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Helpful tips for being courteous on the phone

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Speaking on the phone

 

A lot of people find it difficult to make phone calls in a foreign language – and that’s understandable. You can’t see the person you are talking to, their voice might be unclear, and you might find it difficult to find the right words.

Most of the important characteristics of telephone conversation are of course exactly the same as those of conversation which takes place face to face. There are, however, a number of differences which result from the medium of communication and the restrictions which it imposes. Conversationalists who can see each other are able to place a great amount of reliance on the facilities offered by such things as gesture and the presence of a common extra-linguistic context, to help in communication and the resolution of ambiguity. Telephone conversation, however, lacks these facilities to a large extent and so has a tendency to become rather more explicit than ordinary conversation.

The need for greater explicitness is further increased by the fact that sounds carried by telephone lines become diminished in their qualities of distinctiveness, and many of the small cues which help to maintain ready understanding may get distorted or lost. Thus there is more uncertainty in keeping up the give and take between participants which is so noticeable a part of face to conversation. Utterances that are unduly long will be avoided and a speaker will tend to leave frequent pauses for his partner to say something and prove that he is still there.

Finally, the highly formulaic nature of both the opening and closing of a telephone conversation may be noted – the range of accepted linguistic devices for carrying out these operations is relatively small as compared with conversation in general, the predictability of what is likely to be said at those points is probably considerably higher and the stylistic distinctiveness of what takes place is at times extremely marked.

Helpful tips for being courteous on the phone

- Use polite language to show you are really interested in conversation. With … “Would you like?” … you ask the same question as with … “Do you want?” … but in a more polite and friendly way.

- Use the caller’s name throughout the conversation. This makes people feel special and helps build rapport.

- Show you are serious about taking care of the caller’s request with your good listening skills and dependable follow-through.

- If you don’t understand the caller ask him/her politely to say that again or more slowly. You want to be sure you understand so that you can deal with the caller efficiently.

At the end of the conversation, don’t forget to thank the caller. A simple phrase like … “We appreciate your business” … or … “Thank you for calling” … leaves a positive impression after a phone call.

 

(Abridged from Can You Speak Over the Telephone. - http://lib/rus/ec/b/241511/read)

A-Z
Vocabulary Study

 

 

medium способ, средство
restriction ограничение
impose налагать (ограничения, штраф)
conversationalist собеседник
place reliance on smb./smth надеяться на кого-л./что-л
facilities средства обслуживания, удобства, приспособления
extra-linguistic context экстралингвистическая информация (не содержащаяся непосредственно в тексте)
resolution разрешение (проблемы и т. п.)
ambiguity неопределённость, неясность
lack не хватать, недоставать
to a large extent в значительной степени
explicit определенный, точный
sound звук
diminished уменьшенный; ослабленный
distinctiveness отчетливость, ясность
cue сигнал, подсказка
distorted искаженный
utterance высказывание
unduly чрезмерно
formulaic стереотипный, шаблонный
note упоминать, отмечать
range ассортимент, перечень
carry out выполнять, делать
predictability предсказуемость
courteous вежливый, обходительный
rapport взаимопонимание
dependable надежный; заслуживающий доверия
follow-through выполнение, доведение до конца

2. How well do you deal with the people on the phone? Answer the questions below for yourself, then compare your answers with your classmates:

How often do you …



· Forget the caller’s name during a phone call?

· Exchange a bit of small talk with the caller?

· Have to ask to repeat the information?

· Forget who you put on hold?

· Take notes during the phone call?

· Have trouble remembering the details of the call after you put down the receiver?

3. Read and translate the text. Study the phrasal verbs in bold and give their Russian equivalents:

 


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