The language of a conference call in English

door Regina Coeli

These days, many companies collaborate in virtual teams or have teams whose members work in different locations. Conference calls can be an efficient, environmentally-friendly way to communicate with one another in those situations. Of course, that is not really rocket science to anyone, but conference calls do come with their own challenges. The lack of non-verbal communication can make it quite difficult to truly understand each other and to know when someone has finished talking. That is why it is useful when conference calls have clear rules.

In this article, we will give you some practical tips and phrases/sentences you can use to get a conversation going and structure it.

Tips for participating in conference calls:

  • There is no room for going off on tangents and too much detail. Keep your comments short and to-the-point.
  • Speak only when necessary.
  • When there are a large number of participants, it helps to say your name each time before you speak.
  • Speak clearly and slowly to ensure everyone can understand you.
  • If you do not understand something or something is unclear, say so. Because you cannot see each other, you miss out on non-verbal signal, and it is important everyone understands what is discussed or agreed.

Usefull phrases for conference calls:

  • Hi <name), this is <name> from <department/location>. Could you tell me …?
  • Hello this is <name> from <department/location>. I have got a question about ...
  • Sorry to interrupt but could I just ask …?

Leading conference calls

If you need to lead a conference call, it is important to be well-prepared. Consider setting and distributing a concrete agenda. You may also need to take a more directive role during the call than you might be used to. Because the participants cannot see each other, you will need to keep an eye on the process, guide the discussion and make sure everyone is able to make their point.

Below you will find some sentences to help you throughout the different phases of conference calls.

Welcoming participants

  • Hi <name>, you’re the first one to dial in so we’ll wait for the others.
  • Hello <name>, good to have you here.
  • Hello, who has just joined the call?
  • <name> is also on the line.
  • I’d like to mention that we have <names> joining us today.

Making small talk

  • How is everyone?
  • What’s the weather like over there?

Explaining the procedure

  • Given the timing today, let’s focus on…
  • Could you all leave your questions until the end of the presentation.
  • Could you all please stay on mute during the presentation and make sure your mobiles aren’t near the phone!
  • This is a working session so please feel free to ask any questions as we go along.
  • Please introduce yourself with your name each time you speak.

Clarifying the purpose of the meeting

  • The main objective today is…
  • What we want to achieve today is…

Dealing with connection problems

  • Could you go on mute if you are not speaking as there is a lot of background noise?
  • <name> could you dial in again?

Asking participants for their opinions

  • <name>, what do you think of the idea?
  • <name>, anything to add?


  • Let me just summarize that for everyone.
  • Just so we all understand, can I just clarify a couple of points for everyone?

Ending the call

  • I’ll follow up this conference call with the action items list and I’ll also set up another meeting.
  • Thanks everyone and I’ll speak to you all soon.
  • Thank you to everyone for your contribution today.


Would you like to learn more English?

If you want to have a smooth telephone conversation in English, there is more to it than just learning a few standard phrases. We will be happy to help you. Please contact us to discuss the possibilities.

During an English training you can focus on a skill such as telephoning, or you can broaden your knowledge of the English language. What vocabulary do you need in your specific field and industry to have a good conversation and what grammatical rules have you not yet fully mastered? You can achieve a lot in just a few days of training. We will be happy to give you advice.

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