No. 1, one of the main problems students have when they’re on the telephone, is they’re very direct. What does “direct” mean? Maybe they’ll say something like, “I want to talk to Mr. Bob.” Okay? “I want to talk to Mr. Smith.” This is very direct English. Why is it direct? “Want.” It’s not the most polite way to speak. When you say “I want. I want.” It’s better, when you’re on the phone — especially to someone you don’t know that well — to use polite English, such as “could, would, may.” “May I speak to Mr. Bob? May I speak to Mr. Smith?” “Could you hold on a minute, please?” Okay? It sounds a lot nicer. So remember your “could, would, may”. Try not to use “want”.
Telephone English: Emma’s top tips