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5.

USING THE PHONE

I. Answer the following questions:


a. Can you find some pros and cons for using the phone during the working and the leisure
time?
b. Its been said that When the phone rings, theres usually a problem on the other end of
it. What problems can there be?
c. How much of your day do you spend on the phone? How much of that time is
productive? How much time of the working day do you think employees spend on the
phone for business purposes?

II. Here are some useful tips for using the phone in a foreign language. Read them
and match the paragraphs with the corresponding heading:

a. Practise dates and numbers


b. Make sure you understand the other speaker
c. Speak slowly and clearly
d. Use businesses and recordings
e. Practise with a friend
f. Learn telephone etiquette (manners)
1.
Listening to someone speaking in a second language over the telephone can be very challenging
because you cannot see the person you are trying to hear. However, it may be even more difficult
for the person you are talking with to understand you. You may not realize that your pronunciation
is not clear because your teacher and fellow students know and understand you. If you are nervous
about using the phone in English, you may notice yourself speaking very quickly. Practise or write
down what you are going to say and take a few deep breaths before you make a phone call.
2. ..
Do not pretend to understand everything you hear over the telephone. Even native speakers ask
each other to repeat and confirm information from time to time. This is especially important if you
are taking a message for someone else. Learn the appropriate expressions that English speakers use
when they do not hear something properly. Do not be afraid to remind the person to slow down
more than once. Keep your telephone in an area that is away from other noise distractions such as a
radio or television.

3. .
Ask another student to practise talking on the phone with you. You might choose one night a week
and take turns phoning each other at a certain time. Try to talk for at least fifteen minutes. You can
talk socially, or role play different scenarios in a business environment. If you do not have access
to a telephone, you can practise by setting two chairs up back to back. The most important thing
about practising telephone English is that you are not able to see each other's mouths. It is amazing
how much people lip-read without realizing.

4. .
There are many ways to get free telephone English practice. After business hours, you can call and
listen to your recorded messages. Use the phone in your everyday life. Call for a pizza delivery

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instead of going out to eat. Call a salon to book a hair appointment. Some large cities have free
recordings you can call for information such as your daily horoscope or the weather. Some
products have free phone numbers on the packaging that you can call for information.

5. .
The way that you speak to your best friend on the phone is very different to the way you should
speak to someone in a business setting. Many ESL/ EFL speakers make the mistake of being too
direct on the telephone. It is possible that the person on the other line will think that you are being
rude on purpose if you do not use formal language in certain situations. Sometimes just one word
such as "could" or "may" is necessary in order to sound polite. You should use the same modals
you would use in a formal "face-to-face" situation. Take the time to learn how to answer the phone
and say goodbye in a polite manner, as well as all the various ways one can start and end a
conversation casually.
6. .
It only takes a short time to memorize English Phonetic Spelling, but it is something that you will
be able to use in any country. You should also practise saying dates and numbers aloud. You and a
friend can write out a list of dates and numbers and take turns reading them over the phone to each
other.

III. You are going to listen to three telephone conversations. Write one or two words
or a number in the numbered spaces on the notes or forms below:

Conversation One. You will hear a man talking to an employment agency.


Date: 15/8/04
Time: 13.15
PRO PLAN Caller: Piet Morganson
EMPLOYMENT Company: Harris International [..........1................manufacturer]
Day required: from 22nd August
Skills/ Qualifications: good/ expert.....................2.............................
Special requirements: must be willing to work occasional ........3.............
Number of staff required: ..........................4......................

Conversation Two. You will hear a woman talking to the catering manager of her
organization.
CATERING DEPARTMENT
Week: 10-14 June
Day required: ..............5..................
Service: Variety of ........................6....................and dessert
Number of guests: 12
Location: .....................7.....................
Division: ...........................8..................... Contact name: Francesca Wilks

Conversation Three. You will hear two people discussing arrangements.


WEEK 41 OCTOBER
Monday 10

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Meeting with Engel and Volker at ..............9.................
Tuesday 11
Visitors arriving from ....................10...............at 6p.m. dinner
at Ginos restaurant.
Wednesday 12
Out of office
Finish ................................11........................
Friday 14
AGM (all day)
.............................12........................

IV. Fill in the gaps with a word or phrase you consider appropriate:
a.
Receptionist: Good Afternoon, Abernathy and Jones, how may I.1.. you?
Ms. Zellinger: Yes, I would like to speak to Joseph Abernathy, please.
Receptionist: I'm sorry, Mr. Abernathy is out of the .2.. at the moment.
Ms. Zellinger: Do you know ..3. to expect him?
Receptionist: He should ..4.about 3:00. Would you like to leave a message?
Ms. Zellinger: Yes. My name is Belinda Zellinger.
Receptionist:..5..Z-E-L-I-N-G-E-R?
Ms. Zellinger: It's with two L's.
Receptionist: Okay, and 6.. I tell him what this is in regards to?
Ms. Zellinger: Well, it's a rather .7.. matter...
Receptionist: That's okay. How can he .8 you, Ms. Zellinger?
Ms. Zellinger: 9555-4857.
Receptionist: 555-4857. Fine. I will give him the message .10.he returns.
Ms: Zellinger: Thank you very much.
Receptionist: You are 11... Goodbye.
b.
Man: Training department, Matthew ........1.................
Woman: Hello. Its Louise Geller .........2............ Can I speak to Mark, please? He deals with
workshops and things, ..................3..............he?
Man: Yes, thats right. Which department do you work for?
Woman: Im in Marketing......sorry, no. We call ourselves the Publicity Department now!
Man: Right. And you want to find out about the new training programme were putting
on? ...................4................ I get Mark to call you back? Hes just .............5............. of the office
at the moment.
Woman: Yes, ........................6.................. But what I actually want to discuss with him is the
possibility of going on a management course. I just got the details today.
Man: Oh, I see.
Woman: Well, I dont know how ..............7...............is left in the training budget for our
department. It seems quite expensive but its just what Im looking for.
Man: Right.

