Conversation class prepares you to talk face-to-face with other native English-speaking students of Spanish. In the real world, you may need Spanish to work with clients, colleagues, employees or supervisors in other countries. Some of those interactions will inevitably be over the phone.
Phone calls are scary because all the visual clues are removed from the conversation. If you’re receiving the call, the context is usually out of your control.
Never make a general request for repetition (¿Qué? / ¿Cómo?). It’s hard to resist the instinct to do this, but you must in order to keep control of the conversation.
Whenever possible, make statements instead of asking questions:
- Tell the caller you are taking a message (instead of asking if you can take a message): No está en este momento. Le voy a dar un mensaje. ¿Cómo se llama Ud.?
- Tell the caller to repeat something one number or one letter at a time instead of asking them to repeat the same thing you don’t understand over and over: Repita su apellido una letra a la vez, por favor. / Repítalo un número a la vez, por favor.
- Asking for specific information allows you to stay in control of the conversation: ¿Cúal es su apellido?
- Repeat key information back to the caller to confirm that you are correct & accurate: Su número de teléfono es _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. ¿Correcto?
The key to success is to take control of the conversation. Master this flow chart then expand on your own to get a more detailed message from the caller.