Ways to Overcome Phone Calls Anxiety
Many introverts prefer texting, social media, or email when contacting friends or customers. They have some time to think about what they’re going to write. They can restructure and revise all the information they’d like to provide. Finally, if nothing comes to mind, they can respond with a simple “OK,” a gif, or a meme. All of this with the added bonus of feeling safe and secure.
Unfortunately, phone calls don’t offer the same luxury, and this can leave everyone, including introverts, feeling vulnerable or nervous. If you have an important phone call coming up, especially a business one with someone you don’t know, there are a few things you can do to take the edge off.
1. Calm Yourself First
Introverts often deal with anxiety surrounding social situations. A calming routine can help ease the jitters and switch the mind into a more social mode. Many introverts find that meditation helps. Clearing your mind, fully relaxing, and taking a few deep breaths can help you temper some anxiety. Focusing on the task with a clear mind is easier when you’re wound a little less tight. Do whatever you do to relax or clear your mind – even if it’s a leisurely walk.
2. Write Notes and Take Them With You
You might be worried that you’ll bungle something up or forget to mention something important – especially if you’re calling about a job interview or something equally meaningful. Write notes about everything you’d like to discuss and keep them in front of you. You’ll have a reference sheet if you’re unsure what to say or worried about something in particular.
3. Make Sure You’re Comfortable – Physically and Mentally
Since a phone call can be done alone, there’s no reason to get all dressed up. If you’re most comfortable in your pajamas, take the phone call in your pajamas. Don’t wear a belt that digs into you or shoes that pinch your toes. Physical comfort can help promote mental comfort. Make the call from where you feel secure and wear something cozy.
Calling someone in your pajamas might be more difficult if you are in the office and have to make a business call to a client. However, even at work, you can probably find that little corner behind the coffee machine that is quiet and out of your coworker’s earshot. If your introverted colleague currently occupies it, consider going to the bathroom. No worries, it turns out that 3 out of 4 people take their phones to the bathroom, so you will not look weird. If you can’t do that, just leave the office and talk in the corridor or front of the building. You will feel less stressed knowing nobody is there listening to your call.
4. Practice What You’re Going to Say
Sometimes, saying the actual words aloud may help. You won’t be self-conscious about how you phrase things, the volume of your voice, or your intonation if you’ve said the same thing a few dozen times. Run through your talking points until you get tired of them. Memorize them so well that you can recite them in your sleep. Repetition will help dull the words, making them less uneasy. This is helpful if your phone call is to place a counteroffer on real estate or request a promotion – situations in which you may need to project confidence.
5. Make a “Mock” Call to a Friend
Doing something the second time never feels quite as stressful as initially. One smart way to relieve the stress of making a phone call is to make a “mock” one before the “real” one. Call a friend, a family member, or a coworker – someone you are comfortable talking to over the phone. You can just chat for a minute or two which will help you unwind and get into the phone conversation mood. Even better, if your mock caller knows your phone phobia, you might even practice the “real” phone call with them.
Regardless of what you choose to talk about, typing in the phone number, hearing the ring tone, and then having to start the “mock” conversation will make it so much easier for you when you are starting the “real” one, two, or three minutes later
6. Utilize Your Energy
Move around a little bit. Use your hands. Make facial expressions. Pace around when you’re on the phone. If you get nervous energy that builds up at the moment, use that energy as you talk. It won’t get pent up and affect your phone call. There’s nothing wrong with fidgeting – the person on the other end of the phone won’t see you. If you have nervous energy coping mechanisms, remember you’re free to use them however you see fit. Phone calls offer unique privacy that might be better than conversing in person.
7. Visualization May Help
If your anxiety surrounding phone calls stems from the fact that you cannot see the person or let their physical cues and nonverbal communication shape the conversation, visualize the person. If you’re paying attention to the tone of their voice, it’s easier to imagine what they may look like or the way they’re sitting. If you can picture yourself in front of the person and doing so would ease your anxiety, allow yourself to. Pull up a picture of the person if that aids in your visualization.
8. Give Yourself a Reward
You should schedule a reward after your phone call for two reasons. The first is that a reward is a motivation to do something successfully. You’re giving yourself an incentive to do something you don’t want to do, which makes getting through the process a little more exciting. The second reason is that you’re building a positive association with something that makes you uncomfortable. Over time, when you reflect on the reward at the end, it might dull your unease with speaking on the phone.
Many introverts and extroverts alike aren’t big fans of phone calls. If you gradually improve your speaking ability on the phone, things will become easier over time. Try utilizing as many techniques as possible to increase your chances of success.
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