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Business Telephone Conversation

Business Telephone Conversation is a genre which have been studied a lot and it shows some cultural differences from one culture to the other.
Business telephone conversation are analysed into moves (moves are rethorical pattern which are associated with a particular communication function, they are not paragraph and they are a discriminative element.
Moves in a telephone conv. are Opening, Non-topical element, business episode, close.
Moves can be sub.divided into sub-moves: opening may comprises introduction (this is name), greetings and how are you?. How are you? sequences are considered part of the opening if the asnwer is short, because if they are long they are part of the non topical element

(FINNISH): this non-topical element may include a joke or something to lighten the atmosphere. The business episode may comprise business initations, reason for the call, and side-sequences, related to business but not to the call. Then we have a close, which may be preceded by precloses, something which is not related to business, recapitulation, in which the reason for the call is summarized, close initiation (Okay) and formal closing (goodbye, thank you).

Opening: In telephone conversation a short formal opening (1 to 4 turns) is obligatory. There are differences betweeen Finnish and English people. Finnish openings consist always of introduction and greeting, they always mention their names unless they know each other very well and they can recognize the voice. English people don't mention names, the openings consist only of How are you? question, which promps answers as Fine and no more. In the Finnish exchange, on the contrary, when they ake how are you? the answer will create a non-topical episode.

Non topical:
when the speakers know each other, a non-topical episode seem obligatory in Finnish, it consists of a joke to lighten the atmosphere. On the contrary, American and English people don't like non-topical element, they want to speak about business. in these countries, How are you questions are not expected to cause an answer.

is a self-evident obligatory element in telephone business conversation. In Finnish conversation it's always the caller who initiates the business, on the contrary english people initiate the business even when they are not the caller, for example when they don't need the non-topical element, they want to get back to business.

as well as opening and business, it's a obligatory element in conversation. It's difficult to end a phone call, there are no body language. A close comprises also pre-closes, recapitulation and salutation. We can find formal closing such as okay, no, yes, nice.
Finnish people are considered as silent listener, they don't like to interrupt their interlocutor, instead english and american continue to interrupt them. American put emphasis on the business episode, finnish on the non topical episode.

di Melissa Gattoni
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