How to answer the phone politely

I often make and receive phone calls in a business context where the other person talks with too much jargon. Occasionally I need to interrupt them with questions to get a better understanding of what they are saying. How can I go about politely interrupting them for clarification without offending them?

How to answer the phone politely

3 Answers 3

If people just continue talking and they don’t pause just say:

And then tell them that you like to understand them but you didn’t understand this or that and could they please repeat this (and maybe explain it with other words).

I think the important part is that you should tell the person that you want to understand them but are not able to understand them. Most people want that others understand them. There is no point in talking and talking when the other(s) don’t understand it.

If you just continue to “listen” without understanding then maybe the other person talks for 5 minutes and you understand little because you didn’t understand the beginning. If you tell the person then something like “sorry, I didn’t understand what you said 5 minutes ago” then it is a lot more likely that the other person is upset and maybe ask you: Why didn’t you ask me 5 minutes ago?

That is my personal experience as listener and, I have to admit, also sometimes as the person who talks and has to be interrupted. I was never angry with anybody who interrupted me (maybe after 15 seconds) because they didn’t understand me. I get angry when people interrupt me already after 5 seconds because they don’t want to listen but that is a different issue.


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      Friday, 15 August 2014

      How to Answer the Phone Politely

      05:06 Executive Republic

      Method 1 of 3: At The Office

      • Even if you have caller ID, it could be your boss calling from a colleague’s phone! Answering the phone with “Yeah, what?” will give people an impression of you that you don’t want them to have.

      Focus on the conversation. Stop whatever you might be doing and take a brief moment to prepare. Wear the face you want to project before picking up the phone. It makes a difference: whether you’re smiling, frowning, or bored to tears, your caller will hear that in your tone.

      • If it’s an internal call, and you know it, you can answer with your department and name: “Hello, this is WebDev, Jordan speaking. How can I help you today?” This will let your caller know they’ve reached the right person, and that you are ready to assist them. Keeping a friendly, personable tone will make the call much more pleasant for everybody.
      • In many office situations, there are guidelines for answering the phone that all employees must follow. Always project sincerity, no matter how silly the canned lines might seem—the customer will be able to tell the difference if you are enthusiastic, versus just reading the cue card: “Thanks for calling ChknLckn, the FngrLckn best!” will sound totally ridiculous if you don’t say it with conviction!
      • If the speaker does not introduce themselves, say, “May I ask who’s calling?” This is an accepted practice that not only lets the caller know they are being treated personally, it also lets you make a note should you need to contact that person again, or transfer them to another line.Don’t ask the speaker rudely.Or He/She might get displeased with you.
      • Do not delve into gossiping or personal conversations. Unless you’re chatting with a colleague or friend, there’s no room for this in an office situation.
      • If the person they are trying to reach is not at home or is not available to speak, tell the caller, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Simpson, Mr. Burns is not available right now. May I take a message?”
      • Be sure to record the person’s name, phone number, and purpose of call. This way, if it is an important call, the issue can be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.
      • In a business situation, state “I’m sorry, sir/madam. Company policy is that I am not permitted to give out that information. May I have more details on why it is required?” and make your assessment from there.

      Method 2 of 3: At Home

      Be yourself. Your home is your castle, as they say, and while phone etiquette is still the best practice, the formality of the office is not usually necessary.

      • If, based on caller ID and experience, you know who’s calling, feel free saying “Hi, Tom! How are you today?”
      • If you have caller ID and do not recognize the caller, or the call is either listed as “unknown,” or “blocked,” answering the phone is discretionary.
      • If you do choose to answer, be aware that the person on the other end of the line is probably in a business frame of mind, and answer accordingly. Be wary of giving out your name to strangers, however. A simple “Hello?” will suffice.
      • If they ask for you or another member of your household, ask them for their name and organization before you tell them anything—the last thing you want to do is give telemarketers too much information! If they’re cagey or won’t say who they are, remember—you’re under no obligation to continue speaking to them.

      Method 3 of 3: Voice Mail

      Record your greeting. Not all calls get through, and when they don’t, answering machines and voice mail are there to take the calls we miss. Because you don’t know who might reach your machine, using proper phone etiquette is important.

      Keep it professional in the office. Your answering machine greeting at work should be handled much like you would handle a “live” call: “Hello, you’ve reached the office of Mr. Burns. Please leave a message, including your name, phone number, and time you called. If this is an emergency, please contact my assistant at 415-555-1234.”

      How to answer the phone politely

      The phone rings, it’s the United States. You have to answer the phone in English!

      What do you do? Do you go have a coffee? Do you run to the restroom? Do you pick up the phone?

      Answering the phone in English is not so difficult … if you are prepared. If you are not, it’s true that the idea of answering the phone can be scary!

      “Will I understand?”
      “What will I do if their accent is too strong?”
      “I don’t want to say ‘Can you repeat please?’ after every sentence …”

      Personally, I hate to telephone in French, so I sympathize with you!

      Just as with the polite formulas in emails in English, you just have to know the typical expressions. This way, you start your call with a confidence boost. After you survive the first 30 seconds of the call, the rest is easy as pie!

      Answering the phone in English: Make a good start

      A useful phrase to answer the phone: “to pick up the phone”. It’s what you do when the phone rings.

      When you pick up the phone, you just have to say “Hello?”

      Yes, it’s as simple as that. But beware!

      If you don’t do it with the right intonation–it goes up at the end–your American friend will think they’re annoying you by calling you!

      (This may be the case, but on the phone, it is important to demonstrate politeness with your voice. You can listen for examples in how to do this in today’s episode).
      Need to work on your intonation so you don’t sound impolite? There is a video for that: Improve your pronunciation in English

      Click the image for details

      Answering the phone in English: Listen and answer

      Then you have to understand what the American says on the phone.

      There is a strong chance that he starts with a phrase like “Can I speak to Fred please?”

      If you are Fred, you answer with a typical phrase, which all Americans use on the phone: “This is he.” Obviously, this is the phrase for men.

      For women, we say “This is she.”

      “Can I speak to Christina?”
      “This is she.”

      Yes, the structure is a little weird. Don’t try to understand the grammatical structure …

      You will do you more harm than good! Sometimes you just have to learn the chunks – ready-made phrases – by heart. “This is he / she” is a useful chunk to learn.

      You can also answer with just “Speaking.” It’s ok. It’s correct. But personally, I find it a little short.

      I want to give you a personal challenge!
      Try to use “This is he / she” the next time you pick up the phone and someone asks to talk to you in English. You can do it! #ConfidenceBoost

      Everything is explained in this episode of Speak English with Christina TV!

      While text messages, e-mail, and social media platforms are popular means by which we communicate, there's no avoiding the still-ubiquitous phone call. Love it or hate it, someone's always on the line. Thanks, Alexander Graham Bell. We receive telephone calls all day, every day, and each has a different purpose. However distinct the calls, though, there are a few etiquette tips that always apply. No matter who's calling, these strategies will help to ensure a polite and professional impression when picking up the phone.


      When receiving a call, it's courteous to pick up the phone promptly or send the call to voicemail. Out of respect for the caller's time, try not to let the phone ring endlessly.


      When you pick up the phone, begin by offering your greeting of choice. “Hello” is always a polite option, as is “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon.” Confirm who you are (“This is Amanda”) and the identity of the person calling (“To whom am I speaking?”) so that all parties begin the call on the same page.

      Caller ID

      If you have a caller identification feature and know who is on the other end of the line, the greeting process should be even easier. Picking up the phone with “Hello” followed by the caller's name is perfectly acceptable.


      Be sure to speak clearly so that the person on the the call can understand you. If the connection isn't clear and it's difficult to hear, bring that up immediately so that the caller is aware. You may need to hang up and try the call again or, if dealing with a cell phone, move to a location where your phone can receive a stronger signal.

      When you're speaking into the telephone, be sure to smile—even though the caller can't see you, it makes a world of difference.

      WATCH: Southern Kids React To A Rotary Phone

      What are the telephone etiquette strategies you always follow? Think about it the next time your phone rings. Just as the world of technology changes, so too does the realm of telecommunications. However, proper etiquette is always in style.

      Focus on the conversation. Stop whatever you might be doing and take a brief moment to prepare. Wear the face you want to project before picking up the phone. It makes a difference: whether you’re smiling, frowning, or bored to tears, your caller will hear that in your tone Keeping a friendly, personable tone will make the call much more pleasant for everybody.

      Always identify yourself. In business situations, it is appropriate to answer the phone with your name and company: “Good morning, thank you for calling XXX. This is XXX. How may I help you?”

      Listen carefully. Find out the reason the person is calling and respond appropriately. Be wary of information-gathering calls. If the caller requests details about you or others, consider carefully before responding.

