Languages › English as a Second Language Tips for Telephoning Native English Speakers Share Flipboard Email Print suedhang/ Image Source/ Getty Images English as a Second Language Business English Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Writing Skills Reading Comprehension Grammar Resources for Teachers By Kenneth Beare English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. our editorial process Kenneth Beare Updated January 05, 2020 Have you ever had problems understanding native English speakers on the telephone? If so, you are not alone. All English learners have difficulties understanding people on the telephone. This is for a number of reasons: People speak too quicklyPeople don't pronounce the words wellThere are technical problems with the telephonesYou can't see the person you are speaking withIt's difficult for people to repeat information Tips To Get Native Speakers To Slow Down Immediately ask the person to speak slowly.When taking note of a name or important information, repeat each piece of information as the person speaks. This is an especially effective tool. By repeating each important piece of information or each number or letter as the spell or give you a telephone number you automatically slow the speaker down.Do not say you have understood if you have not. Ask the person to repeat until you have understood. Remember that the other person needs to make himself/herself understood and it is in his/her interest to make sure that you have understood. If you ask a person to explain more than twice, he will usually slow down.If the person does not slow down, begin speaking your own language! A sentence or two of another language spoken quickly will remind the person that he is fortunate because he doesn't need to speak a different language to communicate. Used carefully, this exercise in humbling the other speaker can be very effective. Just be sure to use it with colleagues and not with a boss!