Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to make an enquiry on the telephone in English. Making an enquiry means that you want to ask a question, or questions, to get information.
Getting information over the telephone in English can be challenging! You need to be very clear about what you need, and sometimes you need to ask the other person for clarification when you can’t hear or don’t understand. If information isn’t correct, or if it’s misunderstood, there could be big trouble. So it’s important that you learn good ways of making telephone enquiries.
What do you actually do when you make an enquiry? Well, to begin, you will want to ask for information. That could simply mean telling the other person what you want to know more about. Sometimes you might also use an alternative choice question, like “is it A or is it B?” Giving limited options like that can help make things clear.
Now, what if you can’t hear the other person correctly? Well, you might have to use an expression like “sorry, what did you say?” to get the other person to repeat himself. And sometimes a word or abbreviation might not be clear and you might have to spell it out, letter by letter. All of these are ways of making sure your enquiry and the information is clear.
In today’s dialog, we’ll hear George, who works for a company called Airtronics. George’s company is writing a proposal to make radios for an aircraft company called Cyclops. George is talking to Simon at Cyclops Aircraft to get some information he needs for his proposal. The telephone connection isn’t always clear, which creates some difficulty in the call.
1. George asks Simon about “shipping,” or delivering the radios. What are the two choices George gives Simon about shipping?
2. At one point, George can’t hear what Simon says. How does George ask Simon to repeat himself?
3. Simon uses two words to make it clear to George that he means “XV.” What are the two words?