Telephone Phrases and Vocabulary

  1. Identifying
  2. Identifying the topic
  3. Wrong Number
  4. Reception 
  5. Ending the call
  6. Marketing
  7. No response
  8. Voicemail
  9. Exercise



After answering the call, there’s only two things to do: identify the caller and then the topic

If they recognise your number or name: “Hello!” or “Hello John” or “Yeah / yes

If they don’t recognise or aren’t sure, they will answer with “Hello?” or “Who’s calling?“So you respond with:  it’s me /(your name) !

If the receiver is confused about who is calling they will confirm with: Hello, is that John?


Is that you, Johnny?


Or silence, or use “er…… “ or “uh…….”

Or ask for more confirmation

John? From accounting? From Ikari ltd?


Who’s that?

Who are you?

Who’s this?


Who’s calling, please?

very polite

Can/ Could / May I ask who’s calling please

Can I have your name?


*Phone is ringing*

B: Hello?

A: Hello Jack, it’s me, John! How are you?

B: I’m sorry, who’s calling please?

A: It’s John from the bar last night!

B: John? From Crawley Airspace?

A: Yes!

B: Oh hello!


Hello can I _____ who is calling?

Can I ______ your name please?



2.Identifying the topic

after identifying we need to get to the subject!




Hey, it’s me, xxx, what’s happening, what’s going on, what’s up,




How are you, how are things?


Good morning, x company, this is John speaking, how may I help you today?


Hello, This is Johnny speaking, can I help you?

[ Well / so ]  [ I’m calling about]  / [ I’d like to talk about ]


Receiver (B) can inquire directly but it’s less polite/ more efficient

A: *Calls*

B: Hello? 

A: Hey man, it’s me, how’s things?

B: Oh hi Joe, yeah, cool, so, what’s going on?/ What’s up? / What’s happening?


A: *Calls*

B: Hello, Mary speaking

A: Good afternoon Mary, this is Terry. How are you? 

X: B: I’m good, so, how can I help you today?

O: B: I’m good, thanks, and you?

A. I’m ok!

B: Good, so, how can I help you today?

For responding to customers at reception, Receiver (B) needs to be more professional and ask immediately. There is no need to ask how the caller is. 

A: *Calls*

B: *picks up* Good morning Bernstein Limited, can I help you?

A: Yes I would like to speak to someone about shipping costs.

Typical conversations

1.(Using caller display)

A: (picks up) Hello Joe

B: Hi Robert, what’s up?

A: Not much, you?

B: So so…


2.i (Landline/ office phone)

A: (picks up) Hello, Elizabeth speaking.

B: Hello Elizabeth, how are you?

A. Fine, thank you for asking, I’m calling about…


2. ii (Landline/ office phone)

A. Good morning, Antonov Corporation, can I help you?

B. Hello, is that Elisabeth?

A. Yes, (doesn’t recognise voice of caller) Er…

B: It’s me, Luong!

A: Oh! Luong, of course, sorry, ha ha, how are you?

B: Fine fine, and you?


Hello, I’m _______ about the concert tickets you advertised 

Hello buddy, what’s_______?


3.Oops – Wrong number

Sorry, wrong number! Goodbye.

I think you have the wrong number!

I’m afraid you have the wrong number.




Hello, could I speak to John Smith, please?


Greeting + Company Name + Personal Name + Person needed


Good morning/ hello, this is John Smith calling from XX Company, could I speak to John Smith please?


Hello, John Smith please.




I’m _______ you have the wrong ______!

Can I talk ____ Mr Smith?



I’ll put you through now

Putting you through

I’ll connect you

I’ll transfer you


Please hold

One moment please

Can I take a message?

Would you like to leave a message?

She asked you to call her back tomorrow



I don’t know when she’ll be back, I’m afraid.

He’s out of the office

She’s away from her desk

She’s not at her desk

He’s away (don’t know where they are)

She’s away on business (specific business)

He’s on vacation

He’s out of the building

She’s abroad

5.Ending the call


…I have to go somewhere/ do something. 


…That was very helpful / a great help

Thanks for your/the call

Thanks for your time

It was great/nice/good/wonderful speaking to/with you

Good to speak to you

Good speaking to you

Good hearing from you


(Casual) See you !

(Formal) I look forward to seeing you next week!

I look forward to hearing from you

Hope to hear from you soon!

Speak to you soon!

(casual) chat soon!


I’m ________ forward to seeing you next week!

____ you next week, friend!


6.Marketing call

– I’m sorry, I’m not interested. I have to go, have a good day, goodbye.

(not nice but necessary) I’m hanging up now

I have to hang up now

Sorry, I have to go now

(optional apology) I have to end the call

(urgent) I’m sorry, I have to go.

Have a good day

Goodbye now


Sorry I have to _____ now, ______!



I tried his phone but he’s not picking up

I tried his number

I tried to call him but it goes straight through to voicemail

I left a message on his answerphone

Please leave a message after the beep




Hello, I got your message

I’m returning your call

I have a missed call from you

I understand you tried to call me today, can I ask what it was concerning / about? 

Please leave a message after the tone/beep

I left a message on your phone 

I recorded a new personal message

The call went straight through to voicemail

I couldn’t leave a message, your answerphone was full

I got your message last night 


Please leave a message after the _____

I _____ your message! I was just too busy to answer.



9.Improve/Correct these expressions

Hello that’s me

I was on/at/in the phone

Hello, who are you?

I want to speak to you

I can suggest you friday 6th from 1 to 2

Please holding on

(SMS) I got your message, I call you back

I want to let a message

I have to go now, but I will callling you back earlier

(Calling reception) Can I chat to Mr Smith?

I will put you in to Mr Smith

She’s not in her desk

I want to see from you next week


Go to part 3