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Telephone English Practice Exercises

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Woman sitting on sofa and talking on phone
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Exercises for Practicing Speaking on the Telephone

Speaking English on the telephone is one of the most challenging tasks for any English learner. There are a number of common phrases to learn, but the most challenging aspect is that you can not see the person.

The most important thing about practicing telephone conversations is that you shouldn't be able to see the person you are speaking to on the phone. You may ask, 'How can I do that if I am practicing with a friend or another classmate?' Here are a few suggestions for practicing phone calls without looking at your partner:

  • If you are in the same room - Put your chairs back to back and practice speaking on the phone, you will only hear the other person's voice which will approximate a telephone situation.
  • Use the telephone - This is pretty obvious, but really not used that often. Give your friend a call and practice various conversations (role plays).
  • Use internal office phones at work - This is one of my favorites and great for business classes. If your class is on site (at the office) go to different offices and call one another practicing conversations. Another variation is for the students to go into another office and have the teacher telephone them pretending to be a native speaker in a hurry. It's then up to the students to make sure they have communicated what they need, or understood what the caller wants. This exercise is always a lot of fun - depending on how good your teacher is at acting!
  • Tape yourself - If you are practicing alone, tape standard answers and then practice using the tape recorder stopping and starting to simulate a conversation.
  • Real life situations - Businesses are always interested in telling you about their products. Find a product you are interested in and research it over the telephone. You can ...
    • call a store to find out the prices and specifications.
    • ring the company representative to find out details on how the product works.
    • telephone a consumer agency to find out if the product has any defects.
    • call customer service to find out about replacement parts, etc.

More Telephone English:

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