1.2 Presentation of subject matter
Section 1 – Option A : Telephonic Communication.
Check your progress
Section 2 – Option B : Using fax machine for sending messages.
Check your progress
Section 3 – Option C : Writing E-mails.
Check your progress
1.4 Terms to remember
1.5 Key to check your progress.
1.7 Recommended reading.
1.0 Objectives :
After studying this unit you will be able to :
Understand how English is used in formal business communication.
Learn essential telephone skills such as making and answering business
calls; sending and reporting telephone messages.
Understand when and how fax and emails are sent in business
Learn the etiquettes of professional communication.
Understand the format of fax messages and emails.
Learn how to send and receive fax and e-mails.
Understand the features and technical aspects of fax and e-mails.
Explain the difference between business letters and fax.
The objective of this unit is to make the student familiar with the formal English
used in the predominant forms of business communication such as telephonic
communication, fax messages and e-mails. The student will be able to learn the
polite expressions and pleasantries used in such communication. As effective
communication is key to successful business; acquisition of communication skills is
indispensable. In order to work with competence and confidence either as superior or
subordinate, you need to possess some basic skills of professional communication.
You should be able to communicate on phone clearly, distinctively, confidently and
pleasantly. You should be able to send and receive fax messages and e-mails. You
should also know the technical aspects of phone calls, of receiving and reporting
messages and sending fax and e-mails on computer.
Here are the do’s and dont’s of effective telephonic communication.
1.2 Presentation of subject matter
Option A – Telephonic Communication
Means of communication have changed drastically over the years, with the
introduction of a modern telecommunications such as faxes and e- mails, but still
widely used business communication tool is the telephone. It is one of the
commonest and fastest ways of contacting persons. This is because it is a simple,
handy and economical device and a very powerful means within business
environment. Its hard to imagine a business operating efficiently without a telephone.
It has become the integral part of business communication.
Although it is the most commonly used, it is the difficult form of
communication as there is no advantage of body language. We can not see the facial
expressions and gestures of the caller and there is no eye- contact between the caller
and person called. There fore it is necessary to acquire professional telephone skills
for successful business communication.
I) Listening, questioning and speaking are the three key telephone skills. To focus on
these three skills, following guidelines can help us in the acquisiton of telephone
While making and answering a professional call –
When you are communicating on phone for business purpose, remember you are
representing your business organization. You make the first impression of your
company. To develop a positive image of your company, in the mind of the caller,
you should speak confidently, efficiently and clearly. This will inspire confidence in
the caller. This is a responsibility and a challenge too. But this can be met by
practicing telephone skills. You have to cultivate a cheerful and friendly tone. As the
caller can’t see you, he will judge you with your tone. So speak in a pleasant, relaxed
and warm tone. Exchange pleasantries and make a few polite enquires, if you are
well acquainted with the person in formal communication polite and courteous
language should be used all the time. Take care that you don’t sound hurried or
impatient. Speaking fast or mumbling may create confusion. So speak clearly and
Pre call preparation :Prepare beforehand the questions or the points, you would like to discuss. Go by
sequence, it makes the person called, easier to respond. Always keep a notepad and a
pen or pencil handy to note down essential information or message.
If you write down main points, you want to cover and prepare the list of the
people you want to speak to, it would help you a lot to be on a track.
Introduce yourself and offer service –
It is customary to identify yourself or your firm, in professional communication
when you are making external professional call, give the details like your name,
name of your organization and purpose of your call. Similarly, while receiving the
call, ask the caller name and number. Use his name during the conversation. It
creates friendly familiarity. Study the following examplesGood Health Centre, Good morning, how may I help you?
Good Morning, I D B I Bank, this is Ram Desai.
Hello, Accounting Department, Mahesh Kadam speaking.
Hello, can I speak to Mr. Dixit, P. R. O. from H. R. Department?
While attending the call :Listen to the caller attentively. You can respond to the questions and important
information on the spot. Give undivided attention and acknowledge a comment every
now and then. Write down important information on a notepad and confirm by
repeating. As far as possible soften negative responses. Instead of saying “You
should” or “You need to” use phrases like, “I suggest”, “I recommend” sound
friendly and professional. Never eat or chew or tap a pen while talking. If the
message is long, keep saying, ‘yes’ or ‘ok’ to reassure that you are listening. If the
information is not readily available, promise to ring back and keep the promise.
