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October 8, 2005

Telephone calls

For many non-native English speakers, making telephone calls can be a difficult experience, especially in business situations. One of the main reasons for this is that people usually rely on visual cues when speaking in a foreign language – facial expressions, hand gestures, etc. On the telephone, however, we cannot see the person we are talking to and cannot 'read' the other person's emotions. In this case, listening becomes much more difficult.

So what can be done to make telephone calls easier?

As with most situations, knowing who you are talking to and what you are supposed to be talking about is important. The more information you have in advance...

Keep in mind however that telephone calls never follow a set script. By this, I mean that students often make the mistake of memorizing a set of expressions, but freeze up when asked something unexpected. Be ready for the unexpected.

Remember to speak slowly and clearly.

Posted by Marcus at October 8, 2005 1:53 PM

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