Business English Course – BEP 69A: Answering a Phone Call in English

This is a free preview of a video lesson from our Business English Kickstart Course:

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This Business English lesson looks at language for answering the telephone in English. Talking on the telephone in has become an extremely important part of business English. You need to be able to answer a call professionally and create a good image of yourself and your company with only your voice.

The Business English Kickstart Course covers the 3 main Business English Skills of meetings, presentations and talking on the phone with 20 lessons appropriate for intermediate English Speakers. The course is available on the Udemy platform which provides desktop and mobile access for Android and iOS devices.

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BEP 15c – Telephoning: Asking for Help

BEP 15c - Asking for Help on the Telephone

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.

Listening Questions

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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English for Telephoning Mobile App

We’re pleased to announce our new mobile iOS app English for Telephoning is now live in the Apple App Store: Download


Business English Pod brings you English for Telephoning – an mobile eCourse app packed with quality business English lessons to help you get your English language skills in shape for your next phone call.

Learn English for Telephoning:

> Listen and learn business English in real business contexts.
> Improve your language and vocabulary skills with clear explanations and examples.
> Practice business English as it is used in everyday workplace situations.
> Study the transcript as you listen – easily sync to the audio using the time codes in the transcripts.
> Test your knowledge of the lesson by completing a progress quiz.
> Download and save MP3s and lessons for offline listening and learning.
> Access your business English lessons anywhere, anytime.

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BEP 261 – Complaining on the Telephone 2

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on complaining and getting results over the phone.

Few people actually like to complain, but sometimes you just have to. There’s an old saying that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” which means that if you don’t complain, you won’t actually get anything resolved. So if you pay for a product or service and you’re not satisfied, it’s usually best to let the company know.

We can complain by email, but email isn’t always powerful enough. We need to use our voice to convey our ideas, emotions, and seriousness. We can complain in person, but that’s not always possible. So in many situations, we need to complain over the phone. But that’s not an easy thing to do successfully, so today we’ll look at some techniques that you can use to get results over the phone. In this lesson, we’ll cover rejecting a proposed solution, making threats, and asking for guarantees. We’ll also learn about establishing consequences and showing appreciation for a solution.

In the dialog, we will rejoin Donna and Mike. Donna works for Fuller Foods, which buys fruit from a company where Mike works as an account manager. Donna has been complaining about late deliveries and damaged produce. And Mike is trying to make her happy by looking for solutions to the problem.

Listening Questions

1. What does Donna think of Mike’s idea to talk to people in his company about the problem?
2. Why might Donna mention that she gets calls from sales reps from other companies?
3. What does Donna propose in the event that deliveries arrive late?

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BEP 260 – Complaining on the Telephone 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on complaining over the telephone.

We all know the frustration that comes with not being satisfied with a product or service? And have you had your frustration build up because the problem keeps happening? At some point, we have to stop just complaining to our friends or colleagues about it and complain directly to the company. After all, you pay good money for something, and you want to be happy with it.

So you call the company up and you try to deal with the problem over the phone. It’s not an easy task, but there are some techniques that you can learn to make your complaints more effective. In today’s lesson, we’ll look at politely explaining a problem, rejecting bad excuses, and talking about the impact of the problem. We’ll also learn how to reference previous discussions about the problem and how to ask for a solution.

In the dialog, we will hear Donna, who works for a food products company called Fuller Foods. She’s calling Mike, an account manager with a company that distributes fruit. Donna is unhappy with the service she’s been getting and wants to complain about it.

Listening Questions

1. What excuse for the problem does Mike give at first?
2. What is the impact of the problem that Donna is complaining about?
3. What important question does Donna ask Mike at the end of the dialog?

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