Placing the caller on hold :As a receptionist, you have to handle multiple calls and you need to place the
caller on hold. It may be because the person, the caller has requested to speak to, is
on another call or may be the caller needs an information and you need a moment to
take a file. In such situation, make sure whether the caller wishes to hold or prefers to
leave a message. In case you place the caller on hold, it should not be more than 30
seconds. Apologize for keeping on hold and thank the caller for waiting. Study the
“Please connect me to Mr. Wagle?”
“Mr. Wagle is talking on another line, would you care to wait, or may I have him
return your call?”
“Mr. Sharma from Partyline speaking, Can I speak to Mr. Chopra?”
“Mr. Sharma, Mr. Chopra is working with another client at the moment would you
like to hold or would you prefer to leave message? I am not sure, how long he will
be, but it may take some time.”
Use the expressions like. ‘Will you please hold on” “Thank you for holding.” “I
apologize for keeping you waiting.”
Transferring calls :Often it happens that the caller needs to speak to someone else and by mistake
he reaches you. In such situation, you have to transfer the call. Before transferring
the call, explain what you are able to do and get the callers permission. Study the
“Mr. Mohan Joshi is in Accounts Department. I would like to transfer you to his line.
Is that all right with you?”
Ending a call :You should end the business call at appropriate time and when you have
completed the purpose.
When you are receiving the call, don’t keep the receiver before the caller hangs
up. When you are pressed for time, you can end the call saying something like “I am
late for the meeting” or “I have an appointment.”
End the call as pleasantly as you begin.
Use the closing comments like –
“It was nice talking to you” “ I will look forward to your call.”, “ I will see you
on Monday.” “Good Bye” instead of “Bye bye.”
II) Sending & Reporting Message :A telephone message comes in the picture when the person called is not
available. A good telephone message enables you to take an appropriate business
action in response to the call. The message becomes a link between the person called
and the caller. A message form is an excellent guide to collect the right information.
Sending and reporting messages involves, taking complete messages, writing the
details on the message from and reporting it to the right person at right time.
Messages are nothing but the details about who, when, why, how etc.
Telephone messages can be left on answering machine too.
Taking a message :Could I speak to Ram please?
I’ m sorry. Ram is out of station. Could I take the message please?
Please tell Ram, Mohan called. Its regarding building plan, he requested.
Your number please?
My phone number is 2266239 I am calling from Vishwa Karma Constructions. I will
call back tomorrow.
Thank you, I will give him the message
The message can be reported by filling in the details on message form
Here are two sample message forms. Examine them carefully.
Sample No. 1
Message for :
From (company name) :
Contact number (s) :
Message Taken by :
Sample No. 2
While you were Out
Contact number :
Call Taken by :
You might have seen that the forms are simple and clear. When you receive the
message fill the blanks completely and correctly and be sure the right person gets the
message. The basic questions who, what, when, why, where, and how apply to taking
Read the following telephone conversation and fill in the details in the message form.
You can use one of the samples.
Hello, can I speak to Mr. Siddarth Kapoor please ?
I am sorry. Mr. Siddharth Kapoor is with client right now. Could I take
Its Amol calling from Superfast Advertising Agency. Its regarding the
advertisement for the newly launched product.
May I know your number Mr. Amol?
Sure. Its 9810253520. I will call back after an hour.
Thank you. I will give him the message.
III) Leaving a message on answering machine. In big offices a recording device
is attached to a phone.
When a person is not available in office or home he/she can leave a recorded
message on answering machine. A recorded message can be like this ----The message
Hi, this is Mohan I am not available to take your call right now. Please, leave
your message after the tone or press zero for the operator.
When the caller gets this recorded message he or she can leave the message after
Hi, this is Jitu from Modern computers. My number is 353562. The computers
you ordered have arrived. Please give me a call so that we can arrange to deliver.
Please note that Jitu has left a short message, He gave his name, contact number
and reason for calling. So that if Mohan wants to return his call, he can get the
essential information. Jitu requested a call back in a polite manner. The message left
on answering machine should be concise and it should contain all the necessary
Read the following message on answering machine.
