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Capítulo 9:

 Telephone skills. Habilidades al teléfono en inglés

Nota: Para visualizar el vídeo que acompaña este capítulo, haz clic en el siguiente enlace http://www.mailxmail.com/curso-telephoning-ingles-telefono-negocios/telephone-skills-habilidades-telefono-ingles

 

9.1. Politeness

Politeness is an important factor of talking on the phone.  Even when the other person can’t see you, they can still tell if you answer the phone with a smile or not.  Remember to always keep calm on the phone, even when you’re feeling under pressure.

Have a look at these phrases below, try to say them with a smile.

 

Polite phrases.

  • Good morning, Sanderson Real estate, how can I help you? – Not Hello, yes?
  • I’m very sorry, but she’s away from her desk at the moment, can I get her to give you a call? – Not She’s out.
  • Could I have your name please? – Not What’s your name?
  • Would you like to leave a message? – Not Do you want to leave a message?
  • Please hold while I transfer you. – Not Wait a moment.
  • Would you like to wait? – Not Do you want to wait?
  • I’m afraid she’s in a meeting at the moment. – Not She’s in a meeting.
  • He’s just dealing with someone. – Not He’s talking to someone.
  • Can I ask what it’s in connection with? – Not What’s it about?
  • Jusnt bear with me, I’m looking for a pen – Not Wait! I need a pen.

Speak clearly on the phone; try to annunciate your words more fully.  Remember that the other person doesn’t have your body language to help them decipher what you are saying.

Listen to these phrases. Tick the correct box. [Audiotrack 23:Escucha el audio en el vídeo de arriba]

Tick

Activity 2.

Change these phrases in the conversation to sound more polite.

A: Caml( Inaudible) International(1)……………………………………………….

B: Is that Cambell International?

A: Yes? What do you want?(2)............................................................

B: Could I speak with Charlotte Hunter please?

A: Your name?(3).............................................................

B: Mr Andrew Cater.

A: What’s it about?(4).........................................

B: I need to go over the final details for our merger and….

A:Ok!  She’s out(5)…………………………………………………………..

B: Oh, what about Harold White?

A: He’s talking to someone(6)………………………………………………………..

B: Oh

A: Do you want to wait?(7).....................................................

B; Umm no it’s ok, can I leave a message?

A: Yeah(8)…………………………………………………………..

B: Please tell her to call…

A: Wait! I need a pen(9)………………………………………………

 (Andrew Cater hangs up)

Your turn

[Audiotrack 24:Escucha el audio en elvídeo de arriba]

 

9.2         Telephone manner

As with politeness, telephone manner deals with the way you act on the phone.  Your voice must convey your sympathy, interest, understanding or actions, depending on the callers needs.  Here are some ways we talk about telephone manner:

  • Sympathetic– It is important for the caller to feel that you are taking their side.
  • Friendly– Your tone of voice should always be upbeat and pleasant.
  • Polite- Using polite forms can really help the customer to feel relaxed and happy with your service.
  • Communication– This is your ability to talk with all types of people, no matter what their background.
  • Out-going– A sociable, likeable person will have a better telephone manner.
  • Ability to persuade – The ability to make other people agree with you.
  • Ability to listen – We use body language a lot to show we are listening, on the phone there are some phrases you can use to show you are listening.

Have a look at the transcript below to see evidence of these phrases. [Audiotrack 25:Escucha el audio en elvídeo de arriba]

Muriel: Good morning customer services, you’re speaking with Muriel, how can I help?

Jo: Good morning. This is Jo Brown from Howard Electrics. I’m calling about some of your products.

Muriel: I see. What seems to be the problem?

Jo: There is some faulty wiring on the new 0900 blender series.

Muriel: Really? Oh dear. That was the 0900 model correct?

Jo: Yes.

Muriel: Do you have the serial numbers on those?

Jo: ytpo00 through ytpo50.

Muriel: That’s great.  If you send them back, we can sort that out right away.

Phrases

Sympathetic – Oh dear/How terrible

Listening – Ok/I see/Uh –huh/Right

Surprise – Really?

Understanding – I see/I understand

Asking for agreement – Is that ok?

Show you have the information – That’s great/That’s fine

Activity1

Look at the dialogue above and write the correct phrases that correspond to the descriptions below.

Listening:

Surprise:

Showing you have information:

Sympathy:

Your turn

9.3. Small Talk

To some, small talk might seem unnecessary; after all, if you are calling to talk business, then you can go straight ahead with that.  However, small talk is a good way to build up a relationship with your colleagues and clients.  It makes them feel as if you have a relationship beyond the office.  The key is to remember details about the other person, are they married? Do they have kids? Where did they go on holiday last year?  This makes the person feel special and important.

Remember to always keep the conversation light; try not to discuss politics or religion or any subjects that might cause a disagreement.

Have a look at these phrases below.

  • How is your husband/wife?
  • How are the children, they must be 5 or 6 by now?
  • How was your holiday? It sounded like such an adventure!
  • What have you been doing with yourself?
  • I hear the business has been doing rather well this year!
  • It's been too long! We must catch up soon.

After this you can go to the main point of your phone call

  • The reason I’m calling is….
  • Actually I called to ask you about…
  • I was wondering if you could help me with…

Activity 1

Complete this dialogue with the phrases below

Activity

Activity 2.

Think of your colleagues or friends and complete the phrases below.

We haven’t seen each other in____________________________

What have you_____________________________________?

How are________________________________?

Are you busy_______________________________?

I hear the business________________________?

We should catch up_____________________.

 

9.4. Formal vs Informal  

Generally on the phone when making a business call, it is better to choose a slightly more formal register, as this is more polite.  Informal language tends to be more direct, which can sometimes lead to a bad impression. 

Have a look at the box below for some words in formal and informal language.

Formal vs Informal

Language Tip

Using indirect questions is more formal than direct questions. You form indirect questions with the subject + verb, in the same way as a normal sentence and a question word of if/whether. 

See these examples:

Where do you live? >Could you tell me where you live?

How much is it? > I was wondering if you could tell me how much it is?

I need to know the invoice number? > Can you please tell me what the invoice number is?

Activity 1.

Change these sentences from informal to formal using the word given.

1. Is Harriet there? ( May)

2. I want to book a table for two (Would)

3. I’m from  Watson and company. (Calling)

4. I was just checking you received my order. (Wanted)

5. Do you need any help? (How)

6. Say hello to Rachel from me (Please)

7. Can you tell her I called? (Wish)

8. Can I get a brochure? (I’d be grateful if)

9. I want to ask about your ticket prices. (I’d like)

Activity 2.

Unscramble these indirect questions and then write them in their direct form.

1. company/Do/know/you/called/is/their/what?.........................................................................................

direct form:

2. if/could/I/have/was/tell/wondering/you/me/used/products/before/our/if/you?...................................

direct form:

3. be/if/tell/grateful/I’d/her/I/called/could/you?………………………………………………………………........................

direct form:

4. today/was/I/hoping/would/a/free/you/have/moment/speak/me/to/to?................................................

direct form:

5. shipping/I’d/out/like/find/to/what/prices/your/are?................................................................................

direct form:

6. you/able/tell/Would/today/you/her/back/expect/be/to/me/when?……………………………………………………

direct form:

7. outline/me/Could/a/brief/you/of/give/proposal/me/your/of?…………………………………………………………....

direct form:

8. you/to/Are/in/able/me/with/marketing/put/please/touch?…………………………………………………………………

Your turn

[Audiotrack 26:Escucha el audio en elvídeo de arriba]

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