Telephone Phrases- Brainstorming and Roleplays


Completing telephoning phrases through brainstorming and roleplays. Students practice different phrases for telephoning situations. They test each other in pairs and roleplay conversations.

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Lesson Plan Content:

Completing telephoning phrases brainstorming and roleplays

Work together and brainstorm at least two or three things for each gap below. Try to make the examples as different as possible, and specific to telephoning.

  1. Can I take a message?
  2. Can I call you back later?
  3. Can I call you back ___________________________________________________?
  4. She’s away from her desk, but __________________________________________.
  5. She isn’t __________________________________________________________.
  6. Can you call _________________________________________________________?
  7. Can you hold ________________________________________________________?
  8. Just a moment while I ________________________________________________.
  9. I’ll __________________________________________________ and get back to you.
  10. I’ll get back to you _____________________________________________________.
  11. Are you _____________________________________________________________?
  12. Do you have _________________________________________________________?
  13. Do you know _________________________________________________________?
  14. Can I have __________________________________________________________?
  15. Can I just check ______________________________________________________?
  16. Can you repeat _______________________________________________________?
  17. Is that ______________________________________________________________?
  18. I’m afraid I have to _____________________________________________________.
  19. Sorry for _____________________________________________________________.
  20. Thank you for _________________________________________________________.
  21. I’ve just ____________________________________________________________.
  22. If you give me your email address, _______________________________________.
  23. This is (name) ________________________________________________________.
  24. Who _______________________________________________________________?
  25. Would you like _______________________________________________________?
  26. You need ________________________________________________ in the address.


Compare with the answers or as a class, then choose the most suitable for your calls.


Test each other on the phrases in pairs:

  • Read some things in the gaps until your partner remembers the sentence stem
  • Choose a gap and help your partner think of things that can go in it
  • Choose a sentence and roleplay continuing the telephone conversation from that point.

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Suggested answers

  1. She’s away from her desk/ She’s in a meeting/ She’s meeting a client/ She’s out of the office/ She’s not answering her phone/ She’s out of the country/ Her line is busy
  2. I’m in a meeting/ I’m in the train/ Someone’s just come in/ A client has just arrived/ I have something that I really have to finish/ I’m a bit tied up at the moment/ It’s a bit noisy here/ I’m just about to…
  3. in a minute/ when I’ve found the document/ after I speak to…/ when I get back to the office/ from my desk/ later/ this afternoon
  4. She’ll be back in a few minutes./ You can contact her on her mobile./ I know she’s planning to call you later./ I’ll let her know you called./ She’ll phone you as soon as she’s back./ I may be able to help.
  5. at her desk/ in the office today/ answering her phone/ available until…
  6. me back (when you get this message/ when you’ve checked)/ me on my mobile/ me when you get the chance/ the other people who will attend/ again later/ this number/ our sales department
  7. the line/ while I check/ on while I find a pen/ while I check if he is available/ while I connect you
  8. write that down/ get it up on my screen/ look for the document/ find a pen
  9. find the document/ read the email again/ speak to my boss/ work on it again/ check/ find out/ ask her
  10. as soon as I can/ as soon as possible/ straightaway/ before lunch/ by the end of the week/ by Friday/ in a couple of days/ within five working days/ before five/ immediately
  11. busy/ free to talk/ the right person to talk to about…/ online/ in the office/ at your desk
  12. access to the internet/ the document in front of you now/ his email address/ time to talk/ a couple of minutes
  13. when he’ll be back/ his mobile number/ the international dialling code/ which department that person works in/ the spelling of her name/ when a good time to call would be/ who I should talk to about…/ her extension number/ who’s responsible for…
  14. that in writing by Friday/ your name/ a couple of days to think about it/ the invoice number/ the shipping number/ your contact details/ your email address
  15. how to spell…/ the spelling of…/ your email address/ that back/ the last part again/ your name/ whether he already has your number or not\ when he will be available
  16. the name of the person who you wish to speak to/ the last three letters/ the first word/ your name/ the whole thing
  17. one five or five zero/ all small letters/ all one word/ a US number/ a mobile number/ forward slash or back slash/ B for ball or V for volley/ (name)/ the marketing department/ 01232 998861/ treble three
  18. go/ take another call/ speak to someone/ get on with…/ go to a meeting
  19. the interruption/ keeping you waiting / phoning again so soon/ not getting back to you sooner/ earlier/ not being able to speak earlier/ calling at lunchtime/ calling so late
  20. phoning Desire English/ your email (this morning)/ meeting me the other day/ your interest in Subsidiary Bathrooms/ all your help/ the information/ the agenda for the next meeting/ your understanding/ your call/ calling
  21. got back to the office/ received your message/ read your message/ listened to your message/ got out of a meeting
  22. I can confirm it in writing/ I can send you a map/ I can send you a link
  23. speaking/ from (name of company)/ Can I speak to…, please?/ Is… there?/ Is… available?/ Is that (name)?
  24. shall I say is calling/ would you like to speak to/ is speaking/ do you wish to speak to
  25. his mobile number/ her to phone you back/ to leave a message/ me to take a message/ me to ask him to call you back/ to speak to her PA
  26. http/ underscore/ forward slash/ capital letters/ dot


Completing telephoning phrases roleplays


Someone will keep trying to contact the same person in your office. Give a different reason each time why they aren’t available.



Try to politely finish a phone call as quickly as possible.



Keep on remembering things you need to discuss when the conversation seems to be finished.



Don’t accept just leaving a message.



Politely refuse as many requests and suggestions as you can.



Don’t accept someone’s offer to call you back later.



Make the other person wait for as many things as possible.



Demand/ Ask for all kinds of future action.



Talk about several parts of a 20-page document that you both have in front of you.



You don’t know who you need to speak to.



Ask for confirmation of as many things as possible.



Apologise for many things.



Thank the other person for many things.



Mention many different names.



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