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Must-Know Telephone Phrases [Successful English on the Telephone]

Hey, it’s Annemarie with Speak Confident
English and this is exactly where you want to be every week to get the confidence
you want for your life and work in English. I’m curious, how comfortable are you speaking
on the telephone in English? I can imagine how your face dropped. I know that speaking on the phone in
English might be one of your nightmare scenarios. You already feel nervous communicating
in English and when it’s on the telephone you have no time to prepare. The questions are unexpected and of
course you don’t get to see the person communicate. It’s 100% dependent on
your listening skills, your ability to understand and your
ability to think in the moment and immediately respond. That is a big challenge and I’m curious
how much time have you spent searching the internet for information about what
to say when you’re on the telephone? Because of course you want to say the
same things native speakers say you want to sound clear and
professional on the telephone. That’s exactly what we’re going to focus
on in today’s Confident English lesson. You’re going to get essential phrases
for successful telephone calls and I’m going to share with you the same things
that native speakers say so that you can hear how they sound, practice them and start using
them in your own telephone calls. Now, before we get started today, I want to let you know that in this
video lesson I’m going to share with you some of the most common and most
important things you should say on the telephone, but I have a much fuller lesson
available on the Speak Confident English website. In that lesson, you’ll find 46 phrases that you can use
on the telephone for successful easy phone calls. So after
you watch this video, I definitely want you to
check that out. All right, let’s dive in and talk about the language
you need for answering the telephone in English professionally and informally. Greetings and introductions. Asking to speak with someone or
asking to put someone on hold, which means you’re asking
them to wait for a moment. Clarifying information to make sure
you have the right information. What to say when you’re writing down a
message for someone or what to say if you are the one leaving the message. And finally how to end your phone
call in English. So number one, answering the phone in
English, your telephone rings. And what do native speakers usually say? If this is a professional situation and
I’m answering the telephone for work, there are two options that are common. Number one is what we use when it’s not
important to say the name of the company or what department you’re in. So you
might answer the telephone and say, hello, this is Annemarie. And number
two is what we would say. If you do need to say what
company you’re working for, what department you’re in, or
to ask someone how you can help. So it would sound like, hello, this is
Annemarie was Speak Confident English. How can I help you? Or this is
Annemarie in the accounting department. How can I help you? Now an informal or casual way of answering
the telephone would be to simply say hello. Notice when I say that that my voice
goes up at the end it indicates a kind of question hello or I might
also say this is Annemarie. Those informal ways of answering the
phone are best when you know the person calling you and today almost
every telephone shows us
the number or the name of the person calling so we usually know
in advance how to answer the telephone. Now number two, let’s say you are
the person making the phone call, which means you need to start with a
greeting and then immediately introduce yourself. That would sound like, hello, this is Annemarie with Speak Confident
English I’m calling about and then you would include the specific reason
that you’re calling. For example, I’m calling to get more information
about your services or I’m calling to confirm the dates of a meeting next week. Now if you’re calling someone
that you talk to every week, we don’t need to be so formal, so a
more casual version would be, Hey, it’s Annemarie over at
Speak Confident English. I just wanted to call to confirm the
meeting for next week. Situation. Number three is when you’re calling
someone specific and you need to ask for them on the phone in a professional
situation, it would sound like, hi, this is Annemarie with
Speak Confident English. Is Laura available or
may I speak to Laura? If it’s not important who you speak to, but you need to speak with someone
inside a specific department. You can say, hi, this is Annemarie
with Speak Confident English. Could you connect me to the accounting
department or could you connect me to the human resources office? Now
for a quick informal example, if you’re calling someone that you
talk to regularly, you might say, hi, this is Annemarie. Is Laura
free or is Laura available? In situation number four, you need to put someone on hold to put
someone on hold means to ask them to wait. You might need to do this because
you’re searching for more information. Maybe you need to see if someone is
available or maybe you just need to take a few deep breaths, calm down and
prepare to speak in English. This is actually a strategy
I teach my students. If you get a phone call in English,
and you feel anxious, nervous, or overwhelmed, simply ask someone to hold for a moment
and then take a few deep breaths, calm down, think about what you want to say and
then go back to the telephone call. So here are a few really
professional, polite ways to do that. May I put you on hold for a moment? Could I ask you to hold for a moment? Would you mind holding for a moment? You could even add some