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Woman: The thing is I am heading up our West London branch in three months time. This
course would be a real boost for me.
Man: Well, leave it with me and Ill ............8............. Mark to call you when he comes back.
Woman: That ..............9...............be good. Thanks.
Man: OK, then. Bye.
Woman: Bye.

V. Choose the appropriate heading for the following situations:

Finishing a conversation Taking a message for someone


Listening to an answering machine Making special requests
Asking to speak with someone Introducing yourself
Confirming information Answering the phone
Leaving a message on an Connecting someone
answering machine

Hello? (informal)
Thank you for calling. This is X speaking. How can I help
you?
Hey George. It's Lisa calling. (informal)
Hello, this is Mary Evens calling.
Is Fred in? (informal)
Is Jack Sanders there, please? (informal)
May I speak with Mr. Green, please?
Would Mrs. Green be in/ available?
Hang on one second. I'll get him. (informal)
Please hold and I'll put you through to his office.
One moment please.
Could you please repeat that?
Would you mind spelling that for me?
Could you speak up a little please?
Can you speak a little slower please. My English isn't very
strong.
I'm sorry, Lisa's not here at the moment. Can I ask who's
calling?
I'm afraid he's stepped out. Would you like to leave a
message?
He's busy right now. Can you call again later?
I'll make sure she gets the message.
Ok, I've got it all down.
Let me repeat that just to make sure.
Did you say 555 Charles St.?
You said your name was John, right?
Hello. You've reached 222-6789. Please leave a detailed
message after the beep. Thank you.

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Hi, this is Elizabeth. I'm sorry I'm not available to take your
call at this time. Leave me a message and I'll get back to you
as soon as I can.
Hey Maria. It's Jack. Call me! (informal)
Hello, this is Richard calling for Lucy. Could you please
return my call as soon as possible. My number is 334-5689.
Thank you.

Thanks for calling. Bye for now.


I have to let you go now.
I have another call coming through. I better run.
I'm afraid that's my other line.

VI. Here are some examples of unhelpful phone language from a customer services
training session. Rewrite the phrases/ sentences to produce polite expressions:
1. What do you want?
2. I cant follow what you are saying.
3. Send me a copy of your receipt.
4. Its your problem, not ours.
5. We hear this same comment from every customer.
6. Ill ring you back some time next week.
7. I dont know how I can help you.
8. Anything else?
9. Hope you wont call us again with your problems.
10. Ill have to ask the manager if I can do anything about it.
VII.
VIII. Imagine an 8-reply dialogue for each of the following situations:
a. A good friend of yours has invited you to a movie. As you cannot remember details,
you give her a call.
b. You are an event organizer preparing a charity ball in you town. You ha just been
informed that several changes have occurred regarding the number of guests, the
menu and entertainment staff. Call your counsellor to make things clear.

IX. Work in pairs to role play the following situations:

a. Requesting Travel Information

Student A: Choose a city in your country. You are going to travel to this city for a business
meeting over the next weekend. Telephone a travel agency and reserve the following:
Round-trip flight
Hotel room for two nights
Restaurant recommendation
Prices and departure times

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Student B: You work in a travel agency. Listen to student A and offer him/her the following
solutions:
Round-trip flight: Air JW $450 Coach, $790 First Class
Hotel room for two nights: Hotel City $120 a night in the downtown area, Hotel Relax
$110 a night near the airport
Restaurant Recommendation: Chez Marceau - downtown - average price $70 a person

b. Product Information

Student A: You need to purchase six new computers for your office. Call JA's Computer World
and ask for the following information:
Current special offers on computers
Computer configuration (RAM, Hard Drive, CPU)
Guaranty
Possibility of discount for an order of six computers

Student B: You work in at JA's Computer World answer student A's questions using the
following information:
Two special offers: Multimedia Monster - with latest Pentium CPU, 256 RAM, 40 GB
Hard Drive, Monitor included - $2,500 AND Office Taskmaster - cheaper CPU, 64 RAM,
10 GB Hard Drive, Monitor not included - $1,200
1 Year guaranty on all computers
Discount of 5% for orders of more than five computers

c. Leaving a Message

Student A: You want to speak to Ms Braun about your account with her company, W&W. If Ms
Braun isn't in the office, leave the following information:
Your name
Telephone number: 347-8910 (or use your own)
Calling about changing conditions of your contract with W&W
You can be reached until 5 o'clock at the above number. If Ms Braun calls after 5 o'clock,
she should call 458-2416

Student B: You are a receptionist at W&W. Student A would like to speak to Ms Braun, but she
is out of the office. Take a message and make sure you get the following information:
Name and telephone number - ask student A to spell the surname
Message student A would like to leave for Ms Braun
How late Ms Braun can call student A at the given telephone number