you today?
- Hello Bill. How is everything going?
If we are calling a business, company, or someone who does not know who we are or does not know our phone number, then we will need to introduce our self.
Asking to Speak with Someone
- Hello Bill. This is Mary.
- Hello James. This is Mary calling.
- Hello. It is Mary.
- Hello. It is Mary from Top Design Clothing Company.
If we are calling a business or office, then we might need to be connected to another person.
- Hi. This is Bill Myers. May I speak with Tina, please?
- Hello. Can I speak with Jill?
- Hello. Could you please connect me with Tina Bowers, please?
- Hello. May I speak with Jon Smith, please?
- Good morning. Is Mark Brown available?
- Hello. Can I speak with the manager, please?
If the person is not there, then you can leave a message.
- Can I leave a message?
- Would you please give Mr. Smith a message from me?
- Could you tell her that Nick called?
- Could you please have her call me at 567-9878.
Someone might ask us to connect us to another person when they call our office.
- Sure, no problem. Just a second.
- One moment, please. I'll connect you right away.
- No problem. Please hold for a second.
- Hold the line please. I'll put you through.
- I'm sorry. Mr. Smith is busy right now.
- Unfortunately, Dr. Black is not available at the moment.
If the person is busy or unavailable, then you can offer to take a message.
Leaving a Voicemail
- I'm sorry, but Mr. Jones is not in the office right now. May I take a message?
- Steve is in a meeting at the moment, but I can take a message if you like.
- I'm sorry, but Dr. Brown is busy today. Would you like to leave a message?
If we call somebody, but they do not answer, then we can leave a voicemail.
Ending a Conversation
- Hello Nick. It's Michael. Call me back when you get this. (informal)
- Hey Jill. It's Tony. Give me a call when you get this message. (informal)
- Hello, this is James Gillson. Could you please return my call as soon as possible? My number is 220-567-9802.
- Hello Mr. Smith. This is Bill from Bill's Car Repair. I wanted to let you know that your car is fixed and you can pick it up anytime.
Ending a phone conversation is similar to ending a face to face conversation.
This free English lesson will help you improve your English speaking abilities and learn how to speak professionally and politely on the phone. Learn the sentences in the lesson well and come back to review from time to time.
- I have to go. I'll talk to you later. (informal)
- Thanks for calling. Goodbye.
- Have a good day. Thanks for calling.
- I've got another call and I have to take it. I will call you back.