Are you polite enough on the phone?

Wie professionell sind Sie, wenn Sie auf Englisch telefonieren müssen?
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Have a look at this telephone conversation. You can read it, or as a Secretary Today reader you can download it from our website using the current password. What do you think of the secretary’s English and telephone manner?

Sec: Hofbauer.
Caller: Hello, this is Chris Parkinson from XYZ Recruiting in London.
Sec: Hello.
Caller: Is that the human resources department?
Sec: Yes, it is.
Caller: And who am I speaking to, please?
Sec: This is Mr X’s secretary.
Caller: OK. Is Mr X there please? Could I talk to him?
Sec: Sorry, he’s in a meeting.
Caller: Well, could you give him a message, please?
Sec: Of course.
Caller: Please tell him I have found two candidates for the job.
Sec: OK. I’ll tell him.
Caller: Could you ask him to call me back this afternoon, please?
Sec: Yes, he will call you back this afternoon.
Caller: Right, thank you.
Sec: You’re welcome.

There are 4 main points she needs to remember that will drastically improve her rather abrupt telephone style.

  1. Always introduce yourself properly with your full name.
  2. Use the caller’s name.
  3. Offer to assist the caller wherever possible.
  4. Offer solutions (“He will be back at 3 o’clock”) instead of problems (“He’s not there.”)

Here you find the conversation again as it should be ...

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