“Telephonophobia – reluctance or fear of making or taking phone calls”
With technology advancing leaps and bounds, we are now placed firmly in the mind-set of Emails, Skype interviews and multi-person conference calls; however, there is still very much a need for traditional telephone calls both in and outside of the workplace. These might take place when reaching out to a potential supplier, creating links with a future client or even a straight forward call to a customer service line and, whilst your profession might not require you to be on the phone all day, there are still times that you need to pick it up and call someone. For many of us this can be a breeze and yet for others the thought of doing it can be a nightmare.
So here at FTS we have put together some tips to help you overcome any fears you may have about phone calls:
Practise makes perfect
As with any skill, practise is essential. Grabbing opportunities to call businesses with general enquiries, making doctor or dentist appointments; and even calling old friends are great ways to develop your confidence and help you get used to talking over the phone. By practicing you will become more and more comfortable; and will soon find yourself realising that it is not as bad as you initially thought.
Notes, notes and more notes
As this is one of the only times when you are communicating with someone who isn’t sat in front of you; there is no need for constant eye contact so use this to your advantage. Make notes prior to the call of the things that you want to ask them and of the points that you want to make as, having this structure will help increase your confidence whilst keeping you focussed on your key objectives for the call.
Subconsciously when we do something that we don’t enjoy our bodies will naturally hunch up so you may find it useful to stand up whilst making calls as research shows that we feel more confident when talking to someone from above. With this improvement in body language you will find yourself more assertive and the added confidence will flow through your body which will be projected through your voice.
Whether you are making a call for an important business negotiation or just to place a take away order, having a clear goal of what you want to achieve before you pick up the receiver will make you more efficient and concise - you will find yourself speaking with more purpose than if you were to ‘wing it’. By taking the lead and guiding the conversation you will notice the conversation flowing naturally towards your target in no time.
Two important things about a smile are that 1) you can hear it; and 2) they are contagious. Pick up the phone smiling and the person on the other end of the line is likely to be more receptive to you, making the whole conversation easier and smoother. Without having a face to face interaction it can be hard to pick up on the emotion of the person on the other end of the phone so by smiling you will find yourself in more of a positive frame of mind.
Use your imagination
To turbo-charge your telephone confidence, try this:
Think of someone who you believe has all the confidence and skills that you would like when on the telephone (this person can be real or a fictional character). As you continue to imagine this person on the phone begin to notice all the characteristics that make them a confident telephone communicator including:
Their posture and body language
Whether they are sitting or standing up
How their voice sounds
What words they are using
Now, think of yourself making the call using these resourceful traits and notice how much more confident and composed you are. By regularly practicing this technique you will start to see your calls becoming more and more like how you imagined them.
By using some or all of these techniques you will find the process of making and receiving telephone calls much easier and more comfortable.