I am still a bit confused how to receive an external phone call at work.

Browsing the internet I find:

* Hello? (informal)
* Thank you for calling Boyz Autobody. Jody speaking. How can I help you?
* Doctor's office.

None of those work for me well. "Hello?" is certainly too informal. The second seems more for a receptionist...and the third...I don't know what's that supposed to mean.

What are your standard phrases?

  • 1
    Do you really not know what "Doctor's office" means? Medical practices often have rather long official names. Callers don't need to hear all that; they want to know they didn't dial the gas station or Jones residence by mistake.
    – moioci
    Aug 21, 2010 at 3:26
  • 1
    I really know what a doctor is lol. Being a native German speaker, this just sounds absolutly impossible to say to me (unprofessional, super impolite).
    – Alex
    Aug 21, 2010 at 22:17
  • Even though this is an old, answered question, I think it is currently considered off topic. Or is it? Where's the etiquette site?
    – Mitch
    Aug 26, 2011 at 3:30

2 Answers 2


If your job is such that you would normally be the first person reached when someone calls from outside the company, then you would normally answer by saying something along the lines of your second example (at least giving the name of the company).

If you are not normally the first line of contact, then usually you would answer the phone by giving your particular department (e.g. "human resources") and possibly giving your name, depending on how verbose you want to be.

If you are not normally even the first line of contact within your department, then, depending on your work environment, you could either answer with the department, or just by saying "This is Alex", or "Alex speaking" and possibly adding, "how can I help you?"

  • "Alex speaking, how can I help you?" - nice one, just because it's a little longer (I am not first line of contact). Some more alternatives like that?
    – Alex
    Aug 18, 2010 at 19:42
  • 5
    This is a good answer, but I'd also suggest that Alex inquire if there are any guidelines at his work about this. Local rules would take priority. Some employee handbooks address this issue. At smaller companies, it makes sense to see how others answer the phone for external calls, and to be consistent as an organization. Aug 18, 2010 at 19:43
  • @Neil Fein Sure, good point.
    – Kosmonaut
    Aug 18, 2010 at 20:12

Since all of my calls are direct calls to me I just say:

"Hi/Hello, this is Josh"

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