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Unit Three On the phone.

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1 Unit Three On the phone

2 Study Objectives This unit deals with basic telephoning skills and also receiving and noting down messages. These skills will be practised further in telephone role-plays throughout the book. The functions of requesting, offering help and asking permission are also introduced and practised in this unit.

3 Warming-up Discussion
What do you enjoy about using the phone? What do you dislike about making phone calls? What is difficult about making a first-time call to a stranger?

4 Business Calls If you don’t have much experience of making phone calls in English, making a business call can be a worrying experience. If you have to call someone you already know, you may actually enjoy making the call. However, you may find it is difficult to make a first-time business call to a prospective client. A good telephone manner not only makes an impression in business, but it also helps to make money.

5 “Golden Rules” for making telephone calls (3.4.B)
Try to identify a convenient time to call the person. Plan your call by making notes beforehand. Most business people, unless they feel very confident, prepare for an important phone call in a foreign language by making notes in advance. And during the call they make notes while they’re talking to help them to remember what was said. Make sure you have with you all the documents you’ll need before you dial the number. Always make sure you know the name of the person you’re talking to. If necessary, ask them to spell it out to you, so that you can make sure you’ve got it right---and try to use their names during the call.

6 As it’s so easy to be misunderstood when talking on the phone it’s a good idea to repeat any important information (especially numbers and names) back to the other person to make sure you’ve got it right. Talk slowly and clearly. Listen carefully to what the other person says. It’s important to sound interested, helpful and alert when answering the phone. Follow up the call with appropriate actions (a fax, or letter) in a timely manner, confirming the details. The other person hasn’t got all day, so make sure your call is brief.

7 Asking the operator for help
Can you connect me with the Brown Industries? Can you put me through to the Personnel Department? Could you get me ? Could I have extension 466? Operator, we were cut off. Could you reconnect me, please?

8 Helping to connect the caller
A minute, please. I’ll connect you right away. Just a minute (moment, second). I’ll get the number for you. One moment, please. I’ll see if I can connect you again. Sorry, the number is engaged. Will you hold? Sorry, there is no answer. The line is through now. Your call is ready (through). Please go ahead.

9 Starting a phone call Could I speak to Mr. Johnson, please?
May I talk to Chris, please? I’d like to speak to Mr. Smith, please. Could I have a word with Mrs. Blake? Hello. Pat Wilson speaking. Can I talk to Mr. Kim?

10 Identifying the caller
May I ask who’s calling? May I have your name? Who shall I say is calling? What name shall I give? Who’s calling, please? who’s that speaking? I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.

11 Explaining the purpose
I’m calling about the meeting tomorrow. I’m calling concerning the order we sent you last week. I’m calling in reference to your letter of credit. It’s about our customer’s claim for short weight. I’m just calling to tell you that the sales meeting has been put off till tomorrow.

12 Asking the caller to wait
A moment, please. Just a minute (moment, second), please. Hang (Hold) on a minute, I’ll get him. Hold the line, please. He’ll be with you in a minute. Don’t hang up, please. I’ll see if she’s in.

13 Dialing the wrong number
Sorry, you’ve got the wrong number. You must have the wrong number. What number do you want? What number are you calling? There’s no one by the name of Smith. What number did you dial, please? Nobody here by that name. You’ve dialed the wrong number, I’m afraid.

14 Leaving a message Could I take a message for him?
Would you like to leave a message? Is there any message I can give him? Do you want to leave a message? Do you want to leave word for him to call you? Could you tell him to ring me when he’s back? Please have him return my call. Would you mind having him call me back sometime tomorrow.

15 公用电话 投币电话 磁卡电话 人工电话 自动电话 内线电话 外线电话 专线电话 热线电话 对讲机/内部电话 预约电话 总机 分机 电话簿 听筒 话筒 public/pay telephone coin-operated payphone cardphone manual telephone automatic telephone interior phone outside phone special line hot line interphone fixed time call central exchange extension telephone directory/book receiver/earpiece mouthpiece

16 3.1 I’d like to speak to… This section introduces the topic of telephoning---and some of the difficulties that people encounter when trying to get in touch with someone on the phone. It focuses attention on the need for a good ‘telephone style’ and elicits some ‘golden rules’ for using the phone in English.

