Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lesson 102. Talking on phone in fluent English: Tips on improving speaking skills

One of the queries we most often get is about telephonic conversation and the hesitation in responding over phone. 'How to speak on telephone (in English), is the commonest question.

Though it should be comparatively easier to talk on phone as the person is not in front of you and those who are low on confidence should find it easier.

But somehow it's the other way round. English learners are ill at ease when they receive a phone call. That's why I have come up with this post.

When you call someone you can ask for him in any of the following ways:

Is Tom there?


May I speak to Tom please?


Can I speak to Tom?

The answers [replies] can be: 

Sure, just a moment/ I'm sorry, he is not around/ Can you please call after 5 minutes


He is on leave today/ Hold on I'll see if he is in/ He is out at the moment, do you want to leave a message?


Yes, I'll just get him/ I'm afraid the line is busy, do you want to hold?.

At the end of the conversation, you can politely say:

I'd better go now. I have to go to my music class/ See you then...Goodbye


That's fine. Ok, then I'll call you again


That was a nice conversation let's catch up over phone some other day/ I'll give you a ring tomorrow....

Mock conversation over telephone

Jim: Hi Chris
Chris: Oh Jim, nice to hear your voice after a long time

Jim: So you recognised me
Chris: Of course.

Jim: I just thought that we haven't spoken for a long time so...
Chris: That's so nice of you to remember me. I thought laziness...

Jim: I know...(laughs) ...are you free tonight?
Chris: want me to come over.

Jim: Hello? Are you there?
Chris: I can hear you

Jim: Oh..I thought I lost you....
Chris: Nah...the line works fine...I'll be at your place.

Jim: Ok done. See you in two hours.

In the past we have published sample conversations on telephonic English, which you can find here.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps saying, "Would you like to leave a message?", instead of, "Do you want to", might be more polite.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting...I will be back again to read more on this topic.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant site, I had not noticed earlier during my searches!
Continue the wonderful work!