      Answer with an appropriate level of decorum.

      Try not to speak too informally until you know who the caller is

      How to answer the phone politely的相关文档搜索

      How to answer the phone politely相关文档

      Lesson 1 How to make a telephone call & answer the phone–07.6.22_英语学习_外语学习_教育专区。英语每周培训课件English Training How to make a .

      again after you have first accepted it and looked at it are not considered polite Phone calls Protocol 电话礼仪 1.How to answer Business Phone Calls .

      Find out in advance exactly where the company is located and how to get . interviews: ● DO answer the phone politely at ALL times during your job .

      Answer the phone 暂无评价 2页 1下载券 Lesson 1 How to make a. 13页 免费 on_the_phone 36页 2下载券 on the phone 31页 免费 On the Phone .

      Regardless how fancy your Bluetooth, or cell phone or rotary phone with, . have a question and want it answered quickly, intelligently and politely. .

      3. To answer a phone call politely, your tone of voice must be . 4. Our teacher showed us how to create E-cards on the computer with an.

      How polite are you? 1. One day, you stay at home, the telephone rings. When you answer the phone, you should say, “…” A. Who are you.

      Listen to the conversation and answer the following questions: (Ref: First . Li’s cell phone rang again. This time, Mr. Burton said politely, “.

      told 27. He smiled politely ______ Mary apologized for her drunken . Rita 45 there was somebody at home to answer the phone and their home .

      This is a complicated question but the answer is yes. There certainly are. speaking politely and clearly on the phone, listening attentively (专注地).

      3. Asking the person who connects to answer the phone Could I speak to John Wang, please?/ Is John Wang there, please? Unit 7 how to do the .

      There are many situations where you will be called upon to answer the phone. Knowing proper answering etiquette and developing good communication habits are important skills to learn.

      Keep a pad and pen handy by each phone so you won’t

      need to scramble to find them to take a message.

      If possible, go to a quiet place so as not to disturb others

      with your talking and so you can hear more clearly.

      If your phone has caller ID, be sure to check who it is

      before answering, but remember that it’s possible it could be someone else using that person’s phone. The same applies when calling another person.

      If the call is for another person, mark down the points in

      case you forget it. For example, the telephone number, person’s name, time they called, why they called, etc.

      Keep it professional. When you’re answering the phone at your office, you don’t always know who’s on the other end of the conversation. It could be your boss, a customer, one of your colleagues, or even a

      How to answer the phone politely的相关文档搜索

      How to answer the phone politely相关文档

      Lesson 1 How to make a telephone call & answer the phone–07.6.22_英语学习_外语学习_教育专区。英语每周培训课件English Training How to make a .

      again after you have first accepted it and looked at it are not considered polite Phone calls Protocol 电话礼仪 1.How to answer Business Phone Calls .

      Find out in advance exactly where the company is located and how to get . interviews: ● DO answer the phone politely at ALL times during your job .

      Answer the phone 暂无评价 2页 1下载券 Lesson 1 How to make a. 13页 免费 on_the_phone 36页 2下载券 on the phone 31页 免费 On the Phone .

      Regardless how fancy your Bluetooth, or cell phone or rotary phone with, . have a question and want it answered quickly, intelligently and politely. .

      3. To answer a phone call politely, your tone of voice must be . 4. Our teacher showed us how to create E-cards on the computer with an.

      How polite are you? 1. One day, you stay at home, the telephone rings. When you answer the phone, you should say, “…” A. Who are you.

      Listen to the conversation and answer the following questions: (Ref: First . Li’s cell phone rang again. This time, Mr. Burton said politely, “.

      told 27. He smiled politely ______ Mary apologized for her drunken . Rita 45 there was somebody at home to answer the phone and their home .

      This is a complicated question but the answer is yes. There certainly are. speaking politely and clearly on the phone, listening attentively (专注地).

      3. Asking the person who connects to answer the phone Could I speak to John Wang, please?/ Is John Wang there, please? Unit 7 how to do the .

      To ask for a phone call in a business context requires correct timing, formal language and you to be gentle. In a private context you can just say I will call you when you feel the conversation is suitable to do so.

      How can I talk in English on call?

      General Tips:Prepare what you’re going to say before the call to organize your ideas and provide support for you if you get confused.Always remain polite and use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.Speak slowly and clearly in plain English.

      How do you answer the phone for customer service?

      DO’SAnswer with a professional tone. Use common terminology. Start and end the call with enthusiasm. Keep the conversation personal. Clarify the customer’s issues and concerns. Interrupt your customer. Belittle their issues. Give incorrect information.

      How do you make a professional call?

      How to Make the Perfect Professional Phone CallMake a Clear, Confident Greeting. This may sound obvious, but whether making or receiving the. Remember This Is Not an Email. Being brief and to the point is great in an email. Speak Clearly. Structure Your Call. Clarify Any Follow-Ups and Give a Clear Sign-Off.

      What is the best time to call someone?

      Here is what we found:4 to 6pm is the best time to call to make contact with a lead. It is 114% better than calling at 11 to 12am, right before lunch. 8-9am and 4-5pm are the best times to call to qualify a lead. 4-5 pm is the best time to contact a lead to qualify that lead.

      Is 7pm too late to call?

      Personal phone calls can be made up until around 8:30pm. Any later and you’re impinging on the few hours of time people are allowed to zone out each day.

      How many calls should a salesperson make a day?

      What is call etiquette?

      What is phone etiquette? Phone etiquette is the way you use manners to represent yourself and your business to customers via telephone communication. This includes the way you greet a customer, your body language, tone of voice, word choice, listening skills and how you close a call.

      How do you end a phone call professionally?

      Here are a few tips and phrases to help you politely and professionally end phone conversations.Close the door. When it’s time to end the conversation, be sure you are not inviting the other person to continue talking. Use breaks in conversation. Interrupt politely. Offer future calls.

      How do you talk on the phone professionally?

      10 tips for answering and handling calls professionallyPromptly answer calls.Be warm and welcoming.Introduce yourself and your business.Speak clearly.Do not use slang or buzz words.Ask before you put people on hold.Don’t just put calls through.Be prepared for your calls.

      What is proper cell phone etiquette?

      Etiquette for cell phones at work.Be aware of your ringtone. Don’t look at your phone during meetings;Don’t place your phone on your lap;Focus on the person that should have your attention i.e. customer, client, coworker, boss, etc;Keep your personal calls private;Keep your phone out of sight;

      Is it rude to look at someone’s phone?

      The short answer is yes, but we’ll get into a couple different articles with differing opinion. The Wall Street Journal gave a nice explanation of “shoulder surfing,” or looking at someone else’s phone over their shoulder. It’s rude, it’s wrong, and we shouldn’t do it.

      Do and don’ts of mobile phones?

      Just take a look at the mobile phone do’s and don’ts, listed below:Do’s:Keep your phone and apps up to date.Defend your phone against malware.Turn off your Bluetooth.Encrypt all your sensitive information.Don’ts.Don’t Go Overboard with Animations.Don’t download too many addictive apps.

      What are the rules for using a cell phone at work?

      Assuming your employer doesn’t have a rule forbidding cell phone use at work, here are some rules to follow:Put Your Phone Away. Turn Off Your Ringer. Use Your Cell Phone for Important Calls Only. Let Voicemail Pick Up Your Calls. Find a Private Place to Make Cell Phone Calls. Don’t Bring Your Cell Phone Into the Restroom.

      Can you get fired for using your phone at work?

      So if you work for a company that does not have any written hiring and firing policies, and you don’t belong to a union then your boss can fire you for any reason as long it does not violate your civil rights. If your employee handbook has a cell phone policy and you are not adhering to the policy, you could be fired.

      What is no cell phone policy?

      Short Cell Phone Policy Sample: Cell phones should not be allowed to distract employees from business tasks. They should not be used for surfing the internet or gaming during work hours. Cell phones should never be used while driving, operating equipment, or in any situation where they can cause accidents.

      Can my boss legally take my cell phone?

      It is legal, according to employment law expert Richard Carlson. “Yes, as long as the employer didn’t use unlawful force in taking the phone away from the employee,” he said. Carlson said your boss can’t open your phone, either.

      Can my boss look at my personal phone?

      Private employers do not have a legal right to access your personal cell phone in most cases, according to privacy attorneys, but a business cell phone, even when used for personal use, is a different matter. He said personal email on your phone is not legally open to employers, however.

      Can my employer look at my personal phone?

      Here is the rule: an employer cannot violate an employee’s reasonable expectation of privacy. So if an employee has a reasonable expectation in the privacy of their cell phone (or any other mobile device), the employer cannot search it.

