Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to ask for help on the telephone in English.
Asking someone for help with a problem is hard enough to begin with. But on the telephone it can be even more difficult! You can’t see the other person and how they are reacting, and they can’t see you. You can’t rely on a smile and friendly body language. So how can you get the help you need?
Well, don’t worry. In this lesson we’ll look at some simple steps to making an effective call. If we’re talking to someone we know, it might start with a bit of friendly small talk about things like sports or the weather. That helps makes people feel relaxed and positive, which is important if you want to talk about a problem. After you’ve created a relaxed atmosphere, you can introduce the problem. You don’t want to just blurt out “I have a problem, please help me.” You need to do it gently, or carefully. At this point, the other person may ask some questions to clarify the situation. If they’re going to help you, they’ll need a clear idea of what you need.
Next, you can suggest a solution or explain how the other person can help. Again, you don’t want to just tell the person directly what they should do. You need to be friendly and polite so that the other person actually wants to help you. And hopefully the result of all this is that you have some agreement about what will happen next and who will do what. It’s a great idea to summarize this agreement near the end of the call just so both of you are perfectly clear. So, that sounds like a pretty good way to ask for help, doesn’t it?
We’ll hear all of these steps in today’s dialog between Eric and Brenda. Brenda works for a manufacturing company that buys parts from Eric’s company. She is calling because there is an important part that hasn’t been delivered. But Brenda doesn’t just want to complain about her problem. She needs to get Eric to agree to help her.
1. After introducing themselves, what do Eric and Brenda talk about first?
2. What solution does Brenda suggest for her problem?
3. What does Eric say he will do for Brenda to help solve her problem?
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