Hi this is Meena. I am not in right now. But if you leave the message, I will
return to you
Hi, this is Leena from Partyline. If you let me know the details of Friday’s party,
I would really appreciate it. My number is 9820567821. Thanks.
Thus we have learned that while taking message on message form and while
leaving a message on answering machine –
How to take a complete message.
Leave a concise message on an answering machine.
Ensure that the message contains all the necessary information.
IV) Reporting message :As a secretary you have to receive phone calls for your boss in his absence and
have to note down the message to report to him when he arrives. Study the following
telephone conversations and how they can be reported. Study the language used.
A: Hello, good morning, Paranjape Builders.
B: Good morning Can I speak to Mr. Paranjape, please?
A: I am sorry, Mr. Paranjape is out of station. Will be back tomorrow. Can I take
B : Yes, please. Tell him Mr. Gavade called from Patel Enterprize. Its about the
payment of the order No. 2250 delivered on 15th Oct.
A : May I know your number please?
B : My number is 2622639 please tell him to ring me as soon as he arrives.
A : Yes sir, I’ll give your massage.
B : Please tell him. Its urgent. Good Bye.
A : Good Bye.
Let us see how the secretary will report the message to Mr. Paranjape when he
Reported message :- Sir Mr. Gavade from Patel Enterprize called. Its about the
payment of the order No. 2250 delivered on 15th Oct. He has asked you to ring and
he said that its urgent.
Study the following examples :
A : Hello, K P T Pvt. Ltd. Good morning
B : Good morning can I speak to Mrs. Prabha Kulkarni?
A : I am afraid, she is busy in the meeting with clients.
B : Will you please give my message to her?
A : O sure, may I know your name please?
B : Tell her Mr. Dixit called from Kolhapur. Its about the audit statement.
A : May I know your number please?
B : Yes, my number is 9881107836. Tell her, I will be reaching her office at 4 o’
A : I’ll. Good Bye.
Study how the above telephone message can be reported.
Madam, Mr. Dixit had called from Kolhapur. He is arriving here at 4 o’ clock to
discuss about audit statement, he wants you to contact him on the number
Study the following reported telephone massages.
Sir Mr. Dixit has called. He wants you to sign the contract tomorrow morning
by 10. ‘O’clock.
Sir. Mr. Rane, had called. He wants to know if you’re available tomorrow at 1
Sir, there was a call from lawyers office. You have to go to the court tomorrow
Section – 1 (A) Check your progress
Choose the correct alternative and rewrite the following statements.
Speak ………….. when answering the telephone
ii) When calling a company, you should state……
a) your impressions about the company
b) the purpose of your call.
c) the time you require for the phone call.
iii) In telephone communication while the other person is speaking, you should
a) keep pin drop silence
b) interrupt with new information.
c) keep on saying “hmm” and “okay”
iv) Begin and end a business telephone call ………………
a) hurriedly b) pleasantly
A perfect telephone message contains ………………
a) the name of the caller
b) the purpose of the call.
c) all the essential details.
vi) Which of the following is the acceptable way of answering the telephone at
a business firm.
a) “Good Morning” Who is speaking ?
c) “Anytime Gas Agency”, How may I help you ? ..
vii) Which of the following is the correct way to end a call.
End a call when both callers have accomplished their purpose or one is
pressed for time.
Wait till you’ve accomplished your purpose even if the other person is
pressed for time.
Make up a story to avoid talking to the other person.
viii) When a person is not available, you would say,
I m sorry Mr. Sawant is not available at the moment, May I take the
message please ?
I am sorry Mr. Sawant is not available at the moment please call back
in 10 minutes .
Can you call back later ? He is not in.
ix) Choose the best of these three messages.
Hi this is Rajan from Zenith Computers, Please give me a call when
you get in.
Hi this is Rajan from Zenith Computers, I am calling to find out how
the computers we provided are working.
Hi this is Rajan from Zenith Computers, I guess you are not in, I’ll call
1.2.2 Section – 2 Option B - Using Fax messages for sending messages.
Fax also known as facsimile has become a regular part of business
communication. It is the telephonic transmission of written documents to a telephone
number via fax machine. Although e-mail is replacing fax, fax is useful to send the
documents especially signed ones which can’t be sent by e-mail. Fax is fast and easy
way of exchanging information and documents at a critical time. Through fax you
can send maps, diagrams and photographs along with the written message to the
distant places. Nowdays business letters are converted into fax messages and fax
messages are also sent through computers.