      What are my legal rights as an employee?

      Employees have a right to: Not be harassed or discriminated against (treated less favorably) because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, disability, age (40 or older) or genetic information (including family medical history).

      I happen to sit near the secretary who handles the company phone. The secretary doesn’t always come to work at my office as she alternates working between multiple offices. Hence, whenever she’s not around and the phone rings, I usually answer it since I’m closest to it.

      I would like to emphasize that I’m merely answering due to convenience, I was not hired as a receptionist / secretary, answering the phone is not in my job scope, the phonecalls are never for me and honestly I hate answering it.

      That aside, I still answer it due to convenience, and I expect my colleagues to do the same, i.e. they should answer the phone if they are close to it.

      However, it seems that my colleagues are beginning to think answering the phone is part of my job, as shown when a senior called me to answer the phone even when the phone was closer to him and many other colleagues.

      As such, I would like to ask how I can politely express that it’s not my job to answer the phone and that I expect whoever is closest to the phone to answer it.

      8 Answers 8

      Stop answering the phone.

      While being inflexible about what work you can do is frowned upon, especially at smaller companies, such covering for your colleagues should not become regular occurrence, for a number of reasons:

        Your own work will be affected: By getting frequently distracted doing others’ work, you won’t be able to do your own work well. The company pays you to do the work that you were hired to do, and if your own work frequently falls below expectation, it is a loss for the company, and consequently, for you.

      You are probably not as skilled at doing others’ jobs: Answering a company phone is not a mundane job. You do not always get “easy” calls, the secretary is trained to deal with the “difficult” ones, and also to deal with special situations.

      For example, what if an irate customer demands right off the bat, “John Doe was supposed to call me last week, I want to talk to him right now.”? You may not know John Doe, or his extension number, or how to redirect the call. If John Doe is unavailable, you may not know when he would be back or who is filling in for him. The secretary usually has this information, or knows how to deal with the situation when it is unavailable.

      When you work for free, you get taken for granted: You have already experienced this yourself. When you frequently do other people’s job, people tend to assume that it is your job. If you do not actually like doing that job, that situation can never be good. People might even expect you to “help out” with other problems.

      People avoid finding a real solution: Since you are taking care of answering the phone, management doesn’t realize or doesn’t care that the secretary is only working “part time” at each office. If you stop doing that, they might soon notice the problem, and make it their priority to fix it. It is also possible that the phone not getting answered isn’t really a problem in the management’s eyes.

      If someone asks why you aren’t answering the phone, politely point out that you were doing your own work (“Oh, I am busy with .”), instead of “It’s not my job!”, or even worse, “Why don’t you do it yourself?”

      Just like people started to assume that you are the “backup secretary” because you volunteered to do it, they will soon forget about it if you stop doing it. They cannot possibly complain to your manager that you were caught doing your own work.

      Westend61/Getty Images

      Can we hop on the phone?

      Did you just grumble? You aren’t alone. Despite the fact that we’re attached to our phones 24/7, many of us actually loathe the one function they were designed for: making and taking calls.

      I get it. Interrupting your workday in order to participate in a phone call that could’ve happened over email—maybe far more efficiently—can be a nuisance.

      But, what exactly can you do about it? There has to be a more polite and professional way to avoid a phone conversation than by saying, “No thanks, I’d rather listen to a soundtrack of nails on a chalkboard for eight hours,” right?

      Yes indeed, there is. If you’re one of the many phone-averse people out there, here’s a guide based on what you’re tempted to say when someone asks you to “hop on the phone”—as well as what’s behind those feelings (and, you know, what you should really say instead).

      You’re Tempted to Say. “I’m Going to Forget Everything You Tell Me, So You Might as Well Email Me”

      Phone calls can be efficient—but only if you’re actively engaged in what’s being discussed. If you’re not, all of those crucial tidbits are probably going to fall out of your brain the second you hang up.

      Could you take notes? Absolutely. But, if you’re anything like me, you’ll return to those scribbles at the conclusion of your conversation and have no idea what any of them actually mean. Or, you might lose focus during that well-intentioned phone chat and opt to scroll through Twitter or jot down your grocery list instead of actively listening to the topic at hand (ahem, guilty as charged).

      Either way, that phone call ends up being a waste of your time, because you didn’t actually retain any important information.

      That’s one of the many perks of email. You have documentation to return to whenever you need it—and you can rest assured that it’s accurate (unlike your doodle of a sunflower with a cryptic note that says, “Ask Jim!” next to it).

      Lucky for you, this is a perfectly justifiable reasoning to lean on when you need it.

      Oh, and if your attempts to escape that phone call don’t play out as you hoped? Take your moment to complain, and then make sure that you’re ready to listen (just think—you don’t want to have to hop on the phone twice because you missed stuff the first time!). Also, follow up on that conversation with an email summary that highlights action items—so you still have that written record you were hoping for.

      Say This Instead

      “If possible, I’d like to get this conversation started via email. That way, I have notes to refer back to and can easily loop in anyone else who needs to be in the know. If we still think a call is necessary after getting this groundwork laid out, we can pick a time to chat.”

      You’re Tempted to Say. “I Have Nightmares About the Fact That You’re Going to Ask Me Something I Can’t Answer”

      Put your own ego aside for a moment and admit this to yourself: Part of what makes phone calls so intimidating is that they happen in real time.

      You have to think on your feet way more than you would if you were simply responding to an email that grants you ample time to ask your colleague or consult Google.

      So, if your nerves are what are inspiring you to stay far, far away from a phone conversation, a response like the one below will hopefully help you avoid a dreaded live chat—without blatantly admitting your own insecurities.

      And hey, sometimes it’s worth pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, too. Remember, if you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to, you can always share that you’ll need to circle back with them after via email.

      Say This Instead

      “I want to make sure I’m prepared to give you all of the information you need. Would you mind emailing me the questions you’re aiming to have answered? I’ll reply to what I can via email and, if necessary, we can schedule a call to discuss the rest.”

      You’re Tempted to Say. “Ugh, I Just Really Don’t Like Talking to People”

      Let’s just call a spade a spade here—phone calls can really be a major pain in the you-know-what.

      You have enough meetings and commitments cluttering your schedule, and the last thing you want to do is rip your attention away from your actual work again just to participate in a conversation that you could’ve handled via email in your own time.

      Of course, a retort that lays bare the fact that you’d rather not talk to anyone probably isn’t going to go over too well.

      Frame your response a little more positively by explaining that you have something you need to stay focused on at the moment and would prefer email if that’s a possibility. It still gets your point across—in a way that doesn’t make you seem like quite as big of a recluse.

      Say This Instead

      “I’m in the middle of a big project and am primarily focused on that right now. If you’d like, feel free to send me your talking points here and I’ll address what I can in an email. If you still think a call is needed after that, we can get one scheduled after this project wraps.”

      You’ll notice something about all of these responses: They still give the option of having a phone chat if absolutely necessary.

      I’m not trying to betray you here, I promise. However, it’s important to recognize that sometimes phone calls really are needed.

      They can be more efficient and effective than dozens of emails sent back and forth. And some conversations need the human element of speaking something out loud—like giving tough feedback or talking out a workplace conflict. Plus, being able to hop on the phone is an important skill in many jobs—sales, for example—and ultimately crucial to your success.

      But, that doesn’t change the fact that there are some phone conversations that are worth transforming into email exchanges. In those scenarios, use the replies I’ve outlined here and you’ll (hopefully!) avoid a dreaded phone in a way that’s still polite, professional, and productive.

      Is it accepted to just say “Hallo” when answering a phone call? Are there any conventions on what to say in a private setting, or in my company?

      6 Answers 6

      There are indeed many people just saying “Hallo?” or “Ja?”. But also very common with most pople answering a private (landline) number and not knowing the caller, is saying their last name. If it’s a business phone, then of course you say the name of the company, your full name and a greeting.

      How to answer the phone politely

      I think it depends if you’re answering a personal cell phone or a landline phone which is used by more than one person.

      When I answer my cell phone and I the caller ID is shown on the display, I answer according to my relationship to the caller. For example:

      Hallo, Anna! (or simply) Hallo!

      (business related)
      Guten Tag! (or very friendly) Guten Tag Frau Schmidt!

      If I don’t know who is calling (unknown number, of suppressed caller ID etc.), I normally pronounce the hallo as question:

      It is getting more and more accepted to simply say “Hallo” when answering the phone. Personally, I don’t like this kind of greeting. Voices on the phone often sound quite different than they do in real life. I often don’t recognize the person on the other end and have to ask something like “Bill, is that you?”

