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A Business Telephone Conversation

Sue Gench






Business conversation recommendations



Manager: Hello, this is Dan Bloom, the Floor Manager at Elegant Furniture. How can I help you?

Customer: Hello, Mr. Bloom. I'm Susan Gershwin, the secretary of Steve Dorsay at Verizon. We placed an order for a leather sofa yesterday. But we need to change the color to brown. I hope it's not too late to make this change.

Manager: I see. Do you have the invoice with you now, Ms. Gershwin?

Customer: Yes. I do.

Manager: Give me the order number please.

Customer: It's 120456.

Manager: Thank you. May I put you on hold? I have to look it up. I'll be right back.

Customer: No problem. I'll wait.

The manager returns in a few seconds after he looks up the colors in the inventory.

Manager: Yes, we do have the sofa in brown. But we have to reorder it. So the order will delay one day. Would that be okay?

Customer: Yes, we can wait one more day. So you will deliver it next Friday, September 12th?

Manager: Yes, we will deliver it next Friday, the September 12th. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer: No. Thank you very much.

Manager: It's my pleasure, Ms. Gershwin. Thank you for placing an order with Elegant Furniture.

Customer: You're welcome. Bye now.


How can I help you? Tell me what you want.

observe: transitive verb. To watch to collect information. An example: "The supervisor observed the sales associate when he spoke with a customer over the phone."

deliver: to bring an order to the address


look up: idiomatic and prepositional verb. To search for information in the dictionary, internet, reference books, and etc. An example: "I looked up several words in the dictionary for my job interview."


delay: intransitive verb. To be late, act slowly than usual. An example: "The doctor delayed several hours to see the patient." See the difference between the intransitive and transitive usage explained below.

delay: transitive verb. To cause an object to be slower; to deliver something more slowly than usual. Note the different meaning of the transitive usage.

An example: "The doctor had delayed the treatment several hours." In this example, the noun 'treatment' is the object of this sentence. In the earlier example, the time phrase "several hours" is not the object of the sentence but a time adverb describing the action of the verb (The doctor had delayed several hours).

In transitive verbs, the subject takes an action upon a different object other than the subject. Inversely, in intransitive verbs the subject takes the action directly upon itself, himself or herself.

Business conversation recommendations:

In America, we value politeness, clarity and professionalism in business. So, on the phone, we follow these guidelines. Study the conversation above by paying attention to how two persons in this business conversation observe courtesy. When you place a business call, follow the same guidelines observed in this conversation.





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