Do you hate answering the phone at work?
Whether it’s one of your main responsibilities or an occasional task, phone call avoidance is becoming common. We use our mobiles for many things these days, and taking voice calls is slipping down that list fast. Studies show we’re getting fewer voice calls than we did 10 years ago, with texts and emails filling the void significantly.
Symptoms of telephobia
- Your heart jumps when the phone rings, especially if you don’t recognise the number.
- When making calls, you secretly hope they go unanswered so you can follow up with an email or text instead.
- You ‘go blank’ during calls, especially when asked for information you should know by heart.
How to overcome it
Our reliance on texts and emails could mean we’re simply out of practice when it comes to voice calls. Try these tips:
- Rehearse or note down what you want to say: this way, you won’t forget anything and you’ll listen better, not being as focused on what you want to say.
- Answer with your name, so that there’s one less question to answer. It will also put your caller at ease.
- Smile when you talk: this simple trick really helps you come across as more friendly and relaxed.
- Stand up during your call. This is an old sales trick, believed to make you sound more confident.
- Save up phone calls for a time of day when you feel more confident and prepared. Start with the trickiest ones first, and the others will feel much easier.
- If it helps, fidget with something when making a call, like a paperclip, a stress ball or a piece of sticky tape. Being focused on another object can help take the anxiety out of your voice.
- Jot down the caller’s name. That way, you can greet them professionally when hanging up. It shows you were listening.
- Make sure you have the relevant information at hand during your call. Being prepared boosts your confidence.
- Watch your tone. No-one can see your body language and you can’t rely on emojis, so your tone does matter. Speak clearly and try to avoid having a monotonous voice.
- If you’re put on the spot, it’s totally acceptable to put someone on hold (briefly) so that you can gather your thoughts.
- Make more calls. It may need a total change in mindset from you. Rather than nervous anticipation, focus on what you’ll gain from the call. It could mean getting good news about a project, closing a deal or ticking a long-postponed item off your to-do list. The more calls you make, the more at ease you’ll become.