#147: Confident Phone Conversations

Without a doubt, a frustrating part of communicating in a foreign language is making a phone call. You cannot see the other person’s face or rely on gestures, and you have to answer spontaneously. It can feel extremely embarrassing to admit that you don’t understand something seemingly simple the person on the other side said.

In this episode we share share recommendations for speaking on the phone in English, so next time you make a call you can feel comfortable and confident. Aww yeah!!

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Words You’ll Learn:

  • Wired – full of energy; connected by wires
  • Telemarketer – someone who sells things over the phone
  • Big shoes to fill – having to take responsibility over a job or activity that another person has a reputation for performing well.
  • Tied up – busy
  • TGIF – Thank God it’s Friday
  • Formality – the rigid observance of etiquette
  • Hand over – to pass something to someone; to give responsibility of something or someone to another person
  • Go straight to the jugular – to not waste something, to deal with an important task
  • Aid – to help
  • Scrunch up – to crush or squeeze something into a compact mass
  • Scrunchy – a band worn by women to keep hair up
  • Pain in the ass – difficult or annoying
  • Caller ID – a message showing you who is calling you
  • Hood – a poor neighborhood characterized by being home to dangerous individuals or gangs
  • Screen a phone call – to filter a phone call using caller ID
  • Toll free – a call (generally to a large company) that you do not need to pay for
  • Lead (someone) along – to make someone believe that you will do something even though you do not intend to
  • Operator – the individual who answers a phone call and connects you to the correct department of a company
  • Red flag – a sign that you should proceed with caution
  • Nod one’s head – to show affirmation
  • Crutch – something that offers support when you’re in a vulnerable state
  • Rehearse – to practice before performing
  • Can I get your digits? – a colloquial slang way to ask for someone’s phone number
  • Speed dial – the setting on a phone that allows you to quickly call someone with the touch of just one of the buttons
  • Ransom – money demanded by kidnappers in exchange for the safe return of the victim

Phone Conversation Vocabulary

  • Informal – Hey / What’s up? / Sup?
  • This is [name]
  • May I/Could I speak with [name]?
  • Hey is [name] there?
  • Formal – I would appreciate if you would connect me to [name], Informal – Could you get [name]?
  • I’m going to put you on hold, Just a sec
  • I’m going to transfer you to [department]
  • All of our operators/agents are busy
  • Can I speak to your supervisor?
  • You’re cutting out, you’re breaking up
  • Can I call you back? Can you call me back?
  • O – Zero/0
  • Emergency Numbers
    • USA/CAN – 911
    • AUS – 000
    • UK – 999
  • Survival phrases:
    • Sorry? Pardon? Excuse me? Come again? Say again?
    • Could you repeat that? Could you say that again?
    • Could you speak slower?
    • I didn’t catch that
    • Do you know what I mean?
    • What do you mean?
    • Could you spell that please?


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  • Marcel Motta says:

    That´’s amazing and useful guys, aww Yeeaaaah!

  • Anderson Carlos Moura says:

    I finally could listen to it.. lol #Downloaded
    Y’all’ll keep surprising me!!! killer!!

    • Justin says:

      Great to hear buddy! Keep on rocking it!