      So, I’d suggest that on a private number you simply respond to the call by saying your name (“Hans Mustermann” or simply “Mustermann”). On a cororate line I’d answer something like (“Firma XYZ, Mustermann, guten Tag!”).

      IMO saying at least your last name when answering your phone is a matter of politeness: humans voices tend to sound unfamiliar over the phone, so the caller can easily know if he got the right person without the awkward question “X, is that you?”.

      I talked to people, which rather not say their name when answering their private phone due to privacy concern, but I don’t really get their point there: I’m sure that if I wanted to get their name basic social engineering tricks would do the job.

      I answer the phone by simply saying “Ja?”, or my surname and nothing else. The caller greets the callee with a “Hallo”, however I see more and more people change that to either localized greetings or general greetings, like “morgen”, “guten tag”, “guten abend”, etc. It seems quite weird to answer Skype calls with a Hallo, for some reason.

      For some reason, the localized greetings are also accepted in many places (such as the German military, the Bundeswehr).

      It is alright to say “, moin”. When I called customer support in southern areas in Germany, I was greeted with a “grüß Gott”, quite often.

      These examples are taken from this pdf (It will download a pdf file)

      There are lots of possibilty to accept a call. The person, who is accepting the call, should decide which one to choose. The examples below are mostly for the business world.

      Breitenbach KG, Einkauf, Gottfried Schmitt am Apparat. (Was kann ich für Sie tun?)

      Breitenbach AG, Zentrale. Guten Tag.

      Vornweg&Co, Helmut Fischer. Grüß Gott.

      Guten Tag, hier ist Firma Maibach & Söhne, Papierverarbeitung, mein Name ist Edwin Huber.

      Vorzimmer des Vorstandsvorsitzenden Dr. Herzfeld, Britta Droste.

      Schmitt, Apparat Stalke.

      Apparat von Herrn Stalke.

      Neumannn GmbH, Kleinert am Apparat,


      Eva Kleinert.

      How to answer the phone politely

      “Closing a call” is not a skill limited to sales. In sales, the term refers to the final step in a sales presentation where the sales representative elicits some form of confirmation or agreement from their customer. The same tactful skills to navigate a ‘closing’ can help you end unwanted conversations.

      One of my first jobs was “customer support” in a call center, better known as a telemarketer. The first day was comprised of six and a half hours of being yelled at and hung up on. Hour seven was spent on the phone with a very gracious woman who answered the phone and was thrilled to talk to me about drip sprinkler systems, home security, the stock market, and her little dog “Chewie”.

      I learned a valuable lesson from that call: I had to lead the conversation or it would lead me.

      Here are five tricks for getting customers, in-laws, or ex-boyfriends off the phone, politely, professionally, and without resorting to faking the bad phone line.

      1. Say “Thank You”

      Thanking your caller is a great prelude to saying goodbye. It is an effective social queue for closing a conversation. Simple psychology: people like to be validated.

      A “thank you closing” allows you to respectfully validate that their time and input, but also indicate that the dialog is now complete.

      Find the phrasing that works best for your situation. Here are a few examples:

      A Customer, co-worker, your boss:

      • “Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I really appreciate the feedback/input.”
      • ”Thank you for following up/the input on this issue, I’ll get back to you as soon as I have an update/more information/etc.”

      The relative, the ex, the long-winded friend:

      • “It’s been great catching up with you. Thanks for calling.”
      • “Thanks for calling. Really enjoyed talking with you. Bye.”

      2. The Follow-Up Method: “Let me get back to you…”

      There are many situations where the topic of conversation just isn’t going to be resolved in one sitting. Suggest a resolution or solution and give yourself an escape route so you can solve the problem and perhaps your sanity.

      If you work in a Japanese company, at some point a telephone is going to ring in your vicinity. Being able to answer it in a professional and competent manner will both impress your colleagues and help you feel like one of the team.

      If you work in a Japanese company, at some point a telephone is going to ring in your vicinity. Being able to answer it in a professional and competent manner will both impress your colleagues and help you feel like one of the team. Obviously, answering the phone in a foreign language can be intimidating, and this fact is compounded by the need to follow the rules of business etiquette. However, there are certain set expressions that you can learn in advance to help you prepare for this challenge. In this step-by-step guide we will introduce all the business Japanese phrases you need to confidently answer the phone at work.

      1. Answering the phone

      When answering a personal call on your own phone, the standard way to answer the phone is simply, 「もしもし」 (moshi moshi) which is the equivalent of the English “Hello”. However, moshi moshi is not appropriate if you are answering a business call. Just as you would in English, you should identify yourself and your company. But before you do that, there are three possible ways to greet the caller.
      Before 11.00 am the standard way to answer the phone is this:

      • おはようございます。X株式会社のスミスでございます。
        ohayou gozaimasu. X kabushikigaisha no Sumisu degozaimasu.
        “Good morning. X Company. Smith speaking.”

      After 11.00 am, the greeting changes:

      • お電話ありがとうございます。X株式会社のスミスでございます。
        odenwa arigatou gozaimasu. X kabushikigaisha no Sumisu degozaimasu.
        “Thank you for calling. X Company. Smith speaking.”

      Ideally, the phone should ring no more than three times before you answer it. If the phone has rung more than three times before you can reach it, then you should answer as follows:

      • お待たせいたしました。X株式会社のスミスでございます。
        omatase itashimashita. X kabushikigaisha no Sumisu degozaimasu.
        “I am sorry to keep you waiting. X Company. Smith speaking.”

      2. How to ask for the caller’s name

      If the caller fails to identify themself, you should ask:

      • 失礼でございますが、どちら様でいらっしゃいますか
        shitsurei degozaimasu ga, dochira-sama de irasshaimasu ka.
        “Excuse me. May I ask who is calling?”

      Alternatively, if the caller gives a name, but you couldn’t catch what they said, you should blame the connection and not the speaker:

      • すみませんが、電話が遠いようなので、もう一度お名前をおっしゃっていただけますか。
        sumimasen ga, denwa ga tooi you nanode, mou ichido onamae wo osshatte itadakemasu ka.
        “I am sorry, but there seems to be a bad connection. Could you repeat your name again please?”

      3. Confirm the caller’s details

      After the caller has told you their name and company, be sure to repeat back those details.

      • 株式会社Y田中様でいらっしゃいますね。いつも大変お世話になっております。
        kabushikigaisha Yno Tanaka-sama deirasshaimasu ne.itsumo taihen osewa ni natteorimasu.
        “That’s Ms. Tanaka from Y Company, isn’t it? Thank you very much for calling.”

      The formal expression お世話になっております is often used in business Japanese. The word お世話 literally means “care”, “assistance” or “looking after” something, but it is basically used to express gratitude. A literal translation of いつも大変お世話になっております would be “Thank you so much for always taking care of us”.

      In Part 2 of this step-by-step guide we will look at the language you need to put a caller on hold, how to pass the call on to a colleague, and what to do if your colleague is not available.

      Sometimes, we get stuck in situations where we prefer not answering a question posed at us. In such instances, just use lighthearted humor and deflect the answer. This, and some more tricks to politely avoid answering a question, have been summarized here.

      Sometimes, we get stuck in situations where we prefer not answering a question posed at us. In such instances, just use lighthearted humor and deflect the answer. This, and some more tricks to politely avoid answering a question, have been summarized here.

      Not answering the question, answers the question!

      It sometimes happens that, even though a topic seems to be none of anybody’s business, everybody seems to be suddenly interested in knowing about it. Some people are just naturals when it comes to asking mean and blunt questions. Such nosy people lack basic etiquette. I’m still unaware as to how people can be so unseemly and presumptuous, when dealing with others.

      But there is a saying, that if you retaliate in the same way, then what is the difference between you and the other person. Therefore, before you snap back and pin that person to the wall, hold on for a second and rethink. You should display as much as refined behavior and elegance as you can manage, and answer their snooping interrogation politely. This act, not only puts off the questioner, but also makes him/her embarrassed.

      Being assertive rather than aggressive usually works. I believe in a quote by Eric Hoffer, which reads, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength”, and abide by it. SocialMettle also thinks that if you want to avoid answering a question, you should do it politely, and therefore, has come with up with a list of to-dos that you may want to imbibe.

      Candidly Avoid the Answer

      There are two ways of doing this. In the first way, you can be straightforward and tell the person in an assertive but mild tone that you would not be answering the question. You don’t have to beat around the bush. You could use statements like…

      ➟ I do not mean to be rude, but I’d rather not answer this question.

      ➟ With no offense, I would like to say that this question is too personal for me to answer.

      ➟ I’m sorry, but I don’t think I would like to share that information with anyone.

      ➟ I’m grateful that you asked, but I would rather not talk with someone who was not involved.

