Making Arrangements

Ms. Carol Johns received an order of a new web design from Mr.Vladimir Kovarik, CEO of Top Publisher in Prague, and she delegated Mr. Simon Wells from the Web Design Office to deal with it.

Mr. Wells tried to contact Mr. Kovarik by phone. Unfortunately, he was not very successful and spoke only with his assistant, Ms. Pavla Svobodova. Notice some phrases typical of similar situations.

Ms. Svobodova: Top Publisher, Pavla Svobodova speaking. How can I help you?

Mr. Wells: Hello, can I speak to Mr. Kovarik, please?

Ms. Svobodova: Excuse me, who is calling?

Mr. Wells: This is Simon Wells from New Mail, London.

Ms. Svobodova: Oh yes, please hold and I’ll put you through.

Ms. Svobodova: I’m sorry, but he is apparently out of the office now. Would you like to leave a message?

Mr. Wells: I need to talk to him on an urgent matter. When do you expect him back in the office?

Ms. Svobodova: Let me see… He’s in a meeting from 2 to 3 p.m. and seeing a client from 5 to 6. So the best time to call back would be between 3 and 5.

Mr. Wells: All right, I’ll call later. Thank you very much.

Ms. Svobodova: You’re welcome.

Later on, Mr. Wells called back and now reached Mr. Kovarik directly. The aim of their discussion was to arrange a meeting in Prague.

Mr. Kovarik: Good morning, Vladimir Kovarik speaking. How can I help you?

Mr. Wells: Good morning, Mr. Kovarik. This is Simon Wells from New Mail Web Design Office. I’m calling about your email regarding your website renewal.

Mr. Kovarik: Oh, hello, yes, thank you for calling so quickly.

Mr. Wells: I’m actually going to Prague next week so perhaps we could meet and discuss your ideas.

Mr. Kovarik: That would be great. What would be the best time for you?

Mr. Wells: Well…, let’s say Tuesday 3 p.m.?

Mr. Kovarik: I’m afraid I can’t make it then, I’m holding an important staff meeting on Tuesday afternoon and then I must be off to see one of our corporate partners.

Mr. Wells: Never mind. What about Thursday in the morning? Would that suit you better?

Mr. Kovarik: Let me see… Yes, that would be fine. I’m seeing someone in the morning, but I’ll certainly be available from 9.30.

Mr. Wells: Fine, let’s make it Thursday at 9.30 then.

Mr. Kovarik: Great. I’ll ask my assistant to send you detailed information on venue and transport practicalities. May I ask you for your email address, please?

Mr. Wells: Oh, that’d be great, thanks. My email is SWells@web_new-mail.com.uk; i.e. SWell all one word, capital s, w, at web, underscore, new, hyphen, mail, dot com, u, k.

Mr. Kovarik: I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get the other part, could you speak up a bit, please? Or maybe the line is bad. Was it web, dot, new, underscore…?

Mr. Wells: Actually, it is web, underscore, new, hyphen, mail, dot com, u, k.

Mr. Kovarik: … underscore, new, hyphen… Right, thank you very much. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Mr. Wells: I think that’s all for now. Thank you very much for you time.

Notice also the polite tone of Mr. Kovarik and Mr. Wells’ phone call, it is really important especially in the English speaking professional world. So you can find here frequent use of modal verbs may, could, would etc., or words such as please and thank you. Remember that polite language tends to be rather indirect, consider phrases such I’m afraid…, Would you mind if I called you later… etc.

When asking for the email address, Mr. Kovarik could have phrased his question for example also in this way: I was wandering if you could possibly give me your email address. It is a rather extreme example of formal language, but it gives us an idea how to formulate polite requests.

Points to remember

Speaking of the email address, let us summarise how to dictate it. Here is Mr. Wells’ email address again, plus how he named its individual components.

SWells@web_new-mail.com.uk

SWelss

all one word

S

capital (uppercase) s

e

small (lowercase) e

@

at

_

underscore

hyphen

.

dot

We could also see that it was not exactly easy for Mr. Kovarik to note the address down. However, he was not afraid to stop Mr. Wells, ask him to speak louder and say it again. When he was listening second time, he repeated the components he was not sure about, so that Mr. Wells had another opportunity to correct him again if necessary.

Useful phrases

Here are a few more examples of telephone language in various situations.

when you answer the phone or pick it up

Good morning, this is Pavla.

when you connect someone

I’ll put you through./I’ll connect you.

when you ask sb to wait or put sb on hold

Could you just hang/hold on for a minute, please? Please hold the line. Would you like to hold?

when you don’t understand the caller and need to clarify

Could you please speak a little louder/more slowly?

I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Could you please repeat it?

And the date again was 14 March? Let me repeat your information to make sure I got it right.

when you leave a message

Please tell him that Simon Wells called and ask him to call me back. Please have him call me as soon as he gets in.

when you want to end a conversation

It’s been nice talking you. I’ll speak with you again soon. I’ve got another call coming in.

when there are connection problems

The line is bad.

I’m losing you. I can barely hear you.

We got cut off.

My cell phone dropped the signal.