Traditional Fax :The traditional way of sending fax is using fax machine attached to a phoneline.
A fax machine is an electronic device composed of a scanner, a modem and a printer,
It transmits data via telephone line to a recipient i.,e. to another fax machine. This fax
machine transforms the message into images and prints them on paper.
Sending fax message
In most fax machines, you need to do the following.
Turn on the fax machine.
Take the document you want to fax and put it into the document feeder. The
icon on the machine displays how to do it.
Dial the fax number you want to fax to.
Press the “send” button.
Wait for the fax to transmit.
Take the confirmation page or any other information that prints out.
Receiving a fax :1.
Turn on the fax machine.
The phoneline rings when your fax machine receives the fax.
The fax machine receives and prints off the fax.
If the machine is configured to receive the faxes manually, hit the “answer”
button when phone line rings to receive the fax.
If your machine is configured to receive faxes automatically, the fax
machine will answer and receive the fax.
Sending fax using a computer :Traditional fax machines are becoming outdated. Online fax services are
replacing the traditional method of sending a fax. The benefit of this type of faxing is
that you are able to store your documents electronically and send and receive cleaner
and cleaner copies. For sending a fax using computer, you have to –
Sign up for an online fax service
Find the icon for creating new fax
Type in the recipient’s name, fax number, phone number. Type your full
name, your phone number, and total number of pages of the document you
Type a brief message in the box explaining the document contents.
Attach the document you want to fax, preferably a PDF document.
Click “send” to transmit documents.
Through fax you can send orders, price quotations, contracts, resumes, financial
reports and so on. E-fax is replacing traditional fax, yet some documents need a
signature for legal purpose, hence you require a traditional fax machine.
A fax message should be professional in appearance and content. So make sure
that the coversheet and documents include all the information you want to send and
that everything is correct, professional, legible and complete.
Cover sheet :The fax message usually has a cover page containing the following information.
Name and fax number and other contact information of the recipient.
Name and fax number and the telephone number of the sender.
Number of pages including cover sheet
A short message describing the documents being faxed.
Fax messages can be sent between branches of the same company or to external
business associates. Instead of business letters today fax and e-mails are used for
Here is a sample business fax. Study it closely.
Mahindra & Mahindra
120, Kandivali (West)
Tel : 0202288855
Fax : 020 2288856
E-mail : Mahindranmahidra@rediffmail.com
Date : 3rd Nov. 2012.
Bharat Machine Tools,
Fax No. 8678 872
No. of pages : 3 (including this page)
Enclosed is the order for automobile spare parts we require. Please send them at the
earliest. Make a phone call if any queries.
Hoping for prompt action.
You can see how business letters are converted into fax messages. Let us see how
this fax can be answered.
Bharat Machine Tools.
Tel : 020 2275866
Fax : 020 2275867
Email : Bharatmt@gmail.com
Date : 5th Nov. 2012
Mahindra & Mahindra
Fax No. 020 2288856
No. of pages : 2 pages (including this page)
We value our customers and make it our duty to understand their needs and
requirements so that we can help them to make their business work even better. We
have dispatched your order today itself by VRL transportation. Please find enclosed
the invoice of the goods ordered by you.
Thank you for doing business with us, we hope the same in future.
You might have noted that there is no salutation or greeting in the beginning of
the message. At the end there can be ‘Thank you’ or ‘Best Regards’ or just
Read the following fax message and its reply.
Head Office, Banglore.
Tel : 025 25275205
Fax : 025 25275207
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Manager, ICICI Bank,
Fax No. : 0232 200405
Mr. Sharad Chavan
No. of pages : 1
Mr. Kamal Das is visiting your branch tomorrow for the verification of gold loan
proposals. Please arrange for his accommodation in a hotel nearest to the branch.
Reserve a room for two days and three nights. Mr. Das will be reaching there on 31st
Oct. 2012 by 8 a.m. by Kadamba Travels.
Study the reply to above fax.
I C I C I Bank
Tel : 0231 220404
Fax : 0231 220405
Email : email@example.com
Date : 30/10/2012
To : Mr. Sharad Chavan
Head office, Banglore.