      The second way of answering unwanted questions, is that you reply in a time-buying kind of response. Let me give you some examples…

      ➟ Well, I didn’t look at it like that before, I’ll think over and get back to you.

      ➟ I only have half knowledge about it, I’ll search for more information and get back to you.

      ➟ I’m really busy right now. I think we can talk about it later.

      ➟ This is not the right time to discuss it. Maybe we could catch up later and pick up this thread.

      Requestion the Questioner

      If the questioner is persistent and bent upon the idea of culling out the information from you, then you may use the trick of requestioning the questioner. This way, you will put the ball back into his/her court.

      ➟ I think you would know the answer better.

      ➟ I’m not able to frame my answer properly, would you help me by giving your suggestion?

      ➟ I value your suggestion more in this situation.

      ➟ If you were in the same situation, what would you do?

      ➟ If you have the answer, please elaborate, and I would definitely add my viewpoint to it.

      ➟ Why would you want to know that?

      ➟ Nice question? When did you yourself stop stealing things?

      Confuse the Questioner

      If you feel the questioner is kind of crossing the limits, and you are not so eager to let that person do it, then you may give him/her one of the below-mentioned answers and confuse him/her. I think, after he listens to these answers, he may lose interest in probing any further.

      ➟ I was there at the club at 8 p.m. with Jacob, but I’m not sure why you are getting at it. Tell me the exact point that you want to know about. Do you want to know where I was, with whom I was, or why we were together?

      ➟ I’m not sure if I could answer this question, but is there anything else I could help you with? Or, if you know a little bit about this topic, then tell me. Maybe we both could elaborate on it?

      ➟ Did you really just ask me that? And if you did, then do you think that I will answer it? Also, the way you had framed the question is too curt, so don’t feel bad, but I’m not answering it.

      It may sound silly, but try giving such answers to a close friend, and note the response. The questioner will simply be stunned and leave the topic. But the way you give a reply should not be aggressive or sound demeaning to the other person. Remember, I had written previously that you have to maintain your balance and be graceful. Be confident, assertive, and answer tactfully. It works!

      Use a Little Humor/Lightheartedness

      Using a little humor while answering questions would help a lot, because, the seriousness of the question would just dilute away. But the humor should be lighthearted, and most of the time, should be addressed to your own self. I have listed a few examples which would make your task of incorporating humor in answers a little easier.

      If somebody asks you about the amount of money you make, you could simply say:

      ➟ It is not good to discuss money with anybody apart from your spouse.

      ➟ It’s just enough to take care of my bills, rent, fuel, food, and also have a little fun.

      If you are posed with a weight gain or loss question , then reply with something like:

      ➟ I’m think I’m much happier now, and hence the weight gain.

      ➟ I feel awesome about my look, how about you?

      ➟ I started fitting in my college jeans due to the weight loss. Hey, do you still fit in your ol’ jeans?

      If someone points at you still being single, just say:

      ➟ You will be the first person to know when I find someone.

      ➟ I want to go see the world, and getting hitched would not allow me to do so.

      ➟ I like to make all married people jealous of me.

      ➟ I want to nurture my pets in a sane environment.

      ➟ I’m not giving up on love yet.

      One last tip. After the question is posed, do not answer straightaway. Be silent for a while, and use that time to think of an appropriate answer. If you still don’t want to answer, point in some random direction and say, “Whoa, he just looks like Thomas Edison!” I just intend to say, change the subject, and play with the tone of your voice correctly, because the wrong tone may portray a different mood.

      How to answer the phone politely

      Recently, I received a question about how to interrupt someone politely in English. Here was the exact problem: “How to interrupt politely? Because I was on call with Americans yesterday. I wanted to say that I was only able to stay for 40 minutes on this call. I didn’t know how to interrupt in a polite way. Any ideas?”

      Yes! I definitely have some ideas and I’m so glad I received this question because interrupting someone is certainly a delicate matter.

      Generally speaking, it’s rude to interrupt someone, right?

      But this question is a perfect example of when it’s necessary to interrupt: you’re on a phone call or in a meeting and you need to share an important message, like the need to leave early.

      There are three common reasons why it may be necessary to interrupt someone. You need or want to:

      • Share an important message
      • Ask a question or clarify something
      • Join a conversation or express your opinion on the topic

      The key is knowing how to interrupt someone politely. To help you do that, I want to share essential tips and common phrases we use in English.

      Oftentimes, delay in replying an email or total neglect of an email could be a result of procrastination or the content of the email. In such a case, you may need to politely ask for a reply to your email.

      How can you go about asking for a reply in a formal email? Is it wise or unnecessary?

      Many people get so busy that they eventually forget to reply to emails. Oftentimes, delay in replying an email or total neglect of an email could be a result of procrastination or the content of the email. In such a case, you may need to politely ask for a reply to your email.

      In well-structured organizations where they have series of reports and feedback to give, it is often observed that emails sent to such organizations do not get needed response. This could be due to the busy nature of those organizations.

      Of course, some people do reply to some or all their emails. However, many people do not end up replying their emails, even those emails in which it had been clearly stated that a reply was needed. In a situation in which the recipient of your email does not reply at all and their response is needed, you can politely ask for a reply to your email.

      Reasons To Politely Ask for a Reply in a Formal Email

      There are several reasons your recipient might delay in replying your email or neglect your email totally, forcing you to deliberately ask for a reply in a formal email. Consider the following important points carefully.

      Your Relationship with the Recipient

      This may sound awkward but it is true. Your relationship will probably affect the tone. Reciprocal relationships are natural. People naturally react to you with respect to how you relate to them and others. Are you the type that usually delays replying others? If yes, then people will naturally want to delay you too. This means you might need to politely ask your recipient for a reply in a formal email.

      However, the first thing you should do is to work on yourself. Reply to all emails that come to you. In situations where you are unable to give the needed response just acknowledge receiving the email and state when the sender’s request will be granted. For example,

      Dear Monica Smith,

      I received your email and your request will be granted by 2 pm tomorrow.

      You Probably Sent the Email to the Wrong Person

      Always ensure that the email was sent to the right email address.

      The Message was Poorly Written

      You probably wrote the message in a manner in which the recipient could not relate. The content of your mail was poorly constructed. Proofread any email you wish to send, use spell checks, check your grammar, and make sure the content of the email is simple and concise.

      Don’t Want to Ask for a Reply in a Formal Email?

      Here are simple ways in which you can write a professional email and get a reply without asking.

      Provide a Reason why your Email Should be Replied

      Most times people reply when you use the word because. There is a higher probability that your email will be replied if you provide a reason for it.

      For example, I will be happy to hear from you because the opening will lapse on Thursday night.

      Even if the reason given is absurd, you are likely to get a response.

      Keep it Short and Simple

      Internet users are always in a hurry to read and get out. Keep your emails really simple, concise, and go straight to the points. Sending too many requests in a single email is terrible, limit your requests, if possible do not make more than two requests in a single email.

      Having too many requests in an email makes it difficult for the receiver to reply. If you have to send an exhaustive message kindly state, at the beginning of the email, that your email will be lengthy. This will officially prepare the mind of the reader.

      Use Bullet Points

      If you need to write so much in an email, then put them in bullets points. Try not to waste your recipients’ time. He or she probably has more priorities than trying to figure out the meaning of what you have written. Take it one point at a time, and make your email easy to digest.

      Check Spellings

      Check how you spelled the recipient’s name and how other words were spelled. Sometimes, people get emails and sometimes never return to it due to wrong spelling and bad grammar.

      Close your Emails with an Appealing and Polite note

      The last part of the email is always the part where you show how concerned you are about the time the reader invested in reading your email, and there is no other way to prove this other than closing the email with appealing and polite words.

      For example, thank you, sir.


      Always include your signature in your emails. Your signature carries your name and contact address. Your signature helps the recipient to know who sent the email as well as where the email is from.

      Asking for a Reply in a Formal Email

      • Do not be in a haste to do a follow-up. Wait for a few days, you may wait for about two days. If you do not get a response then you can send a message reminder. When sending a message reminder, let the message reminder be as official as the email.
      • Be sure to come up with the right intention.
      • If it is urgent, say so and explain briefly why it is urgent.

      Dear Mr. Jonathan Sean,

      I am yet to get your response as regards the names sent to you for promotion. Kindly give your reply, as your response is very important to us.

      Use Polite Words to Ask for a Reply in a Formal Email

      Try to keep your cool no matter how annoying the situation may look. Try not to sound harsh, if you do the recipient may actually not reply you at all.

      Consider the Recipient’s Point of View

      You should also consider that your recipient is not idle but also involved in other activities. Send him or her a reminder that considers his or her own activities.