details. For example, would you mind holding for a moment
while I get that information for you? Or could I put you on hold
while I see if she’s available? And now let’s switch to an informal
way of putting someone on hold. You could simply say, I’m going
to put you on hold for a sec. I’m going to put you on hold for a sec. Sec is short for second. I’m going
to put you on hold for a second. Now before I move on to
situation number five, I actually have a full lesson on all the
different ways that we ask someone to wait in English. Whether it’s on
the telephone or face to face, so after you watch this lesson on
essential phrases to use on the telephone, definitely check that out. I’ll leave a link in this video
and just below in the notes. Now, situation number five might be the
most important one in this lesson. It’s all about how to clarify information
or to make sure the details that you understand are correct. This is
something that is absolutely essential, especially on the phone and I know that
you might feel nervous about asking someone to repeat themselves or slow down, but I want you to know you are not alone
when you need to ask those questions. When I talk to native
speakers on the telephone, sometimes I also have to ask them
to repeat information or slow down. In fact, just last week
in one of my classes, I was working with my students on language
to use on the telephone and we were practicing different situations and I
told my students that day I had to speak to someone at a bank. She was a native
speaker. I was a native speaker, but I didn’t understand anything. She said she was speaking way too fast
and she had a strong accent from another part of the United States. So several times during the phone
call I had to ask her to repeat, I had to ask her to slow down and
I had to confirm the information. It is 100% okay to do that. And here are the phrases that we use. I’m sorry I didn’t catch that. Could
you say that one more time or I’m, I didn’t quite understand. Could you
say that once more? Sorry to interrupt, but before you continue, can I clarify what you said and then
you would repeat the information. For example, you might repeat
the phone number, the address, the time or the date of a meeting,
whatever the important details are, repeat those to make sure they’re
correct. So if I’m confirming an address, it might sound something like,
I’m sorry, before you continue, can I confirm the
address that you gave me? You said 1227 7th Street Southwest, is that right? And finally with street names
or an individual’s name, it’s always okay to ask for
the spelling and we simply say, could you spell that
out for me? All right, situation number six is when you need
to write down a message and give that message to someone else. What
could you say on the telephone? Imagine someone calls to speak to your
boss, but your boss isn’t available. So you might say something like, I’m
sorry, she’s not available at the moment. Can I take a message for
her? An alternative would be, I’m afraid she’s away at the moment, but may I ask who’s calling and can
I give her a message for you? Now, if you’re going to leave
a message for someone, if you’re going to give
some important details, make sure that you say
it slowly and clearly, just like you want the
other person to speak. So if you need to spell your name or
give a phone number or an address, make sure to slow down. When you speak. It gives the other person
time to listen carefully. Think about what you’re saying
and make sure they understand it. Let me and finally situation number seven
is what should you say when it’s time to end the call. Sometimes
this feels really awkward. You don’t know what to say at the end
and maybe you just hang up the phone really fast. Instead of doing that, here are some things that native speakers
say when it’s time to finish the phone call. Thank you so much for calling.
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to let
me know. Thank you for calling. I’ll make sure she gets the message. Thanks for calling and I’ll see
you next week at the meeting. An informal way to end a phone call with
someone like a colleague or a neighbor is to simply say it was great to
chat and I’ll talk to you again soon. And with that you have essential phrases
to use for successful telephone calls and sound professional. Plus you’re using the same
language that native speakers use. Now before we finish, I have two
challenge questions for you. Number one: is there a specific kind of telephone
call that you need to make in English and you would love for me to give you a
common phrase or question that native speakers use? If you do, share that situation with me in the
comments and I’ll definitely give you the right language that you
need for that situation. Question number two is what is one new
phrase that you learned today that you can start using in your
telephone calls in English? I would love to know what it is and
you could even practice using it in a sentence to make sure that you’ve
got it right. And with that, thank you so much for joining
me. If you enjoyed this lesson, I would love to know, and you can
tell me in three ways. Number one, give this lesson a thumbs up on YouTube
and subscribe to the Speak Confident English channel so you never miss
one of my weekly lessons. Number two, share this lesson with friends and
colleagues on Facebook. And number three, if you know someone who needs to
improve their English on the telephone, email them this lesson
directly. Have a fantastic week. Thank you for joining me and I’ll see
you next time for your Confident English lesson.

