More often than not, in a business setting, Filipinos use English in formal interactions done personally and over the phone. If there are common errors occurring during person-to-person dialogues, there are about the same number of boo-boos when it comes to phone conversations.
Here are the top ten examples of the usual mistakes Filipinos commit whenever they make a call or they’re on the receiving end, and the corresponding proper ways of expressing their statements to the other person:
- Can I please speak with – should be May I please speak with/Can I please speak to (“May I please speak with” is the more polite option)
- Hold your line – Can I put you on hold for a few seconds?/ Would you mind if I put your call on hold for a few seconds? (“Hold your line” sounds annoying and absurd for a native English speaker)
- For awhile / Just a moment – Just a minute (Better give the caller an assurance that you’ll get back to him shortly rather than having an indefinite time frame)
- He’s not here right now – He’s not at his desk as we speak / He just stepped out of the office
- He’s talking to someone on the other phone – He’s currently not available to take your call/He’s engaged in another important matter right now (Better to be more formal yet less specific)
- Can I get your message? – Would you like to leave a message? (Prioritize the caller’s preference in this scenario, since he or she might regard his message as highly confidential)
- Do you like/want him to return your call? – Would you like him to return your call when he becomes available? / Would you prefer that he calls you back?
- Please let him call me again – I would appreciate it if he can call me back / It would be nice if you can ask him to return my call
- My colleagues and I are attending your event – Regarding the event on <date>, I am calling to confirm the attendance of <mention complete names of attendees>
- Can I have an appointment with Mr. <Surname>? – I would like to know the best day and time to have an appointment with Mr. <complete name>.