17 Step B The recording shows two attempts: ①an abortive phone call ②a rather unsuccessful call. Some of the problems in the second attempt were partly the caller’s own fault. (For example, she failed to double-check times and dates and she spoke too fast---she’s the salesperson, so any misunderstandings are going to reflect badly on her firm. Most of the problems are due to people talking too quickly, not listening to each other and not checking back that they have understood or been understood correctly.

18 Step C In this step, imagine that you’re the one who’s trying to get in touch with Dr Henderson. Then how you might reply to the voices on the recording. Suggested response (many variations possible) Is that Richmond& Co.? No? I’m sorry, I think I must have got the wrong number. Hello, is that Richmond& Co.? Hello? Hello? Hello, is that ? Oh, I’m sorry, I must have dialed the wrong number. Oh, I wanted Dr Bill Henderson, can you put me through to him, please? Oh, what a nuisance! How long should I wait? Good afternoon, can I speak to Dr Bill Henderson, please? Hello, this is …(my name)…Is Dr Henderson there, please? No? Could you ask him to call me, please? Ah, Dr Henderson, thanks ever so much for calling back. I wanted to ask you…

19 Step D In B and C, you've recognized some of the ‘problems’ of making calls. In this section, the recording illustrates most of the exponents given, but not in the same sequence as in the Student’s books. Highlight the ones you find most useful.

20 Step E Role-play Follow the flowchart to practise making a phone call back-to-back, using some of the expressions in D. Why sit back-to-back for the role-play? Because in a real-life phone call you have to depend on your voice, not gestures and eye contact. You can’t see the other person’s reactions and the other person can’t see how friendly you are---you have to show everything in your voice.

21 3.2 Getting people to do things
This section covers the functions of: 1) requesting, and agreeing to or refusing requests; 2) offering, and accepting or rejecting offers; 3) asking permission, and giving or refusing permission * Of course, these functions are not confined to telephoning, but are used in face-to-face situations and in writing too.

22 Step B The three recorded conversations illustrate how the exponents are used. Please pay attention to the distinctions between formal/informal situations and direct/indirect ways of talking to people. Attention: (1)over-polite can be interpreted as insincerity (2) remember that sounding polite and helpful doesn’t just depend on the words you use, but also on the way you say them and your body language.

23 3.3 Can I take a message? This section covers the skills of taking notes and leaving messages (which may involve rewriting the notes)

24 Step A Step A introduces the topic of taking messages.
From: Mr. Hans Braun To: Mr. Robinson Tuesday 4 pm →Wednesday 9.30 Call him back at

25 Step B There are three phone calls to listen to.
Please call him before 4 pm or any time tomorrow; it is to do with the arrangements for the congress in July; his telephone number is To: Guy Dobson; Mr. Paola Andreotti called from Rome. It is urgent: there’s been a mix-up about the labeling of product number 15437B---that’s the one for the Italian market. Please call her back at till tomorrow evening. To: Mrs. Cox; Mr. Wong called from Singapore. If he won’t be arriving in Melcourne until quite late this Saturday, at 1 am local time, will Mrs. Cox still be able to meet him? Inform the Royal Hotel that he’ll be arriving very very late. Call him back to confirm the matter.

26 Step C Listen carefully and work out what the callers are saying.

27 3.4 Planning and making calls
Please discuss and compare experiences on telephone manners and the need to plan phone calls.

28 Step A Listen to the recording and decide which of their ideas you agree with.

29 Dear Mr. Brown, Thank you very much for your order. Unfortunately, in common with other suppliers, our prices have risen since you placed an order with us two years ago, but you will be pleased to hear that we will supply your current order at the old price. I enclose our new catalogue and price list, which contain several exciting new products and our latest prices. I will keep you fully informed about the progress of your order. If you would like to get in touch with me urgently, our new fax number is or, of course, you may prefer to phone me. Yours sincerely, Burke Sales Director

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