      Do a Follow-up

      After taking the above steps and you still do not get a response, it is time to do a follow-up. Follow up smartly. Do not follow up in a way that seems annoying. Give a time frame before you send the next follow-up email.

      How to answer the phone politely

      I once talked to a manager who shared this story: she’d been interviewing a young hiring candidate when his phone went off. He answered it, and it was his wife who wanted to wish him success at the interview. She told me she’d felt it was immature of him to pick up the call, though luckily for him she did not hold this against him when she made her decision.

      But this story made me think: did the young man do anything wrong? Or was it the right thing to do?


      • By answering the call, he was showing respect for the caller (and, since it was his wife, marital affection as well). Surely that is good?
      • By answering, he avoided potential harm related to missing an important, possibly urgent, call.


      • By answering he’d shown disrespect for the manager he was talking to – and, in this case, might have risked his interview outcome, had she been more annoyed than she was.
      • More generally, he acted rudely. Or did he?

      Behavior in these situations is morphing rapidly. A few decades ago it would have been unthinkable for an interviewee to give the interviewer any less than full attention. Of course back then we were not all living in a flood of interruptions and distractions from our digital devices. Today people answer their phones – for voice calls and for countless apps and social networks – all the time.

      What is needed is an accepted etiquette – a set of widely known norms that regulate our responses to the ringing phone. But what should these norms be?

      Before we discuss this, we need to remember some established facts (established by ample research, that is).

      • Any interruption – even a ringing phone that you decide to ignore – has a seriously adverse impact on your mental processing. It drives down concentration and creativity, raises error levels, and impacts productivity at whatever you’re doing – including forging an effective relationship with the person you’re trying to talk to.
      • A phone call (or WhatsApp conversation) that you actually do reply to derails the conversation you’re having, and for longer than it lasts in itself – your brain, and the other person’s too, need time to recover the “thread of thought” and to reach peak efficiency again – which can take long minutes.

      In other words, picking up that call is not a “victimless crime”; it creates significant damage to what you were trying to do. And that’s on top of offending the other person.

      Given all this harm, it seems appropriate to edict a norm that forbids answering a phone during a conversation; but of course it is much too late for that. People are so addicted to their cellphones that they won’t go with such an edict. We need to think of more subtle norms.

      Here are some thoughts:

      • When entering a more or less formal situation – an interview, a lecture, a performance review – put the phone on vibrate. Silent is better but vibrate will do.
      • When you switch the device to vibrate, explain why you’re doing so. If you expect a truly urgent call, or need to be prepared for an unexpected one, say so – “I’m keeping this on vibrate because I expect a call from my child’s doctor”, or whatever. This shows you would prefer to switch off but can’t, and preempts offense when the call comes.
      • When the device does vibrate, you may glance at it to see who’s calling, then do one of two things: ignore it, or reply. Make your choice obvious to the other person in either case: if you ignore the call, say “it can wait” (showing the other that you value them more); if you need to answer, apologize in a way that shows you’re truly sorry but can’t help it. Either way, you acknowledge the other’s existence and preempt their potential offense.
      • Keep in mind the context. The harm of the interruption to mental processes applies to all cohorts, but the offense is generation-dependent; in particular, a younger millennial – like in the case my friend cited – would offend a baby boomer but not a fellow millennial. And interrupting a job interview is riskier than breaking a casual conversation.
      • If a call comes in that you must pick up, consider excusing yourself out of the room, or to a far corner. This is the lesser of two evils.
      • Don’t hesitate to tell the caller, while in the other party’s hearing, “is this really urgent? I’m in a meeting with people”. Demonstrate you’re trying to minimize the interruption.
      • When done with the call, apologize briefly again: “Sorry about that”.

      What is common to all these is that you are not being casual about answering calls during the conversation; you make it clear to the other party that you’re aware it’s a problem, will only do it if you have no alternative, and are feeling the guilt. It will do wonders for the other person’s perception of you!

      Although most German business people speak English, your German counterpart will be impressed if you attempt to speak a little of their language. Read below to find out how to introduce yourself, ask for someone on the phone, ask politely to switch to English, and say goodbye.


      When you call a business in Germany, they will commonly state the company name before their own name when answering. Also they will only state their last name. Lastly, they will state a greeting such as Guten Tag (good day). For example, if you were to call the CEO of Volkswagen, Matthias Müller, he might say: “Volkswagen, Müller, Guten Tag.”

      Similarly if someone calls you from Germany you should state who you are upon answering the line. For example, identify yourself by saying hier spricht [last name], which means “[name] speaking.”

      Formal address: Sie, not du

      In German both Sie and du mean “you.” It is formal and polite to always use Sie unless your German counterpart refers to you with the more familiar du. Remember that using du is like saying “hey you.”

      Asking to speak to someone in particular:

      English Phrase German Translation
      Hello, could I please speak to Mr./Mrs.___? Guten Tag, kann ich bitte mit Herrn/Frau___ sprechen?
      Hello, am I speaking to Mr./Mrs.___? Guten Tag, spreche ich mit Herrn/Frau ___?
      Speaking Am Apparat
      Sorry, Mr./Mrs./Miss . is currently not in the office Leider ist Herr/Frau . zur Zeit nicht im Bϋro
      He/She is in a meeting at the moment Er/Sie ist zur Zeit in einem Meeting
      Would you like to leave a message Möchten Sie eine Nachricht hinterlassen?
      I am calling on behalf of . Ich rufe im Auftrag von . an
      Just a second please Einen kleinen Augenblick bitte
      Hold the line please Bleiben Sie bitte dran
      I will put you through Ich stelle Sie durch
      Would you like him/her to call you back? Soll er/sie Sie zurϋckrufen?
      What time should I/he/she call you back? Wann soll ich/er/sie Sie zurϋck rufen?
      Sorry, but I think you have the wrong number Entschuldigung, aber ich glaube Sie sind hier falsch

      Explaining problems of understanding:

      English Phrase German Translation
      Could you please speak a little slower? Können Sie bitte etwas langsamer sprechen?
      Could you repeat that, please? Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?
      Could you spell that, please? Können Sie das bitte buchstabieren?
      I’m sorry. I only speak a little German. Verzeihung. Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch.

      How to politely ask to switch to English:

      English Phrase German Translation
      Do you mind if we continue speaking in English? Macht es Ihnen/Dir etwas aus, wenn wir in Englisch weitersprechen?
      Would it be a problem for you if we switch to English? Wäre es ein Problem für Sie, wenn wir ins Englische wechseln?
      Is it possible that we talk in English? Ist es möglich, dass wir uns auf Englisch unterhalten?

      Saying goodbye:

      English Phrase German Translation
      Thank you very much for your help Vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe
      Until next time Auf wiederhören

      Formal business calls have a language of their own. For example, it is inappropriate to say auf Wiedersehen on the phone. That greeting literally means “until we see each other again,” but you don’t see people on the phone. This is why the formal goodbye on a business call is auf Wiederhören (until we hear each other again).

      Another way to impress your German counterpart is to use Veem. Veem uses a multi-rail system to make international wire transfers that are insured, safe, fast, and as easy as sending an email.

      Want to improve this question? Update the question so it can be answered with facts and citations by editing this post.

      Closed 4 years ago .

      In case I’ve received a call and I don’t know the caller I want to politely ask the name of the caller. What should I say in this situation?

      How to answer the phone politely

      How to answer the phone politely

      2 Answers 2

      To whom am I speaking?

      With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?

      Who’s calling, please?

      If the call is for someone else:

      Who may I say is calling?

      How to answer the phone politely

      I would appreciate if you can tell me your name again.

      How to answer the phone politely

      Not the answer you’re looking for? Browse other questions tagged phrases telephone or ask your own question.


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      Prepare yourself for the 21st century by learning valuable office skills that will prepare you for the skills needed for entry level and advanced positions in business.

      How to answer the phone politely

      Having basic phone skills such as answering the phone in a professional manner and greeting the customer is important, but knowing how to speak properly, listen to your customers, express empathy and maintain a positive attitude through-out the day will be key to your success as a Customer Service Representative or Office Professional. Below are 6 basic skills that will help ensure your caller is completely satisfied with the service they receive and that they hang up with a positive impression of your company.

      1. Prepare for the Call

      It’s important that you learn the features of your office phone system prior to handling calls as you do not want to practice on the customer. Most companies will provide basic training on how to use their phone system or pair you up with a more experienced person who can explain the features to you. It’s important to practice these features until they become second nature to you. If you’re using a microphone, hold it directly in front of your mouth. Save your eating and drinking, except for water, for break-time so you’re focused only on answering the call. Make sure you are sitting comfortably and have a note pad handy so you can take notes as you listen, to capture key points of the call.

