How to Leave Messages on the Telephone in English

Leaving messages on the phone
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Telephone English refers to the type of language used when speaking on the telephone in English. There are many specific verbs and phrases used when speaking on the telephone in ​English. This guided to leaving a message on the telephone provides a step by step guide to leaving a message that will make sure that the recipient returns your call and/or receives necessary information. Try role-playing first to practice these skills. 

Leaving a Message

Sometimes, there may not be anyone to answer the telephone and you will need to leave a message. Follow this outline to make sure that the person who should receive your message has all the information he/she needs.

  1. Introduction: Hello, this is Ken. OR Hello, My name is Ken Beare.
  2. State the time of day and your reason for calling: It's ten in the morning. I'm phoning (calling, ringing) to find out if ... / to see if ... / to let you know that ... / to tell you that ...
  3. Make a request: Could you call (ring, telephone) me back? / Would you mind ... ?
  4. Leave your telephone number: My number is... / You can reach me at .... / Call me at ...
  5. Finish: Thanks a lot, bye. / I'll talk to you later, bye.

Message Example 1

  • Telephone: (Ring... Ring... Ring...) Hello, this is Tom. I'm afraid I'm not in at the moment. Please leave a message after the beep... (beep)
  • Ken: Hello Tom, this is Ken. It's about noon and I'm calling to see if you would like to go to the Mets game on Friday. Could you call me back? You can reach me at 367-8925 until five this afternoon. I'll talk to you later, bye.

Message Example 2

  • Telephone: (beep ... beep ... beep). Hello, you've reached Peter Frampton. Thank you for calling. Please leave your name and number and reason for calling. I'll get back to you as soon as possible. (beep)
  • Alan: Hello Peter. This is Jennifer Anders calling. It's about two pm right now. I'm calling to see if you'd like to have dinner sometime this week. My number is 451-908-0756. I hope you're available. Talk to you soon.

As you can see, leaving a message is pretty simple. You only need to make sure that you have stated all the most important information:

  • Your Name
  • The Time
  • The Reason for Calling
  • Your Telephone Number

Recording a Message for Callers

It's also important to record a message for callers when you are not available. Many people like to leave an informal message, but that doesn't necessarily leave a good impression if someone is calling for business. Here are some suggestions for messages that both friends and business partners can appreciate.

  1. Introduction: Hello, This is Ken. OR Hello, you've reached Kenneth Beare.
  2. State that you aren't available: I'm afraid I'm not available at the moment. 
  3. Ask for information: Please leave your name and number and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. 
  4. Finish: Thank you./Thank you for calling. 

Message for Business

If you're recording a message for a business, you'll want to strike a more professional tone. Here are some suggestions for messages for business to be played when you are not open. 

  1. Introduce your business: Hello, you've reached Acme Inc. 
  2. Provide opening information: Our operating hours are Monday through Friday 10 am to 7 pm.
  3. Ask your customers to leave a message (optional): Please feel free to leave your name and number. 
  4. Provide options: For information concerning Acme Inc., visit our website at acmecompany dot com
  5. Finish: Thank you for calling. / Thank you for your interest in Acme Inc.