If speaking professionally on the phone in English is important for your career, you need to improve on this.

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8 English phrasal verbs to use when speaking on the phone

An additional method for enhancing your professional telephone etiquette is to acquire knowledge of some pertinent phrasal verbs. Here, you’ll find a list of ten that you’re highly likely to encounter.

1. Hold on

Could you hold on a moment, please?

2. Put (a call) through

I’m just going to put you through right now.

3. Call back

I’ll ask her to call you back when she gets home.

4. Pick up

No one is picking up. Maybe they’re not home.

5. Speak up

I’m afraid I can’t hear you, there’s some background noise. Could you speak up please?

6. Cut off

I can’t hear her anymore. I think we got cut off.

7. Break up

Could you repeat that? You broke up for a second. 

8. Switch off/turn off

My phone was switched off because the battery had died.


A step-by-step manual on speaking in a professional manner over the telephone

If you anticipate making a professional phone call in the near future and it’s a significant one, it’s advisable to allocate around 30 minutes for preparation. Following these steps will assist you in maximizing your readiness for this important discussion.

1. Write down to talk about

Take a moment to make brief notes about the call’s purpose and the key information you require. Include complete phrases for potential use and verify their accuracy using Google Translate. For added assurance, consult a native English speaker to ensure the translations are precise.


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2.Begin the conversation with small talk 

Initiating a professional phone conversation with a brief exchange of pleasantries is a valuable practice. This approach helps put the person you’re speaking with at ease, creating a friendly tone for the call. It also serves as a smooth transition into more specialized topics of discussion. If you are not well-acquainted with the individual, consider using phrases such as:

  • How are you doing today? 
  • How is the weather like today?
  • How is your week going? 

3.Clearly purpose the reason for your call

Once you’ve established a warm and welcoming tone for your call, it’s time to focus on the primary purpose. Precisely stating the motive for your call will facilitate the acquisition of the necessary information. Consider commencing with one of these expressions:

  • I am just calling to ask…
  • I wondered if you could help me with something. 
  •  I have a question for you about…

4. Try to listen as much as you talk 

While your primary emphasis may be on constructing grammatically sound sentences in a new language, paying attention to your pronunciation, and maintaining politeness, it’s crucial not to overlook the fundamental principle of any meaningful conversation: active listening is as essential as effective speaking. Indicate your attentiveness by interjecting with signals like:

  • Good point.
  • I understand.
  • Yes. 
  • Okay. 

When the speaker poses a question, and you’re uncertain about how to respond, analyze the question’s vocabulary for potential hints. For example:

  • Q: What are the benefits of switching to your product? 
  • A: The benefits of switching to our product are… 

If you require the speaker to repeat something, it’s completely acceptable to request further clarification. You can inquire:

  • Sorry, could you repeat that, please? I got cut off for a second.
  • Could you say that again a little more slowly, please? 


5. Manage your surroundings

If feasible, ensure you are situated in a quiet, private area with a strong signal for crucial phone calls. Communicating in a second language over the phone can be challenging without technical interruptions.

If you must be hands-free, opt for a headset instead of using the speakerphone. If you’re in an open-plan office, consider reserving a meeting room to ensure a distraction-free and private space for your conversation, avoiding any potential embarrassment.

What is your English level?

Find out your A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 level of English with our quick, free online test.