How to Speak Well on the Phone (Part 3)

Our topic today is the continuation of our previous blogs. We will be talking about how to take a message and how to end a call. It is understandable that for English learners, it can be daunting to speak on the phone or carry a conversation on the phone. That’s why it is important to familiarize yourself with common phone expressions so that you’ll know what people usually say.

In this article, we will look at three parts: how to take a message, how to end a call, and other scenarios. The last part covers situations that we haven’t discussed in the phone conversation series.

Taking a Message

If the person you need is not around and the person who received the call asks, “Would you like to leave a message?” you can say

“Yes, can you tell _______(name of person) that _______ (your name) called?”

“Yes, can you tell Ben that Jacky called?”


“Can you tell ______(name of person) to call me tonight/ later/ tomorrow about _______ (the reason for the call)?”

“Can you tell Ben to call me tonight about our project?”


“Can you tell _______ (name of person) to call me at_______ (your phone number) tonight?”

“Can you tell Ben to call me at 806-3729 tonight?”

If you’re the one getting the message, but you’re not prepared, you can say to the caller,

“Hold on, let me get a pen and paper.”

This means, “give me a minute. I’m not ready yet; I need to write this down”. So, when you’re back, you already have your pen and paper, and you’re prepared to write it down, you say,

“Okay, what’s your number again?”

If the caller is giving you information other than a phone number, you say,

“Okay, can you please say the name/ address/ name of the office again?”

Ending the Call

After taking the message, you can end the call by saying,

“Great! I’ll let (name of person/ her/ him)  know you called. Take care. Bye.”

“Alright, I’ll pass on the message. Goodbye.”

If, however, the caller, or if you, don’t want to leave a message, just say,

“No, that’s okay. I’ll call again next time. Thank you, bye.”

“Oh, it’s alright. I’ll try again tomorrow. Thank you, bye.”

At this point, you can hang up the phone. “Hang up” means ending the conversation and putting the phone down.

Other Scenarios

If the person you want to talk to is the one who picks up the phone, you can use any of these expressions to start a conversation.

  • “Is this a good time to call?”
  • “Are you busy? Are you free to talk?”
  • “Have I called at a bad time?”
  • “Do you have a minute to talk?”

You say these statements to make sure that the call receiver is ready to talk or has time for you. And, you normally ask this when you talk to friends or family. However, in the business setting, you usually don’t ask this because someone is hired to answer the phone and should be available to talk to callers. So, if your friend, or the person you need, says, “It’s okay. We can talk.”, you can then state the reason for your call:

  • “I’m calling about the recipe that you promised to share with me.”
  • “It’s about what we need to bring to our trip to Puerto Rico next week.”
  • “It’s about the party.”

In a business setting where it’s more formal, you usually say:

  • “It’s about the resume that I emailed. I’d just like to follow up.”

*(Use this when you’re applying for a job and would like to get updates.)

  • “It concerns the cancellation of my hotel reservation.”

*(Use statements like this for business reasons because the phrase ‘with regard’ is more formal.)

Now, that ends our phone conversation series. You can go ahead and practice with your friends or LingualBox teacher. The best way to be prepared for these conversations is to practice.

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I have a passion for the English language because it is such a powerful tool for creativity and personal development. I've been writing articles since I was in High School. I represented my school in English writing competitions in the city, regional, and national levels. When I was in college, I wrote a short story which was published in the University Literary Portfolio. In 2006, I worked as a call center agent in Cebu City. In 2007 up to 2008, I worked as an English accent trainer in a startup call center company. I have also been offering ESL lessons as a freelance tutor since February 2016.