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Telephone English - Leaving Messages

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 (more formal).
  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.

Here's an example of message

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.

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

By Kenneth Beare, About.com Guide