Essential Language to answer with confidence
Here is some key language you can use on the telephone.
In companies, it is common to answer the telephone with the phrases below:
Hello, Good afternoon, Creative Designs, Janet speaking.
Hello, Engineering department, Janet speaking.
Hello, Janet speaking.
Hello Janet, may I speak with Simon Anderson, please.
TIP: Using modal verbs “May” or “Could” is a polite way of asking for someone. It is also good practise to start with a greeting and state your name and company.
Good Morning/Good Afternoon, this is _______ (your name) from _________(your company).
Hello, it’s Elon Munk from Munk Associates here.
To ask to speak to someone you can say:
I’d like to speak to __________, please.
Could/May I speak to _______, please.
Could you put me through to __________(the name of the person), please?
Could you connect me with ___________ (or the extension number), please?
If the caller does not give his/her name or company, these are the ways you can ask politely, again using modal verbs at the beginning of your question:
May I know your name, please?
May I know who’s calling, please?
Could I tell him who’s calling?
And asking for the reason of their call:
May I know the reason for your call?
May I know the subject of your call?
How may I help you?
Could you tell me what you’re calling about?
To explain the reason for your call:
Sure, I’m calling about …
I’m calling to ask …
The reason I’m calling is to …
I’m returning his / her call from yesterday.
It’s a private matter / It’s personal.
TIP: Use this phrase if you don’t want to tell the reason of your call.
To transfer a call to someone else:
Just one moment, I’ll put you through to ________.
Please hold the line.
Hold the line please, I’ll connect you.
Yes, I’ll pass you to him/her.
If the person is not available, you may use the following phrases:
I’m afraid Mr Evans is not available at the moment.
TIP: The word “afraid” here has nothing to do with fear, its just a polite way of apologising.
I’m sorry she’s (out of the office / in a meeting / on holiday / busy at the moment).
I’m afraid he’s on the other line at the moment.
I’m afraid the line’s engaged at the moment. Do you want to hold?
TIP: This is more commonly said in the United Kingdom.
I’m afraid the line’s busy at the moment. Do you want to hold?
TIP: This is more commonly said in the United States.
You can offer to take a message in the following ways:
Can I take a message?
If you give me your number, I’ll ask Mr/Mrs _______ to call you back.
Would you like to leave a message?
Could I take your name and contact number please?
And to ask to leave a message with the following sentences:
Can I leave a message?
Could you ask Mr ________ to call me back?
Can you have Mr ________ return my call?
Could you let him know that I called and ask him to call me back as soon as possible?
To confirm you will pass the message:
OK Mr/Mrs _____, I’ll pass him the message as soon as he steps out of the meeting.
I’ll give him/her the message.
I’ll make sure he/she gets the message.
If you do not understand someone’s name, you can ask them to repeat it with the following sentences:
Sorry, could you spell your name for me, please?
Sorry, could I just check your family name, please?
It’s Mr________ ?
Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.
Could you repeat it, please?
I’ll repeat that, it’s ___________
Did you say……?
To politely end the call:
Was there anything else?
No, that was all, thanks.
Thanks for calling, Have a nice day!
Thanks for your help. Bye!
Now you’ll have a chance to check your understanding of these key phrases.