4 tips for talking on the phone in English

Learning Feb 13, 2023

Do phone conversationsin English, scare or intimidate you? If you answered yes to this question, then don’t worry. 

Many English learners, of all different levels, sometimes have trouble talking on the phone in English. Not being able to see the person’s facial reactions and only relying on their tone of voice is what makes phone calls intimidating and sometimes difficult, but you shouldn’t let that stop you! 

Making and taking phone calls is a great way to practice your English speaking and listening skills

Here are 4 tips you can use to help build your phone call confidence:

1)Be prepared


Maybe you are expecting a call? Or maybe you are expected to make a call? Both these situations can be intimidating, especially for someone who is still learning English

The best way to beat those intimidating feelings is by simply being prepared. What does this mean? Before the phone call happens the best thing, you can do is to jot down some questions as well as phrases that you could use.

2)Practice the call before it happens


I know this tip might sound a bit silly, BUT I guarantee it helps. Sometimes having some questions and phrases already prepared isn’t enough on its own. Practicing using these questions and phrases during the fake phone call will help boost your confidence when the real phone call happens.

If you don’t want to practice the fake phone call on your own, then you can always ask someone who is a native English speaker to help you.

Phone calls can sometimes be unpredictable because you never know what the other person could say or ask. That is why it is helpful to practice!

   3)Practice your listening skills


When you are talking to someone on the phone you cannot see how the person feels or how they react. That is why you should regularly practice your listening skills. When making or taking a phone call you are completely reliant on your listening skills. Podcasts are great tools to use to practice listening. 

However, if you’re someone who doesn’t like listening to podcasts, then you can always practice your listening skills with a friend.

4)DON’T do this during a phone call


Now that you have an idea of what to do, let me give you some advice on what not to do.

  • DON’T think too hard about what you are going to say after the other person has spoken. Why? Because this will cause you to lose focus and then you might end up missing important information.
  • DON’T scroll on your phone, watch TV, or do something that will distract you from listening to what the other person has to say.
  • DON’T interrupt the other person while they are talking.
  • DON’T speak too loudly or too softly. Speak in a clear and understandable way that is loud enough for the other person to hear and understand you.

 DON’T eat or drink during the phone call. Eating or drinking sounds can be unpleasant and off-putting.

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