Fax No. : 025 25275207.
No. of pages : 1
Thank you for sending us details regarding the proposed stay of Mr. Das. We are
pleased to reserve a room in the hotel Ayodhya, near bus stand. The room will be
available at 8 a.m. on the day of his arrival and will remain at his disposal until the
day of his departure. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Das and hope he will have
a pleasant stay.
Section-2 (B) Check your progress.
Rewrite choosing the best alternative.
There is no …………….and ……………… in the beginning of the fax
name and address of the receiver.
name and address of the sender.
salutation and greeting.
ii) Instead of business letters today ………………. and ………….. are used
for business communication
mobile messages and phone calls
fax messages and e-mails.
meetings and get-togethers.
iii) In business, fax is useful to send ……………. and ………….. at critical
information and signed documents.
Bio-Data and certificates.
personal letters and invitations.
1.2.3 Section-3 Option C – Writing E-mails.
Electronic mail or E-mail has become a predominant form of business
communication. Fax messages and e-mails are replacing business letters now a days.
Billions of e-mails are sent world wide everyday. This is because of their high speed,
ability to reach many people at distant places at a time and the provision of attaching
important files along with the message. Moreover, it is quick, effective and
economical. Alike fax messages, e-mails are sent within the business organization
and outside the business organizations. In both the situations, e-mails should be
formal. Another advantage of e-mails is that they can be stored and can be referred
to, any time you want.
Now-a-days, almost all levels of staff in every department and in almost all
types of companies write e-mails. The days of traditional secretary and massive
paper work have gone. As we all know, effective communication is the key of the
success of any business; and e-mails being an integral part of corporate
communication, it is advisable to understand how to write e-mails. To maintain
quality and standard, it is essential to follow e-mail etiquettes while sending business
Here are some e-mail etiquettes. If you follow them your recipients will get the
necessary information and they will act accordingly.
Write a meaningful subjectline :-
If your subject line accurately describes the content of your e-mail, your
recipient will read it with interest. If the subject line is vague, it will fail to motivate
the busy recipient to take it as worth while. Subjectline should catch the attention and
the recipient should know what the mail is about at a glance. Following are the
examples of bad subjectline.
Subject :- Blank
Subject :- Meeting
Subject :- Read immediately or Urgent
Subject :- The file you wanted
Here is the more specific, informative subjectline
Subject : Reminder of 10 a.m. meeting on 5th Oct. 2012 on promoting a new
Make one point per e-mail
As for as possible send one and only point or message per e-mail. In case your
e-mail contains many points give numbers to your points or consider writing a
separate e-mail on each subject. If you want to put several points as they relate to the
same project, present each point in separate paragraph. This makes each point stand
out significantly. You would make your recipient focus on your message and can
reply to each one individually.
It is important to give your name, occupation and other important identification
information, in the first few sentences, when you are contacting someone outside.
Proof read :
Business e-mails should be written in standard English. Many people think that
they can ignore punctuation, spellings and grammer in e-mails. This approach should
be avoided for business e-mails. So before you click, “send” proof read your
professional e-mail to check punctuation, spellings and grammar.
Dinstinguish between formal and informal situations:
Although business e-mails are less formal than business letters, formal approach
is expected all the time. So write according to situation. It is important to keep your
business e-mails short and clear. The specific action you except from the recipient
should be directly stated. Avoid using abbreviations like – He’s, He’d. “Dear Mr.
XYZ” is preferred rather than “Hallo”.
You can use abbreviations and non-standard punctuations and spellings when
you are writing e-mail to your friend or collegue.
Specify the response you want :
If you expect specific action such as phone call or appointment from your
recipient, make sure to include it in your message. Your contact information will
make your recipient easier to respond.
Using EOM headlines :
When you have a very short message to convey, you can use EOM or End Of
Message technique. This is possible when you can put all the relevant information in
the subjectline, followed by the letters, “EOM” This helps the recipient know that all
the information is in the subjectline.
Be a Good correspondent :
Check your inbox regularly and reply the e-mails you have received promptly.
This is the act of courtesy and it encourages others to reply. It is professional and
courteous to make yourself available online, evenif your message is “sorry, I am too
busy to help you now.”
