Making a Call and Leaving a Message (Adv)


Students will practice making a business telephone call and leaving a message using polite business expressions.
Student Level: 
Unit Group: 
General Business - Telephoning

Warm Up (5 mins)

How often do you make business telephone calls?

Who do you need to call?

What do you usually say at the beginning of a call?

Listening (5 mins)

Watch the following video.

1. What are the two things which you should tell the listener when you begin your call?

Reading Comprehension (10 mins)

Read the article below.

1. What does "exchanging pleasantries" mean?

2. Is it a good idea to tell the person you call that you are having a bad day? Why or why not?

Conversation Skill (10 mins)

Offering Alternatives

Conversation Skill Point: 

In conversations there are many times when you will need to offer the listener a choice between two or more possibilities.

There are several ways to experess such an offer.




We could meet on Friday or alternatively we could meet some time next week.

on the other hand

You might like to come to my office or on the other hand I can visit your office.

if you would prefer

We have flights available at 10.00am and 3.00pm or if you would prefer I can make a reservation for another day.

in lieu of that

Mr Parker can only meet you for 30 minutes this morning or in lieu of that I can make an appointment for tomorrow.

or instead

We have double rooms available or instead of that there is also a suite.

or else

Send me the report by email or else if you don't have time, just give me the numbers by telephone.


The most popular color for this model is white but optionally you can order it in gray or black.

Practice offering alternatives between:

1) Travelling by plane or travelling by bullet train.

2) Staying in a business hotel or staying in a traditional Japanese inn.

3) Meeting at 2pm or meeting at 4.30pm.

4) Going to an Italian restaurant or going to a Thai restaurant.

5) Buying a red, black or white sports car.

Vocabulary (5 mins)

_______ an email to me as soon as possble.
_______ me back with the monthly sales figures.
_______ the key points of the meeting.
_______ an appointment to discuss the new product range.
_______ the design to include the new features.
_______ the meeting because I will be too busy to attend.

Role Play (15 mins)


Case Study (15 mins)

Imagine you need to call XYZ company to speak with the Head of Purchasing, David Willcox.

You would like to make an appointment with him next week to further discuss a project that you have previously talked about via email.

Unfortunately, that person is unavailable right now so you will need to leave a message with his assistant.

You can meet:

  • On Tuesday or Friday next week.
  • Either in his office or over lunch.
  • If he prefers lunch, ask whether he prefers to meet at a Japanese or Italian restaurant so that you can make a reservation.

You would like David Willcox to call you back either:

  • this afternoon before 6pm.
  • tomorrow morning (you are leaving for a business trip at noon).

Try to use different ways of offering alternatives.

Be sure to use formal style as this is a business related call.

Remember to clearly say your name, organization and leave a contact phone number.

Extension Activity

When do you think it is better to use the telephone rather than send an email?

What are the pros and cons of having a company mobile phone?

Review and Quiz (5 mins)

Do you have any questions about this lesson?

What did you learn today?

Did you learn any new vocabulary or expressions?

Ask your instructor for tips on how you can improve your English.

Finally, don't forget to take the quiz after all your lessons are finished today.

Thank you !