Business English - Taking a Message

Businessman Using Telephone Headset
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Read the following dialogue between a caller and a receptionist as they discuss a delayed shipment. Practice the dialogue with a friend so you can feel more confident the next time you leave a message. There's a comprehension and vocabulary review quiz following the dialogue. 

Taking a Message

Receptionist: Janson Wine Importers. Good Morning. How can I help you?
Caller: Could I speak to Mr Adams, please?

Receptionist: Who's calling please?
Caller: This is Anna Beare.

Receptionist: Sorry, I didn't catch your name.
Caller: Anna Beare. That's B E A R E

Receptionist: Thank you. And where are you calling from?
Caller: Sun Soaked Vineyards

Receptionist: OK Ms Beare. I'll try and put you through. … I'm sorry but the line's busy. Would you like to hold?
Caller: Oh, that's a shame. This concerns an upcoming shipment and it's rather urgent.

Receptionist: He should be free in half an hour. Would you like to call back?
Caller: I'm afraid I'll be in a meeting. Could I leave a message?

Receptionist: Certainly.
Caller: Could you tell Mr Adams that our shipment will be postponed and that the 200 cases ordered should arrive next Monday.

Receptionist: Shipment delayed … arriving next Monday.
Caller: Yes, and could you ask him to call me back when the shipment arrives?

Receptionist: Certainly. Could you give me your number please?
Caller: Yes, it's 503-589-9087

Receptionist: That's 503-589-9087
Caller: Yes, that's right. Thanks for your help. Goodbye

Receptionist: Goodbye.

Key Vocabulary

to catch a person's name = (verb phrase) be able to understand a person's name
to be busy / to be engaged = (verb phrase) have other work to do and not able to respond to a telephone call
to hold the line = (verb phrase) wait on the telephone 
to leave a message = (verb phrase) have someone take note of a message for someone else
to be free = (verb phrase) have time available to do something
urgent = (adjective) very important needing attention immediately
shipment = (noun) delivery of merchandise
to postpone = (verb) put off something to a later date or time
to be delayed = (verb phrase) not be able to happen on time, be postponed
to call someone back = (verb phase) return someone's telephone call

Taking a Message Comprehension Quiz

Check your understanding with this multiple choice comprehension quiz. Check your answers below, as well as practice key expressions from this dialogue. 

1. Who would the caller like to speak to?

 The receptionist
 Anna Beare
 Mr Adams

2. Which company does the caller represent?

 Jason Wine Importers
 Sun Soaked Vineyards
 Beare consulting

3. Is the caller able to complete her task?

 Yes, she speaks with Mr Adams.
 No, she hangs up.
 No, but she leaves a message.

4. Which information does the caller wish to leave?

 That they haven't received their shipment yet.
 That there is a short delay in the shipment.
 That the wine was of poor quality.

5. What other information does the receptionist ask for?

 The time of day
 The caller's telephone number
 They type of wine shipped


  1. Mr Adams
  2. Sun Soaked Vineyards
  3. No, but she leaves a message.
  4. That there is a short delay in the shipment
  5. The caller's telephone number

Vocabulary Check Quiz

  1. Good morning. How can I ______ you?
  2. Could I ________ to Ms Devon, please?
  3. Who's ____________, please?
  4. ________ is Kevin Trundel.
  5. I'm sorry, I didn't ____________ your name.
  6. I'm sorry. She's ___________. Can I take a ____________?
  7. Could you ask her to call me _________?
  8. Could I have your ___________, please?


  1. help
  2. speak
  3. calling
  4. This
  5. catch
  6. back
  7. number
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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Business English - Taking a Message." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Beare, Kenneth. (2023, April 5). Business English - Taking a Message. Retrieved from Beare, Kenneth. "Business English - Taking a Message." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 8, 2023).