Telephone english for ESL students

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  • By Karin Inge OSTERMANN

  • Lets talk about your PHONE useHow often do you use the phone?What type of phone do you use ?

    (mobile / land-line /on-line ) Who calls you the most?Who do you call the most?What functions do you perform on your phone?What is the average time spent on each call?How long do you spend on the phone daily?How long have you lasted without your phone?

  • Key words:

    Its speaking

    Hold the line, please.

    Ill call back

    Can I leave / take a messageIll put you through

  • Formal: Good morning. This is Sydney Transport. May I help you? Good afternoon. Hotel Hilton. This is John Axe speaking.

    Informal: Hello. Smith residence.

  • Formal:May I have your name, please? May I ask who's calling, please?

    Informal:Who's calling, please?Who's speaking, please?

  • Formal:Who would you like to speak with?

    Informal:Who do you want to talk [speak] to?

  • Formal:Could I ask what this is in connection with, please?May I ask what this is about, please?

    Informal: Can you tell me whats it about?

  • Formal: speakingInformal: Its me.

  • I'm driving at the moment.

    Can I call you back in . minutes?

    I cant speak at the moment. Can I get back to you later?

  • Asking the caller to wait Formal: Could you please hold the line for a moment?

    Informal: Hang on a second.

  • Could you speak more slowly?Excuse me, would you mind repeating it, please?Could you please spell that for me?

  • You said ., didn't you?O.K. Let me read that back to you.Could you send me an email or a text message confirming these details?

  • Formal: I'm sorry, Mr. Axe is unavailable at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?

    Informal: Sorry theyre not here, Can I take a message?

  • Whos speaking? Whats your phone number?Whats the message? please call/ will call back/ returned your call

  • Formal:Thank you for your call. (if they say Thank you for your help, you reply Yourewelcome)Goodbye

    Informal:Thanks for calling. Bye

  • Telephone SkillsRole-plays: 1 A: You are calling your friend Ken. You want to invite him to a party this Friday.

    B: You answer the phone. The person on the other end of the line wants to speak to Ken. Offer to take a message you need to ask for their name, address, date and time.

  • Role play 2A: You want to reserve a table for five at a restaurant called the Slanted Door. Call the restaurant and make a reservation for 8:00 this Saturday.B: You work at a restaurant called the Slanted Door. Answer the phone. (The restaurant is completely booked for Friday and Saturday nights this week.)

  • Role play 3A: You need to make a doctor's appointment because you hurt your back while you were cleaning the house. Call the doctor's office and make the appointment.

    B: You work in a doctor's office answering the phones.

  • Happy phone calls!!