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Gain Confidence Using English At Work

– Business Phone Calls.

Making or answering Business phone calls, when you have to speak in English, can be very stressful. Learners have told me how they stare at the phone and start to sweat when it rings. They don’t want to answer it because they think they make an error or look incompetent to their clients, customers, or worse, their boss! Others say they write an email because they don’t want to make a phone call and look stupid or forget how to speak in English.

Here are some tips to help you get over your fear of the phone and make Business Phone calls less daunting.

1) Write down what you want to say before you make the phone call.
Before making your call, prepare an outline of what you’re going to say.
Write down what you need to say.
Write down the name of the person you are calling.
The questions you need to ask
Think about their likely responses and write down possible answers they may give and what you would say as a reply.

2) Concentrate on the call.
An open-plan office can be noisy, and it is easy to miss words or get distracted. If you have that problem, find a quiet place to make the call so you can give the person your full attention.

3) Speak clearly, and don’t rush your words.
Speak clearly, and don’t speak too fast. This gives you time to decide what you are going to say. Speaking slower also helps the person you are speaking with as they may also be a non-native English speaker, or may not be used to hearing a variety of English accents. Don’t worry if they have a problem understanding a word, spell it to them. Keep as relaxed as you can, and keep your tone pleasant.

4) It is OK to ask them to repeat what they have said.
Sometimes the caller may talk very fast, or the connection may not be good, so it is alright to ask the caller to speak slower and to repeat what they said. If you are not sure, repeat back to them what was said to confirm.

5) Take notes.
It is sensible to make notes during a phone call and to confirm at the end of the call what was said, or you can email them confirming what was said.

6) Don’t feel pressured to answer all questions.
If you are not sure how to answer a question, tell the person you have made a note of the question and need to confirm some details before you can answer it. Don’t feel rushed or pressured into answering any question without knowing the correct answer.

7) Role-play
Practice making and receiving a call. Role-plays are perfect for this. Practice with a friend, colleague, or your language coach.

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