Business phone calls. It's not always easy to talk on the phone. The sound quality isn't always great and there could be background noise. In a phone call you can't see the other person so you can't pick up on body language, gestures, or facial expressions. You don't know if the person you're talking to is confused, upset, or fine. It's easier if you know what to expect and what's expected of you. Let's talk about some rules of business telephone etiquette and some useful expressions. You're ready to make a business phone call, you take a deep breath, dial the number, and someone answers. What do you say? It's important to identify yourself right away. Tell your name first and last and your company name. You can say something like this. Good morning. This is Sarah Hill at ABC Company. Hello. This is Sarah Hill calling from ABC Company. Good morning. My name is Sarah Hill and I'm in the Accounts Department at ABC Company. Next, ask for the person you want to talk to. You could say, could I speak to Jim Webster, please? May I speak to Jim Webster in the Shipping Department? I'd like to speak to Jim Webster, please. Could you please put me through to Jim Webster? You could even just say Jim Webster, please, but it doesn't sound quite as polite. If you know the department you want to talk to, but not an exact name, you could say, could I speak to someone in the Shipping Department? I'd like to speak to someone who handles shipping or briefly tell the purpose of your call. I have a question about a recent shipment. When the person you've called comes on the line, start with a greeting and identify yourself again. For example, Hi Jim. This is Sarah Hill at ABC Company. How are you doing? If it's someone you know, you might chat a bit, but not for very long. Be friendly, but don't waste the other person's time. Now get down to business. Tell the person why you're calling. You might start by saying, I'm calling to let you know that, I'm calling to find out, I just wanted to ask, could you tell me. If the person you want to talk to isn't available, you'll need to leave a message. Here are some things you could say. I'd like to leave a message. Could I leave a message? I'd like to leave a message for Jim Webster. Could you give Jim Webster a message for me? Next, leave your contact information. Give your first and last name, speak slowly and spell your name. Tell the name of your company, and include a phone number or email so the person can get in touch with you. Also tell the purpose of your message. What do you want the person to do? For example, could you have him call me back? Please ask him to call me back or tell him I have the information he needed. If you're leaving a message on voicemail or an answering machine, give the same information, your name, your company name, your phone number, and the purpose of your call. Be sure to speak slowly, especially if you're spelling a name or saying a phone number or email. It's a good idea to repeat any information that's very important. What if you're the one answering the phone? If you're at the front desk of a business, you're the first person callers will talk to. Your professionalism is important in giving callers a strong first impression of the company. Greet callers with the professional sounding greeting. For example, Good morning, ABC Company. Emma Young speaking, how may I help you? Good afternoon. ABC Company. How can I help you? ABC company. How may I direct your call? Good morning. ABC Company or simply ABC Company. If you need to transfer a call to someone else or tell someone that they have a call, you can say, one moment, please, I'll transfer your call or just a moment, I'll tell him you're on the line. To politely find out the name of the caller, you can say could I tell him who's calling or may I ask who's calling, please? This is more formal and polite than just asking what's your name or who are you? If you have to put the caller on hold, you can say, can I put you on hold or do you mind waiting? Sometimes you'll have to take a message. For example, the caller might say, May I speak to Clara Martin, please? But Clara's isn't in the office right now. Here are some things you could say. I'm sorry, she's not in today. Can I take a message? I'm afraid she's not available at the moment. May I take a message? She's out of the office this morning. Would you like to leave a message? Here's what a whole conversation might sound like. May I speak to Clara Martin, please? I'm sorry, she's not in today. Can I take a message? Yes, could you ask her to call me back? My name is Sarah Hill. That's S-A-R-A-H H-I-L-L. Sarah Hill, and your phone number? It's (949) 555-1212. (949) 555-1212, thanks, Ms. Hill. I'll give her the message. Did you notice that the caller gave her first and last name and spelled them slowly? The listener repeated the caller's name and asked her phone number. Then she repeated it to make sure it was correct. It's important to get complete information and write it down even if you're sure you already have the callers contact information. You might ask questions like these, could you give me your name, please? Could I ask what company you're with? Could you spell that for me, please? I'm sorry, I didn't catch your last name. It's a little different if you're answering your own phone. You could answer by saying something like this. Good morning, Donna Brown. Hello, this is Donna Brown. ABC Company, Donna Brown speaking or just say your name, Donna Brown. It's less helpful if you simply say, Hello. You might also add, how can I help you? Or what can I do for you? Or something similar. Remember that I said that when you're calling someone, you can identify yourself by saying either this is Donna Brown or my name is Donna Brown. When you're answering the phone, it's fine to say this is Donna Brown but you wouldn't say my name is Donna Brown. Finally, it's time to end the call. It seems abrupt to just say goodbye. Before you hang up review the important points of your call. Summarize information that you heard or a decision that was reached. So the price of that product is, so we've decided that, then mention next steps. I'll call you again as soon as we've made a decision, please get that information to me as soon as you can, let's talk again soon. Finally, end your call by thanking the person. Thanks for your help, or thank you for your time. Many people like to add, have a good day, take care, or talk to you later, though this isn't required. Finally, end with goodbye or just bye. Bye-bye isn't a good idea it sounds childish. Whether you're making a call or answering the phone, knowing what's expected in business calls and practicing some useful expressions, can make it go more smoothly.