      2. Greet the Caller

      How to answer the phone politelyYou only get one chance to make a good impression, so formulating your initial greeting when answering the company telephone is critical. Remember, you are the first voice they hear when they contact your company. If your greeting is friendly and professional, the caller will begin to form a favorable and positive opinion of the company. If your greeting is unpolished and unfriendly, callers will form a negative opinion of your company.

      Experts agree that the following initial greeting will make your customers feel welcome and appreciated:

      1. Greet the caller in a friendly and enthusiastic manner such as “Good morning or good afternoon”.
      2. State your company name. For example, “This is Office Skills Training”.
      3. Introduce yourself to the caller. For example “This is Mae Smith”.
      4. Offer your help. For example, “how may I help you”

      Example” “Good morning. This is Office Skills Training, Mae Smith speaking. How may I help you?”

      Don’t forget to smile before you answer the phone as this will be reflected in your tone of voice and will be great for maintaining a positive attitude, not only during the call but through-out the whole day.

      3. Listen Carefully

      Actively listening and actually comprehending what the customer is saying is a skill that can be developed with proper training and practice. Give your full attention to what the customer is saying. Take the time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate. Do not interrupt the caller at inappropriate times.

      4. Speak Clearly

      When talking over the phone, you’re unable to rely on the nonverbal expressions that are so important in face to face conversations. Therefore, speaking clearly and in an upbeat, positive and enthusiastic tone is extremely important at all times. Do not speak too fast as the caller may not be able to hear you. Remember to vary your tone of voice as this adds emphasis to what you’re trying to convey to the customer.

      Your job is to be courteous, cheerful, polite, able and willing to show empathy to callers. Never argue with customers, rush them through a call or otherwise provide poor service.

      5. Keep a Positive Attitude

      Maintaining a positive attitude, both in person and on the telephone, is very important in the Customer Service profession. A positive attitude is the key to your success in your job and experts agree that maintaining a positive attitude is a choice you can make on a daily basis. While you may not have any control over many things that happen in life, you can, in fact, control your attitude by incorporating some of the following positive choices into your daily work life:

        and smile while talking to your customers. Your attitude isn’t just reflected in your tone of voice but also in the way you look, stand or sit and in your facial expressions. You’ll find that your attitude towards customers may influence your own behavior as it’s hard to hide a negative attitude.
      • Be Friendly and courteous to all callers at all times. Remember that you are representing your company and first impressions count.
      • Try to reflect on your pleasant customer experiences through-out the day and not on the unpleasant, negative ones. You’ll be amazed at how much this will improve your attitude.
      • If you encounter an assertive, angry, upset customer, don’t allow your attitude to slip and become negative. Take a moment to reflect on how this impacts your attitude and then make a choice to retain a positive attitude as this will make the rest of your day much happier.

      6. End the Call Professionally

      Ending the call is just as important as the initial caller greeting as this is your last opportunity to make sure the caller is completely satisfied with the service they received and that they hang up with a positive impression of your company. Here are some tips:

      If you want to be more formal or polite, you can say, “Could you tell me the number for the library?” Your question should be ‘How do you ask FOR a telephone number in English?’ You ask a question, you ‘ask for’ something that you need. And I agree that the most normal expression is the number ‘for’ a place or person.

      What do you do when a customer asks for your number?

      When A Guy Asks For Your Number, Here Are 6 Simple, Polite Ways To Turn Him DownThe Direct Approach. Thanks, but I’m not interested.” Tell Them It’s Just Bad Timing. Stranger Danger. Offer An Alternative. Keep Your Tone Casual. Give It Up To Google.

      How do you ask customer service questions?

      7 questions to ask your customers while solving a phone support…#1: Solve your customer’s issue or question (obviously) How can I help you? #2: Dig a little bit deeper. #3: Understand the usage of your product. #4: Ask for features feedback. #5: Ask if they would refer you (and if not, why) #6: Build a community. #7: Rate your customer overall satisfaction.

      How do you ask who is calling professionally?

      Say “Hello, this is (name)” to let people know who you are. If you answer the phone and the caller doesn’t give his name, you can say “May I ask who’s calling, please?”.

      How do I ask for contact details?

      Polite phrase to ask for details [closed]Could you please give me the details?Could I please get the details?May I please get the details?Do you mind if I get the details?

      How do you write a formal email asking for information?

      Fortunately, the structure of a formal email of request is very simple:You start the email or letter by explaining what you are writing about (the topic/subject) and what the email’s purpose is (i.e. you want to ask them some questions or for something).Then in the next section, you ask them the questions or requests.

      How do you politely ask?

      Here are some tips on asking for favors:Be direct but polite. Don’t make it sound bad. Avoid guilt. Don’t cross the line. Show respect. Avoid constant one-sided favors. Be personal but straightforward. Take “No” for an answer.

      Can I get your phone number?

      For every Android phone, regardless of manufacturer, you’ll be able to find your phone number if you go to Settings > About Phone or About Device > Status > My phone number. Some Android phones will have SIM or SIM card status listed within Status.

      How can I get my old phone number?

      It possible to get back your number if it is still disconnected and someone does not own this number. Just you have to fill up an application against it. Visit your nearest mobile SIM operator centre and tell them. They will help you to get back your mobile number.

      Ending a call politely should always be your goal, whether it’s a routine call, a long winded caller on the other line or an upset customer who is becoming aggressive.

      Ending a call politely is easy enough when it’s a routine call – once the matter is resolved, a simple “Is there anything else I can assist you with today?” and a friendly sign-off are all it takes to end the call politely.

      But what about the more difficult scenarios, when the caller doesn’t necessarily want to end the call but is eating up your time for other customers? When the caller is shouting at you and refuses to calm down enough to look for a solution? That’s when ending a call politely becomes a challenge.

      This post will help you navigate the uncertain waters of ending a call politely when the caller isn’t quite being polite.

      Ending a Call Politely

      Don’t wait for a window – create a window

      If your caller is particularly long-winded and is eating up your time after being assisted, it’s your job to know how to politely end the call without letting on that you’re not so much hanging up as escaping the conversation.

      In this scenario, don’t wait for a window to escape – create a window by carefully choosing your words.

      How to answer the phone politely

      Some ways to escape a long-winded conversation politely:

      “Listen to me, rambling on. I get off track when talking about (__), you’ll have to excuse me! Thanks so much for your call, glad we got that resolved. If that’s everything, have a wonderful day!”

      “It’s been great getting a chance to chat with you, (name)! If there’s anything else we can help you with, just give us a call. Thank you and enjoy your afternoon!”

      “Thank you again for letting us know about that. I just noticed that my call queue is starting to stack up – is there anything else I can help with before I go?”

      “You know, I’ve enjoyed talking to you so much that I didn’t realize I’d kept you on the phone for almost 20 minutes! So sorry. It was great chatting with you and I’m happy we found a solution that worked. Have a great day!”

      Act according to policy

      You should have some sort of policy in place that tells employees what to do when they are met with harassment, aggression, or threats on the phone. Act according to your company’s policy, and if one does not exist, create a temporary policy for yourself.

      We recommend ending the exchange immediately if a caller is continuing to threaten you, shout at you, curse, harass, or otherwise intimidate you – after you’ve given the caller one or two verbal warnings.

      Don’t hang up the moment a caller raises his or her voice, calls you a name, drops the F-bomb or insults the company. Let the caller know you’re bound to act according to company policy and that you will be forced to hang up if they continue their behavior.

      How to answer the phone politely

      Last week I conducted a phone interview that left me feeling extremely uncomfortable. I was calling this man for research help for a book I’m working on, and within the first ten seconds of the call, he interrupts me to ask me where my name is from. I barely even had time to thank him for speaking to me before he started explaining how he had never heard of “Saxena” before and how it sounds so “exotic,” that he just simply had to know its origins.

      Ask anyone with a “weird” (aka non-white) name or look, and they will have a million stories like this, either endlessly being asked where they are from (and getting the “no, where are you really from?” when “New Jersey” isn’t an acceptable answer), questions about “exotic” names, or people just assuming they know where you’re from based on your brown-ish skin color. More than once I’ve had people start speaking a different language to me–Spanish, Hebrew, Greek–and was then made to apologize to them when I revealed that, sorry, I’m not Israeli.

      A lot of biracial, non-white, and otherwise “ethnically ambiguous” people are, rightly, fed up with dealing with this and refuse to answer those sorts of questions. Quite a few times I’ve refused too, but after telling another non-white friend about this latest incident, she asked me the honest question, “is there any context in which a question like this is okay?” I think there is! I understand that, despite my name being incredibly common in India, most Americans have likely not heard it, just like I’ve likely not heard most names from other places around the world. It’s natural to be curious about people’s backgrounds, and I think there are ways to talk about it without coming off as an intrusive asshole. It just requires some finesse.

