Practice makes perfect

This overview of telephoning phrases can help you to improve your overall telephoning style. Remember to speak slowly and to take your time. It can also help to write down what you want to say before you make the call; don’t be afraid to ask the other person to repeat themselves or to slow down if you don’t understand something.

Starting a telephone conversation

  • Taking a call

    ➜ tolingo translations, Sarah Martin speaking, how can I help you?

    ➜ (Company name) (your name) speaking, how can I help you?

    ➜ tolingo translations, Sarah Martin speaking.

    ➜ (Company name) (Your name) speaking.

    ➜ Hello, tolingo translations, Sarah Martin speaking.

    ➜ Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon (Company name) (your name)

  • Making a call


    ➜ Hello, this is Ross Smith from tolingo translations.

    ➜ Hello, this is (your name) from (company).


    ➜ Hi, it’s Sarah Walters from tolingo translations.

    Very familiar:

    ➜ Hi, it’s Sarah. 

  • Asking for somebody


    ➜ May I speak to (name) please?

    ➜ Could I please speak to (name)?

    ➜ I’d like to speak to Mr Green, please.

    Very familiar:

    ➜ Is Fred there?

    ➜ Can I speak to Fred please?

  • Small talk

    ➜ Hi Fred, how are you?

    ➜ It’s nice to hear from you.How are things?

    ➜ How did you get on with…?

    ➜ How are you getting on with…?

    ➜ How was the…?

Asking to be called back, leave or take a message

  • Taking/passing on the message

    Taking a message:

    ➜ I’m sorry but Fred isn’t at his desk right now, can I take a message?

    ➜ Mr Green is in a meeting, would you like me to take a message?

    ➜ I’m afraid Ms Jackson is away this week, would you like to leave a message?

    ➜ He/She is unavailable at the moment, can I take a message?

    Passing on the message:

    ➜ I'll tell him/her you called.

    ➜ I will pass that on to him/her.

    ➜ I will let him/her know.

    ➜ I’ll make sure he/she gets your message.

  • Leaving a message

    Asking to leave a message:

    ➜ Would you mind taking a message?

    ➜ I’d like to leave (him/her) a message.

    Leaving a message:

    ➜ Please tell (name) that…

    ➜ Please let (name) know that…(I called) / I need to discuss X with (him/her)

    ➜ Please ask (him/her) to call me back.

    ➜ Please ask him her/him to contact me about….

    ➜ My telephone/mobile number is…

  • Calling back

    Asking the caller to call back:

    ➜ I’m afraid she is busy right now, would you mind calling back later?

    Calling back:

    ➜ OK, I’ll call back later.

    ➜ OK, I’ll try again tomorrow/later.


  • Spelling and repeating


    ➜ Could you spell that for me please?

    ➜ How do you spell that, please?


    ➜ I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.

    ➜ I’m sorry, could you repeat that please?

    ➜ I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, could you please speak up a little?

    ➜ Would you mind speaking a little slower?

    Asking for the name/company:

    ➜ I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.

    ➜ Could you please repeat you name?

    ➜ What was the name of the company please?

    ➜ Can I just check your name? I’ll spell it.

  • Asking when somebody is available

    Asking when somebody is available:

    ➜ When will he/she be back/available?

    ➜ When is a good time to call?

    Asking somebody if they can call back later:

    ➜ I’m a little busy at the moment, would you mind calling me back later?

    ➜ I’m afraid I can’t talk right now, would you please call me back later?

    ➜ Could I call you back later? I’m a bit tied up right now.

Connecting the caller and asking to be connected

  • Asking someone to hold

    Asking someone to hold:

    ➜ Wait a moment please.

    ➜ I’ll just put you on hold for moment.

    Saying the line is busy:

    ➜ I’m afraid the line is busy.

    ➜ I’m afraid his phone is engaged.

  • Asking to be connected

    Asking to be connected:

    ➜ Could you please put me through to (Fred Samson) (the sales department)?

    ➜ Could you please connect me with (the finance department) (Ms Louis)

    Connecting someone:

    ➜ Just a moment, I’ll put you through.

    ➜ One moment please, I’ll connect you.

Ending a call


➜ Give my regards to…

➜ Thank you very much for your help.

➜ Thanks for calling./Thank you for calling.

➜ It was great to hear from you.

➜ Speak to you soon.

➜ Cheers./Cheers, then bye

➜ Take care, bye bye.

➜ Thank you for your time.