So machen Sie Small-Talk am Telefon

How to make small-talk on the phone

Wissen Sie, wie Sie am Telefon professionell Small-Talk einsetzen können? Bevor Sie den Artikel lesen, machen Sie unser kleines Quiz.

Quiz: When talking to business partners in the UK and U.S.A.

1 Never ask a caller about their family.         ❑ true  ❑ false
2 The weather is always a safe subject.       ❑ true  ❑ false
3 If you know someone personally,
you don’t have to make small talk.                ❑ true  ❑ false

Solution: 1 – false, 2 – true, 3 – false

Now read on

“Every great romance and each big business deal begins with small talk. The key to successful small talk is learning how to connect with others, not just communicate with them.”  Bernardo J. Carducci, Psychologist

Many of us think we can’t make small talk, that we lack the necessary social skills, that others are much better than we are, especially in a foreign language. But, like any other skill, small talk can be learned.

In the business world, you make small-talk on the phone to someone you know, by phone, letter, email or in person. It’s easier than when you meet someone in person because you don’t have to spend a lot of time talking to them.

The length of time you spend depends on how well you know the person. If you have met them personally, or if you know something about their family, you spend more time on small talk than if you only know them from business corres-pondence.

Here are some phrases you can use:

If you know the person, give them a friendly welcome. Use their name.

Oh, Mrs Francis. How nice to hear from you. Nett von Ihnen zu hören!
Jane, it’s nice to hear from you. Schön, von Ihnen/Dir zu hören.


Here are some suggestions for continuing the conversation using small talk.

● General
How are things at ABC? Wie läuft es bei Ihnen?

● The weather
This is how to ask about it:
How’s the weather today in New York? Wie ist das Wetter heute in New York?

This is how to respond to the other person’s answers:
It’s nice and sunny over here. Hier ist es richtig schön, die Sonne scheint.

It’s pouring down here. Hier gießt es in Strömen.

This is to respond to bad weather:
Oh, poor you – it’s not very nice here either. Sie Ärmster! Bie uns ist es auch nicht sehr schön.
Oh, dear. It’s raining here as well. Schade, hier regnet es auch.

This is how to react to good weather:
How lovely for you. It’s raining here. Wie schön für Sie. Hier regnet es.
You’re making me envious. Sie machen mich neidisch.

● The caller’s family
If you know the caller well, youcan ask general personal questions.
How is your wife? Wie geht’s Ihrer Frau?
How did you daughter’s exams go? Wie hat Ihre Tochter bei Ihren Prüfungen abgeschnitten?

If the answer is positive you can say:
I’m pleased to hear that. Freut mich zu hören.
That’s great, congratulations. Das ist wunderbar, ich gratuliere.

If the answer is negative, you can say:
I’m sorry to hear that. I hope she gets well soon. Tut mir leid zu hö-
ren. Ich hoffe es geht ihr bald besser.

That’s a shame. I hope she’s not too disappointed. Das ist schade. Ich
hoffe, sie ist nicht zu enttäuscht.

● Holidays
Have you got any plans for the summer? Haben Sie Pläne für den Sommer?
Did you have a nice holiday / vacation? Hatten Sie einen schönen Urlaub?

● Finishing the small-talk

Well, it’s been nice talking to you. I’ll put you through to Mr Menzel now.
War schön, mit Ihnen zu plaudern. Ich verbinde Sie jetzt
mit Herrn Menzel.


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