English on the phone (Part 3)

How to create a perfect first impression: English on the phone (Part 3)

Wir präsentieren in Zusammenarbeit mit dem „English Teacher Training College and Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi)“ regelmäßig kurze Business Englisch-Übungen. Die Übungen werden von Native Speakern der ABCi zusammengestellt.

Congratulations, if you have followed this series you are a total pro at answering the phone and transferring calls! Now it’s time for one of our ABCi staff, a former receptionist for an international corporation, to share her secrets. Today’s question: How to handle a call yourself?

How to get rid of unsolicited offers.

Unsolicited – another word for unwanted – offers are part of office life just as much as coffee and swivel chairs. They often come in the disguise of “May I speak to your purchasing/marketing department” or even “may I speak to your CEO”. Just be polite, but don’t get involved. A simple question, “May I ask what this is regarding?” , usually reveals the real purpose of their call. If you are sure the product or service is irrelevant, you could say, “We appreciate the offer, but we already work with a supplier we are very happy with. Thank you for your call!” . If you are unsure, just be vague: “I see. Unfortunately I don’t have a telephone contact for you, but perhaps you could send me more information to our office email address. If this is interesting for us, we will get back in touch with you.”

How to get the message across – and make sure it stays there.

Your time is valuable, so communicate clearly and help the caller take notes. “Would you like to write this down?” or “Do you have pen and paper ready?” are useful phrases before you start spelling email addresses or phone numbers.

How to spell “Oachkatzlschwoaf”.

Just kidding. Or are we? Once you know your spelling, you will be able to pass on any information, names and email addresses in a professional manner. The international spelling alphabet is slightly different to the Austrian one. Check out this table on the ABCi blog, and if you need it a lot, it may be useful to keep a printed copy on your desk: www.abci-english.at/blog/2017/06/the-nato-phonetic-alphabet-or-how-to-spell-oachkatzlschwoaf-in-english/

How to expect the unexpected.

It happens to the best of us: the moment when someone calls about something and you have no idea what they are talking about. No worries! If you are a comfortable multi-tasker who can search information while engaging in some pleasant small talk, that is great. But if you need time to get away from your desk and ask a colleague, or simply to concentrate and find the relevant information, you can always ask for some space.

“Unfortunately I’m not aware of this. But I will be happy to find out more for you. If you don’t mind waiting for a few moments?”

“Is it all right if I put you on hold for a moment? I just need to ask a colleague about this.”

“Are you all right to hold the line while I find more information?”

Das „English Teacher Training College and Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi)“ ist eine Non-Profit-Organisation mit Hauptsitz in Vorchdorf in Oberösterreich, der 2011 von einem Amerikaner und einem Australier gegründet wurde. Ziel ist es, eine Ausbildungsplattform für Englischlehrer aus der ganzen Welt zu sein und damit gleichzeitig das Sprachenlernen und den Kulturaustausch zwischen englischsprachigen Ländern und Österreich zu fördern. ABCI vermittelt angehende Lehrer von englischsprachigen Ländern in österreichische Klassenzimmer für Projekte mit den Kindern und will bis zum Jahr 2020 jedes Schulkind in Österreich durch einen englischsprachigen Native Speaker unterrichtet haben.

Daneben werden auch für Erwachsene Mitgliedschaften und Englischkurse durch Native Speaker angeboten. Teilnehmer seien großteils Berufstätige, die sich neu orientieren wollen, sowie selbstständige Unternehmer, die sich verstärkt mit einem internationalen Publikum verständigen möchten. Die Kurse finden an den drei Ausbildungsstandorten Vorchdorf (OÖ), Pressbaum (NÖ) und Frantschach (Kärnten) statt. Nähere Infos auch auf der Website unter: www.abci-english.at