How to start an English conversation on the phone
My name is Jana and I've been working as National Sales Manager for the last 3 years. As a German, my main responsibility is my home market but my company has offices all around Europe. So I get calls from abroad every now and again - and I need to speak English!
Seeing a foreign number on my telephone display always used to make me nervous. I never knew what to say to my foreign colleagues. But now I've learned a few tricks and phrases to help me get the conversation started.
Firstly, I know that the person calling is probably just as nervous as I am! And if I speak clearly and simply, they will be put at ease and the conversation will flow. I start off a call with introducing myself:
Thank you for calling. My name is Jana. How can I help?
By asking a question, I find out what the caller wants. If they need information that I have to find, then I usually ask them to hold: Could you hold while I check that for you?
And when I find the relevant information, I usually start off with:
Thank you for your patience.
I sometimes receive calls meant for my co-workers in the department. So I use a phrase such as
X is not at his/her desk. Can I leave a message?
By learning a few simple sentences and phrases, I started to enjoy telephoning with my European colleagues. Of course, there are times when I do not understand the caller. But that is no problem when I ask:
I'm sorry, could you repeat that
Could you explain that again please?
Now, international calls are just a part of everyday working life. My international colleagues recognize my professionalism and helpfulness - and that is important to me.