Robin Kshlerin



  1. Gilmar Domingos Posted on January 22, 2020 at 10:04 am

    This is great!!

  2. Giancarlo Archila Posted on January 22, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Anne Marie morning… you're awesome, you're not asking me but I'm currently working to call center industry and these very uselful tips will be applied. Anne Marie best regards and keep the beauty please.👍

  3. Danny Dai Posted on January 22, 2020 at 10:40 am

    if I make a phonecall to someone else. then I say " Is that John?" and John says "this is it" or "this is John" ….then I go on to introduce myself. is that correct?

  4. Jalal Akhader Albejery Posted on January 22, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Yes, really this is tough to do.

  5. oni Gonzalez Posted on January 22, 2020 at 10:54 am

    I appreciate it ma'am

  6. ali m Posted on January 22, 2020 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for the very useful tips.

  7. Ruba Dargazali Posted on January 22, 2020 at 11:10 am

    That was very helpful Thank you 🌹🌹

  8. Zakir Hossain Posted on January 22, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Thank u so much! It was very helpful! … #07 was new for me!

  9. Habiba Chabani Posted on January 22, 2020 at 11:35 am

    I highly appreciate your efforts… You rock

  10. assirem fellag Posted on January 22, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    This kind of lessons are awesome

  11. Dori Posted on January 22, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Sorry I am confused. I was educated in Brooklyn, New York. In school we were taught the word “can” was use if you were not capable, “may” for permission. Also I worked in the corporate sector for over 45 year as an Executive Assistant for various high profile executives “gonna” would not have been considered proper English.
    Example: May I help you or take a message? Can you see if Mr Jones is in his office? May I asked you to hold I am “going” to see if Mr Jones is in his office.

  12. Rasha Rasha Posted on January 22, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    That was helpful thank you so much

  13. Manish Sharma Posted on January 22, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Annemarie,
    Wonderful lesson about how handle telephone call in a effective way. I admire your suggestions and follow for improving my telephonic conversation.
    Thank you.

  14. Anderson Oliveira Posted on January 22, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    I really enjoy your amazing English tips.
    I never loose one of it. Thank you too much. All those your tips helped me to get my new job. Success to you 🙏

  15. nazziwa h Posted on January 22, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Am sorry for interruption but before you continue, can I clarify what you said ?? Thanks Anne

  16. Mrs P Posted on January 22, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    this is me ahhahahaha

  17. Nadir Mamin Posted on January 22, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks Ann so much for the vid. I just would like you to make a video on all the words and expressions of "vague" English. more than "…and all", "and such", " and stuff", "stuff like that", "sort of", "kind of like". Need more than these, please. Thanks

  18. Enver Yağcı Posted on January 22, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    My favourite is this issue.Thank you so much

  19. Merhaba Tesfa Posted on January 22, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Such courses are sensational!

  20. Marcelo L. Folgar Posted on January 22, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    Excellent! Thanks for your help Teacher. God Bless you.

  21. Hsen AIT Posted on January 22, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    The lesson is very well explained and I am very satisfied. Thanks lot Annemarie.

  22. Thilakasiri S Pathiranage Posted on January 22, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    It's your gut feel so to explain. Thank you so much.

  23. Henry Khosasih Posted on January 22, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    OMG. Just what I needed! Thanks for the lesson ☺️

  24. Henry Khosasih Posted on January 22, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    I have a question! What's the natural and casual way of telling someone over the phone that you are in a low network coverage area which makes it hard to hear the voice?

  25. jragsovbc mobarez Posted on January 22, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    Hi Annmery ,
    Thanks for this lesson. I have two phone calls every week with our customer. And I get stressed as the voice over the phone is not very clear and I have to ask them to repeat their sentences. I don’t feel comfortable to ask them repeating themselves.

  26. Aparecido FERREIRA VAIS Posted on January 23, 2020 at 2:07 am

    Hi Anne Marie glad to see you
    I love your channel and your videos are very important to me thanks a lot my beautiful teacher and I hope you have a great Thursday 😉🇧🇷

  27. Аман Касмамбетов Posted on January 23, 2020 at 3:21 am

    Hey Anne thank you so much for this video I have learnt so much helpful things one of them "I am sorry he is away but can I ask who is calling and take a massage for you" It was perfect lesson.

  28. Pepa Bueno Posted on January 23, 2020 at 3:38 am

    Thank you very much!!!

  29. only engineers can do Posted on January 23, 2020 at 6:21 am

    Nice video I want same type of video thank you.

  30. blaze Posted on January 23, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    Maam please cover phone interview conversation also

  31. Khlainbor Kharpan Posted on January 24, 2020 at 12:40 am

    Thanks for the lesson you have given and I really appreciated and loved it thanks so much

  32. M7MD Posted on January 24, 2020 at 6:30 am

    Thanks a million for this lesson!

  33. M7MD Posted on January 24, 2020 at 6:31 am

    I like the phrase "It was great to chat and I'll talk to you soon"

  34. Edgar Iacolenna Posted on January 24, 2020 at 11:43 am

    Great video! Very useful!

