Learn to communicate in a global economy with our cross-cultural conference call series, starting with Mandarin Chinese — the language of one of the largest economies in the world.
We already know that being bilingual can make you a better job candidate, but even if you’re just a beginner, learning a few phrases in your potential business partner or client’s native language shows consideration and thoughtfulness.
Perfect your Mandarin Chinese professional phone etiquette and impress at your next conference call with these six handy phrases.
1. “喂 您好。(Wéi, nín hǎo.)” — Hello.
Sounds like: Way, neen how.
Wéi is a common (phone only!) greeting essentially meaning ‘hello.’ Adding the polite salutation nín hǎo makes this phrase perfect for greeting a Mandarin speaker over the phone.
Excited to give it a try but worried about your pronunciation? You can practice alongside a native Mandarin Chinese speaker with our official YouTube series — Basic Chinese Mandarin with Mango Languages.
2. “很高兴认识您，先生。(Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nín, xiānsheng.)” — I am very glad to meet you, sir.
Sounds like: Hen gao shing ren shir neen, shee-un shung.
“很高兴认识您，女士。 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nín, nǚshì.)” — I am very glad to meet you, ma’am.
Sounds like: Hen gao shing ren shir neen, nyoo shir.
Express enthusiasm and respect by using this phrase. Workplace hierarchy is very important in Chinese culture, so if the person you are speaking to is a woman, add nǚshì to her surname. If you are speaking to a man, add xiānsheng.
Dive deeper into Chinese honorifics (phrases that indicate social respect), personal pronouns, and greetings in the first chapter of our Chinese (Mandarin) course.
3. “我会说一点儿汉语。(Wǒ huì shuō yì diǎr hànyǔ.)” — I can speak a little Mandarin.
Sounds like: Woh hway shwoh ee dee-ar han you.
It’s important to be honest about your abilities! If you’re not ready to have a full conversation in Mandarin, use this phrase to let the conference call members know that you’re trying — just not quite there yet.
If you want to have all your bases covered, our Business Chinese (Mandarin) Specialty Course spans everything from social greetings to idioms and contract negotiations.
4. “请问 您能再说一遍吗? (Qǐng wèn, nín néng zài shuō yí biàn ma?)” — Excuse me, can you say it again?
Sounds like: Ching wen, neen nuhng za-ee shwoh ee bee-un mah?
It is an international call, after all! Prepare for dropped signals by learning how to politely ask someone to repeat themselves and avoid confusion in the future. The phrase qǐng wèn [excuse me] can be especially helpful in any situation.
5. “我会考虑考虑。(Wǒ huì kǎolǜ kǎolǜ.)” — I will think about it.
Sounds like: Woh hway kao lyoo kao lyoo.
Saving face is an important concept in Chinese social interactions. Say ‘no’ indirectly with a phrase like this and make your conference call participants feel more at ease. (Don’t worry — you don’t actually have to think about it if your mind is already made up!)
Bridge the cultural and language divide by learning more about Han Chinese language and culture.
6. “希望近日能得到您的回复。(Xīwàng jìnrì néng dédào nín de huífù.)” — Hope to hear from you soon.
Sounds like: Shee wahng jeen rih nuhng duh dao neen duh hway foo.
If you’re expecting a follow-up call from a potential client or business partner, let them know with this polite closing.
Interested in making more of your Chinese language skills? Learn to confidently speak the most commonly spoken language in the world with Mango Languages’ Chinese (Mandarin) course. You’ll learn how to speak Mandarin through real-life scenarios with native-speaker audio. Click the link below to get started!
What languages would you like to see in our conference call business etiquette series? Let us know in the comments below!