BEP 75: Telephoning - Using Standard Phrases

06 Aug 2019



Making and receiving telephone calls is one of the hardest skills in English, especially for non-native speakers who often rely on non-verbal cues such as signs gestures and facial expressions to help their understanding.

In business situations, however, telephoning has a language of its own. We use standard phrases for every telephone function such as answering the phone, offering to help the caller, putting a caller on hold, taking a message, closing a call, etc.  Learning these phrases will help you not only better understand what the other person is saying, but also direct the telephone conversation so that you can communicate your message successfully and concisely. It’s a good idea for you to practice and becoming familiar with the most common standard telephone phrases.

In this podcast lesson, we’ll demonstrate the use of common standard telephone phrases through some short telephone conversations. Lynn is a receptionist at an international shipping company. You're going to listen to her take four routine calls.


BEP 21: Taking Telephone Messages

21 May 2019

Taking telephone messages well is a skill that saves time for both the caller and the receiver.

If you need to take a message for someone, get as much information as possible. Always include:

  • The date and time of the call.
  • The full name of the person calling (ask for correct spelling).
  • The company the caller is from.
  • The phone number and time available for callback.
  • The purpose of the call.

Give enough information to the caller so they know what to expect, such as when the person they are trying to reach will return.


BEP 12 - Telephone Talk - Sales Techniques

22 Mar 2019

Telephone selling forms a major part of many companies’ sales strategy. Some people find the technique comes naturally but for others it is very difficult and they need to make a conscious effort to develop the necessary skills.

In this podcast lesson we present you with two telephone dialogues showing the right way and the wrong way to handle this type of call.


BEP 80: Passing on Telephone Messages to Clients

06 Aug 2018



Remember when passing on messages to clients, details are very important. It does no good to relay a message if you’ve forgotten the time of the appointment or can’t remember the name of the person calling. Everyone makes mistakes and sooner or later most people forget a detail, but the most important thing is communicating this information clearly and accurately. 

When you’re being given a message to pass on to someone, never be afraid to ask for clarification, repetition or anything else, particularly when dealing with detailed information. It’s much more important to ask a few times and be sure it’s right than to give out the wrong information.

In this podcast lesson, you're going to listen to Beth relaying some messages to her company's clients. Beth works as a receptionist for a large garment manufacturer. Today is the first day back in the office after a one-week holiday, and several managers are still on vacation. They've instructed Beth to pass on messages to clients they know will be calling.

Situation 1

In the first situation you’re going to listen to Beth passing on a message to a client.


BEP 86: Telephone Communication Problems Part 2: An Unclear Message

18 Jan 2018



We’ve become creatures of telephone habits. Having made and received thousands of telephone calls in our lifetimes, it is easy to assume that we have reasonable telephone skills. Most people do not even think there are any special challenges of telephone communication.

When all parts of the communications process work effectively together, telephone communication is clear and useful. Sometimes, however, even a well-practiced communication process can go wrong. Problems can occur in any of the following four parts of sending a message:

  • Trouble sending: The sender doesn't speak clearly, speaks in a heavy accent or speaks too quickly. What happens to the message? Will it be received?
  • Trouble with the message content: The message is confusing, disorganized or irrational. Is it likely that the receiver will understand what is being communicated?
  • Trouble with the channel: There is background noise or a bad line. Will the message be transmitted effectively? Will it be received?
  • Trouble with the receiver: The receiver is not listening closely, has fallen asleep or is distracted. Will the message be understood?

In this podcast lesson, we’re going to focus on trouble with the message content, that is, the message is unclear and needs clarifying.


You’re now going to listen to Beatrice from Sterling Associates answer a call from Bill Rock, a colleague working in an overseas office of the company.


BEP 61: Telephoning - Handling Enquiries and Requests

26 Nov 2017

In this podcast lesson, we’re going to look at how to respond to telephone enquiries, and how to handle requests from callers.

To respond properly to enquiries, you should be able to answer the caller’s questions and give them the information they are looking for. To handle requests, you should be able to tell the caller what you will do to fulfill their request, and when you will do it.

We will also look at what you can say when you are unable to help callers fulfill their requests.

To handle enquiries or deal with requests in a polite and efficient manner, it’s a good idea to become familiar with some common functional expressions. We’ll introduce you to some of these expressions in the lesson.

Situation 1

Anna is a sales executive at a showroom which sells cameras. Let’s listen to how she handles a telephone call from Daniel, a caller who has an enquiry and a request.