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Business English telephone conversations

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The purpose of business meetings, discussions, clarification of issues arising with the development of business relations, – all this may be done by telephone now. In addition to standard business etiquette there is a number of common phrases that are widely used in telephone conversations in English.
At the beginning of business conversation (as, however, and normal conversation) introduce yourself and say whom you are dealing with, firstly welcoming the interlocutor.

Useful Language
Hello, I am... Hello, this is...
Good afternoon, my name is...
I'm calling on behalf... – I represent (company)...
May I speak to... Can I have a talk to...
Next, you can go directly to the discussion of vital issues.
We're calling to arrange an appointment. We would like to schedule an appointment...
Which day do you have in mind? (Which day would be convenient for you?) – What date do you consider adequate?
We are available today. – Today we are free.
This sounds good/convenient/excellent/great. – Excellent.
We can confirm Tuesday at ten a.m. - So, we meet Tuesday at ten in the morning.
It also happens that somebody want to chat but can't come to the phone. Use the following phrases:
Could you please tell him/her... – Tell him/her, please...
Sorry that we have troubled you. – Sorry for disturbing you. This is Helen.
Helen speaking
May I take your name, please?
Introduce yourself, please.
Can I ask who is calling, please?
Excuse me, may I ask who is calling?
Ask to connect with anyone:
Can I have extension 321? (Extensions are internal numbers at a company).
Connect me with room 321.
May I speak to...?
Can I talk to ...
(Can I – an informal request / May I – more formal request)
Is Jack in?
Jack in the office?

A warning about connecting with someone:

I'll put you through. I connect you.
Can you hold the line?
Don't hang up.
Can you hold for a moment?
Could you wait a bit?
If the call cannot be connected at the moment:

I'm afraid, but ... is not available at the moment.
I'm afraid but now I cannot connect you.
The line is busy...
Mr Jackson isn't in...

Mr Jackson is out at the moment...
Mr. Jackson is out right now.
Offer to leave information:
Could (Can, May) I make a message?
Could (Can, May) I tell him who is calling?
May I tell him who called?
Would you like to leave a message?
Would you like to leave information?

Business dialogues by phone. Samples.
• Operator: Hello, Frank and Brothers, How can I help you?
• Peter: This is Peter Jackson. Can I have extension 3421?
• Operator: Certainly, hold on a minute, I'll put you through...
• Frank: Bob Peterson's office, Frank speaking.
• Peter: This is Peter Jackson calling, is Bob in?
• Frank: I'm afraid he's out at the moment. Can I take a message?
• Peter: Yes, could you ask him to call me at 212 456-8965. I need to talk to him about the Nuovo line, it's urgent.
• Frank: Could you repeat the number please?
• Peter: Yes, that's 212 456-8965, and this is Peter Jackson.
• Frank: Thank you Mr Jackson, I'll make sure Bob gets this as up.
• Peter: Thanks, bye.
• Frank: Bye.
Communication with the answering machine (autorespondent)

There may be situations where you need to get information quickly, but nobody answers. To be sure that the autoresponded information will be properly understood, use the following patterns:
1. Introduce - Hello, this is Nick. OR Hello, My name is Nick Black (more formal).
2. The time and reason of the call: It's ten in the morning. I'm phoning (calling, ringing to find out if ... / to see if ... / to let you know that ... / to tell you that ...
3. Request: Could you call (ring, telephone) me back? / Would you mind ... ? /
4. Leave your number: My number is.... / You can reach me at.... / Call me at ...
5. Farewell: Thanks a lot, bye. / I'll talk to you later, bye.
An appointment by phone
I'm calling to fix/arrange/agree another time. I'm calling to reschedule our meeting.
Michel and Ana are tied up/busy/unavailable this week. Michael and Anna can't call this week.
Do you mind if we postpone it/move it back/put it back to next week? How are you this week?
Which day are you thinking of/do you have in mind/do you want? What day do you suggest?
Does Wednesday sound good/suit you/look ok? You may on Wednesday?
What about/ Are you free on/Can you make Thursday? Do you want Thursday?
What day would be best/convenient/OK for you? What time is better?
We can make it/’re free/'re available after lunch.
That sounds fine/great/good.
The appointment is/ So, that/We can confirm Thursday at two o'clock. So, we meet on Thursday at 14.00.
Booking of transport
I'm calling for some information about trains to Atlanta. I would like to know about trains to Atlanta.
Are there any more trains leaving this evening? Are there any more trains tonight?
Is there an overnight train? Is there a night train?
How many trains are there tomorrow? How many trains will leave tomorrow?
I'd like to book a sleeper ticket. I would like to book a sleeper.
How much does it cost? How much is it?
Differences between American, British and Russian expressions
American British Russian

(telephone) booth kiosk телефонная будка
baggage room left luggage room камера хранения
desk clerk receptionist служащий в кассе, справочной и т.д.
freeway motorway автострада, автомагистраль
front desk reception стойка, конторка в справочной, кассе и т.д.
one way (ticket) single билет в один конец
round trip (ticket) return билет туда и обратно
subway tube/underground тоннель, метро


1. Book 2 tickets from London to Cardiff.

The telephone problems

It's really bad line. Our connection is bad.
The line just went dead. Disconnected.
This line is so poor. Very bad line.
This is such a terrible line. I can't hear a thing. I hear nothing – terrible communication.
The reception is absolutely terrible from the train.
Sorry, it's too noisy here today. Sorry it's very noisy today.
I can't hear. The traffic is too loud. I don't hear, very noisy movement.
I need to recharge my mobile. My battery's very low. I need to recharge, the phone battery is almost dead.
I must have got the wrong number.
Problem solving

Sorry, can you speak up? I'm sorry, could you speak louder?
Let's put the phone down. Let's hang down.
Try calling again later. Please, try again later.
Let me call you back in five minutes.
Try him on extension 376. Try the extension number 376.
How about sending me it by email? Maybe you can send me it by email?
Hang up and ring the other number. Dial the other number.

2. Call to your group-mate and discuss the telephone problems.


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