      By the way, most of this is written with the assumption that it’s a white person asking a non-white person about their ethnicity. Not that other variants of this don’t happen, but ask around–white people tend to be the ones messing up here. This is what it looks like most of the time.

      1. Ask yourself why you need to know. One of the most frustrating things about being asked questions like this all the time is having the experience of being asked, answering, and then watching the person walk away once they’ve gotten their information. Seriously, multiple times I’ve had strangers walk up to me, demand “What are you?,” and leave once I’ve panicked and responded something about my Indian heritage. Do you care because this person seems like a new friend and you want to get to know them better? Are you trying to hit on someone and think this is a good way to break the ice (it’s not)? Did you just see a person who doesn’t look white and want to know why? Would knowing someone’s racial background change how you think of them, and how you interact with them? Dig deep.

      2. Understand that you have no right to know. You have every right in the world to ask someone about their name, ethnicity, and country of origin, and they have every right not to answer you, and to call you an asshole. “What’s the matter?” you may be asking, “I’d have no problem talking about my great-great-grandfather who moved here from Scotland if someone asked me.” That’s because having a great-great-grandfather from Scotland is the standard in this country, and I’m speaking as someone who also has great-x-5 ancestors from Scotland. Questions about a white person’s ethnicity rarely result in questions of their belonging, of their right to be where they are. No one asks where you’re “really” from, because the assumption is that it’s here. Most non-white people have at least one story about being asked where they’re “really” from, and then being angrily told to return.

      3. Do not open a conversation with this question. If there are no other rules you remember, remember this one. No one likes feeling accosted for personal information, no matter what it is. Walking up to a stranger and demanding to know their racial makeup is incredibly invasive, so if you need to ask, have a decent conversation going first.

      4. Think about your relationship to the person you’re asking. I really enjoy talking to all my friends about our various backgrounds. Ancestry and genealogy interest me, so these types of conversations come up all the time in really great ways. However, since they’re my friends, there’s an understanding that they’re interested in and care about me as more than a racial curiosity. I don’t have that trust with a stranger at a bar, or even someone I’ve met once or twice.

      5. If you need to ask, make it about your own ignorance. And maybe about names instead of skin color. There’s a big tonal difference between a “What the hell name is that?” and “Wow, I’ve never heard that name before, where is it from?” The former makes the person being asked the weird one for having such a “strange” name, and the latter makes it clear the asker knows they’re ignorant. Most productive, polite conversations I’ve had about my race with someone who didn’t know started with a question like that, in which I could respond that it’s an Indian name, and then we get into a conversation about my heritage. Nothing like that has ever come out of being asked “Wow, why do you look so ethnic?”

      6. Be willing to answer every question you ask. Like I said before, these questions have different connotations and consequences when your answer is “we moved from England to Pennsylvania in the 1700s,” but unless you’re willing to dive into your family’s history, don’t ask anyone else about theirs.

      7. Read the conversation. Obviously this etiquette advice is apt in any conversation, but especially in ones with “tricky” subjects like this. Is the person excitedly responding to you, or are they trying to change the subject? Do they seem uncomfortable and slow to answer your questions? Make yourself pay attention to things like this, and apologize if you get the sense that you’re coming off as intrusive.

      How to answer the phone politely

      If you’re caught on the phone with a long-winded colleague or customer, what should have been a quick, simple phone call can take a big chunk out of your day. Rather than trying to multitask while the caller rambles on, you should employ some tactful techniques to end the call as quickly as possible without sacrificing courtesy or departing from basic etiquette. Once you have taken care of the business at hand, you can make a graceful and polite exit from the call.

      Focus on the issue at hand. Keep the conversation centered on the purpose for the call and avoid drifting off into small talk. If the person you are talking to begins to veer off to an unrelated topic, gently steer him back to more relevant issues. Don’t be afraid to be forward when doing this. If the person you are speaking with drifts to another topic, bring it back by saying, “But about…” and mention the main point again. This will let the caller know that the subject at hand is the most important thing. Also mention that you “don’t want to take up too much of his time.” This is a stern, but polite, way of keeping a phone call on track.

      Ask closed-ended questions so there can be no drifting from the main topic. Rather than asking what a good time to meet is, ask, “Will 10 a.m. be a good time to meet?” Closed questions will only have a set number of answers, two or three at the most, and this will keep the conversation specific to the subject at hand.

      Sum up the phone call to ensure that you have taken care of everything. Reiterate the issue and how it is being handled. A quick, “I’ll pull up that information and get a report to you by the end of the day,” reinforces that everything has been taken care of.

      Ask if there’s anything else you can do to help, or any other matters on the topic that need to be discussed. Once again, reinforce the purpose for the call and don’t veer off into other topics. Use phrases such as “So, does this solve your problem with the expense report?,” or “Is there anything else I can include in this package for you?” As your call reaches its conclusion, the person on the other end will likely admit that, no, there isn’t anything else on that topic to discuss.

      Thank the caller for his time, or for calling (depending on who initiated the call). Let him know that you will follow up in whatever way is appropriate to the situation. Use a quick “Have a nice day” or “Thanks for calling” to end the call. Avoid lengthy goodbyes during which you exchange too many pleasantries.

      If you know a particular coworker has a tendency to talk too long, send an email whenever possible to address issues or ask questions.

      When declining a job interview, it’s important to do it ASAP to be respectful of the employer’s time and priorities.

      Stepping aside will allow another candidate to take your place. You can give a reason, but details are not required, and certainly, do not criticize the employer as a reason for declining. From your point of view, this is a long term relationship that may come to bear some time in the future.

      The same company may have a different position open that you would love to interview for, or the hiring manager might move to another company that you would love to work for, etc.

      If you do like the company and would be interested in working there at a future date and/or in a different role, make sure to say that too. Lastly, don’t forget to thank the person for the opportunity and for their time.

      Sample Email Declining an Interview Invitation

      Dear Hiring Manager,

      Thank you for considering me for the position. However, I have accepted another offer that is more in line with the work that I hope to do, and must regretfully withdraw my application.

      Please keep me in mind in for future positions. I have followed your company for many years and have been continuously impressed with its fast growth. It is my hope that I can work with you at a later date, in a role that better aligns with my goals. I would be especially interested in positions in your project management department and have been working to develop my career in that direction.

      Again, thank you for your time and the opportunity.

      A sample script for declining a job interview by phone

      There is a reason why email is so popular. It allows you to craft the perfect response and won’t put you on the spot like a live phone conversation. However, when declining an invitation, taking the time to call may be more courteous and leave a better impression than an email.

      When opting for the latter, it is important to have some talking points ready. Here’s how I would approach it:

      “Hi Joe, this is Henry regarding the XYZ position. I just wanted to call and let you know that I’ll be declining the interview I was recently offered. I’ve decided to [remain in my current position for the time being/go back to school/change industries/etc.].

      I really appreciate your taking the time to consider me.”

      Your goal is not to burn any bridges. Be polite, concise, and humble. They may press for reasons why you are declining their invitation. Be prepared for this, and if there is anything that may change your mind, have that ready too. If it’s respectfully communicated, there is nothing wrong with stating your price. You could say something along the lines of:

      “I really like your company and the position, but the salary posted is less than what I am currently earning. I understand it may not be doable, but I would like to have a salary of $____ in order to consider it.”

      If this is a company you’d like to work for in a different position, don’t be afraid to share that either. This could lead to another, more appropriate opportunity.

      “I would be really interested in a(n) [outside sales/credit manager] position as I’ve been working to grow in that direction. If something like this becomes available in the future and you think I could be a good fit, I would love to reconnect.”

      An email template for declining a job interview due to location

      Location is a common reason for job seekers to decline interviews. If the position is for a bigger company, you may want to indicate your interest in working at a closer location. While you may not be considered right away, they will at least keep your information on file should a more appropriate opportunity arises.

      Thank you for considering me for the ABC position. I appreciate the opportunity to interview with you, but unfortunately, I have to withdraw my application. After considering the details of the job, I think the daily commute would be too difficult for me. I would be happy to be considered for a position at the Kingston location, but Toronto is too far for me right now.

      Alternatively, if your policy around remote work changes, I would be interested in being considered for a similar position then.

      If there is anything that could change your mind, don’t be afraid to state it here. For the right employee, companies (if they have the ability) are usually open to negotiating relocation packages. There is nothing wrong with respectfully spelling out what would interest you.

      The best result is that they would work with you to make the offer more attractive. If not, they would at least keep you in mind for future openings.