In short, a good layout, easy-to-read font, use of paragraphs for new point, clear
and concise sentences, clearly stated purpose in the first paragraph, pertinent
information in the body of the e-mail are the qualities of professional e-mail to
ensure positive impression. With friends and co-workers you can be casual but with
customers and clients stick to formal set up and style.
If you see the format of e-mail on computer screen, you will find that the
contents “To”, “From”, “CC”, “Subject”, “Date”, “Time” appear automatically.
Study the following e-mail and study its format closely.
To : firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : Discount Mansoon Sale
Mrs. Jaya Ghate
We are pleased to inform you about our Mansoon Discount Sale on readymade
Garments. The sale starts from 1st August 2012 and will be continued till 15th August
2012. We are offering 50% discount on T-shirts and trousers. There is 20%, 30%,
40% discount on other items too. You will be saturated in the mansoon of discounts.
Do visit our shop.
You can see that e-mail starts with e-mail address of the recipient ‘CC’ stands for
carbon copy. The CC is a field for sending the same message to other recipients. At
CC write the e-mail address of other recipient. Then mention the subject of your email clearly. In the body of e-mail write the content related to the subject mentioned
in the subject line and then mention the response you want. After complimentary
close identify yourself. Now study the following internal business e-mail.
To : email@example.com
Subject : Meeting on Friday 10th Sept. at 11 in Conference Hall on Advertising
Mr. Dinesh Parekh
Roxy Glassware, Pune
Dear Mr. Parekh,
I wanted to let you know that I have scheduled a meeting with the Marketing
Department, this Friday 10th Sept. 12. Regarding the new advertisement campaign.
It’s at 11a.m. and will be in the small Conference Hall. Please let me know if you can
make that time.
P. S. Kothari.
Big companies now a days send e-mails for various business purposes such as
enquiring about the delay of an order placed, complaining for the damaged goods
received, booking rooms in the hotels, informing about the meetings, various
schemes, proposals, campaigns etc. Study the following example.
To : firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : Our order No. 150, Rejecting the damaged sauce bottles.
Mr. Balwant Singh
Maggie Food Products,
Dear Mr. Balwant Singh,
We are sorry to inform you that the tomato sauce bottles delivered by you
against our order No. 150 have been found damaged. We are rejecting all the 200
bottles. We request you to replace them at the earliest.
Section – 3 (C)
Check your progress
Rewrite choosing correct alternative
In an e-mail subjectline should be …………. and …………….
vague and long.
specific and informative.
catchy and casual
ii) In e-mails ‘cc’ stands for.
iii) Business fax and e-mails should have ……………… set up.
iv) EOM technique is used in …………………
a) telephone calls
In this unit you have learnt how telephone, fax messages and e-mails are
predominant forms of business communication and how quick, clear and effective
communication leads you to success in business. You might have realized that the
massive secretarial paper work has been replaced by fax and e-mails. As an
employee of any business firm, in any department, in any position you need to
communicate with your superiors, subordinates, clients and business associates.
After studying this unit you will be able to face the challenges in your career
confidently. The professional skills introduced in this unit will enable you to
communicate clearly and effectively. Various aspects, features and do’s and don’ts
related to telephone calls, fax messages and e-mails provide you theoretical
knowledge which will be useful while actually practicing them in future.
1.4. Terms to remember :
Caller - persons who makes the phone call.
Person called - person who receives the phone call
Acquisition - something acquired.
Cultivate - develop, improve
Pleasantries - courteous or polite remarks made in conversation.
Place the caller on hold - request the caller to hold on.
Hang up - end the call
Press for time - in a hurry
To look forward to - to wait eagerly.
Distinctly - clear, understandable.
Predominant - main element
Drastically - far reaching effect.
Gesture - movement of body to express feelings.
Acquainted - familiar.
Apologize - to say sorry.
Appropriate - proper
Courteous - polite, kind, well mannered.
Etiquettes - manners.
1.5 Key to check your progress.
Section 1 A
Section 2 B
Section 3 C
Complete the following conversations.
Hello, Kesari Travels. Good Moring, how may I help you ?
Good Morning, could I …………….. Ram please.
I’m ……………. Ram is ………………. Station could you
…………… please ?
Please tell Ram, Deepak called. It is about booking for Delhi.
My phone number is ……………… I am from ………….. to