  35. Nika Gutrova Posted on January 24, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    So helpful! thank you! I love your videos =)

  36. Zizo k Posted on January 24, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Annemarie,
    This video was very helpful! thank you ^^ I was also wondering if you could make a video about the essential expressions to use during the skype interviews for work ?

  37. Margarita Tsarevskaia Posted on January 26, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Hello. Thank you for great lesson. I have a question about answer the phone call.
    Someone is calling and saying his name and organization and then they usually make a pause. I am usually saying “ speaking…. “to show that I am ready to speak to them. Is it ok to say that , or how to answer politely? Thank you 🙏🏼

  38. Abdur Rauf Abbasi Posted on January 26, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you very much for such a useful lesson. When someone ends a call and says, thank you very much, do you have any question?
    What should be the best response if you don't have any questions?

  39. karandeep gaur Posted on January 27, 2020 at 5:14 am

    Awesome 🙏🙏

  40. KUYA SONGBIRD Posted on January 27, 2020 at 5:27 am

    how about paraphrasing?

  41. Alicia Gonzalez Posted on January 27, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    OMG!! It was just what I needed!! Thank you so much!! I need phone interview too! Thanks in advance

  42. Anita Blanco Posted on January 27, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    This is an excellent lesson on how to speak on the telephone. I'm so glad that you shared this video because sometimes I don't know what to say.

  43. Anita Blanco Posted on January 27, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Could you make a video on how to leave a message if you want to call to make an appointment at the Human Resources?

  44. OLIVIANO ALVES MIRANDA Posted on January 27, 2020 at 11:25 pm


  45. Rossy Harrison Posted on January 29, 2020 at 3:10 am

    When you don't know who is calling and I don't want to give my name for security and ”hello” is not enough for the person who is calling, what is the polite way to answer.

    Thanks, Annemarie, you always cover the common situations where I get stuck.

  46. Debasmita Basak Posted on January 29, 2020 at 7:25 am

    I like the end phrase – it was great to chat now talk to you again soon.. love to use it soon.. I want to know how to end the call talking with some elderly person like Professor. With whome I talk everyday. I would appreciate your help.

  47. Abid Hussain Posted on January 29, 2020 at 10:08 am

    Annmarie : You are great, your voice is so mesmerizing I really love it, your way of teaching is so delightful.

  48. QU Yan Posted on January 29, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Where is the "#162: 46 must-know phrases for professional telephone calls in English", Please ? Thank you from your time.

  49. Andy Russo Posted on January 31, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Sophisticated and Elegant. Thank you for your input. That's Great!

  50. SAAD RAMADHAN MUHI Posted on February 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you so much

  51. Andrzej Piotrowski Posted on February 1, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    What to say when you are writing down a message… I have a question. Can I use construction: What to say when you write down a message…

  52. nouhad errais Posted on February 3, 2020 at 2:22 am

    Thank you Annemarie for this lesson, t was very helpful .

  53. nurul ujjal Posted on February 3, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Thank you. I is really what i was looking for. Would be great if you please make a VDO on a business presentation tips and must rules .

  54. Isabella Dutra B de Barros Posted on February 4, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    If you want to ask another question but unrelated to what you were just talking about… For a long time I wanted to know what to say in this situation. I am a Brazilian living in the US for 13 years now. I asked people how to say this, what is the expression, and their answer is: "You just ask whatever you want to ask" hahahaha. But one time I heard someone using an expression and learned it. I was so happy to finally learn it. It was "while we are here…". Correct? Any other way to say this? In a literal translation from portuguese, we would say "I would like to take advantage (that we are already talking to one another) by asking such and such", but I really don't think people speak like this in English.

  55. Isabella Dutra B de Barros Posted on February 4, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    Another question: is there an alternative for "Hello, this is…"? With my name, Isabella, it would end up with too many "is". This is Isabella. Sounds bad. "Isabella speaking" sounds a bit too formal for me. And one more question: When someone calls me and says he or she would like to talk to Isabella. What is the expression to say I am Isabella? This is she? This is her? That is me? I am Isabella… which sounds more natural and friendly? Thank you very much!

  56. Vân Lê Posted on February 6, 2020 at 9:30 am

    I really love your voice and your lessons ! Thanks so much, teacher !

  57. Dicui Li Posted on February 8, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    I like the lesson and teacher, I continue learn it.

  58. Satenik Abrahamyan Posted on February 14, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    This is what I exactly need at the moment, thank you!

  59. Farwan Adil Posted on February 20, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Dear You have an amazing crystal clear accent….. touchwood I swear…..

  60. Raouf Allani Posted on February 23, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    thank you teacher