Overcome Phone Anxiety
with Etiquette

Pleasant Phone Conversation

Communication is challenging enough, but when phone anxiety is part of the challenge, things become even more difficult.  Phone conversations are tricky because they rely solely on tone of voice and words spoken.  Without gestures, facial language, and eye contact, it’s easy to feel self-conscious when using this mode of communication. 

For some, their sensitivity goes further. Whether you’ve been diagnosed, self or otherwise, as having telephobia, making and receiving phone calls brings on even stronger feelings of anxiety.  You may worry about how your voice sounds, whether you are being understood, or wonder if the person on the other end even cares about conversing with you.  

Telephobia, phone anxiety, or just a strong dislike of phones, is something that can interfere with personal and professional success.

Spoken Word vs. Written Word

The social media era has taught us that people are much more comfortable writing words than speaking them.   Texting and messaging apps are most popular for phones, to the point that when we pick up our phones, it’s usually to type a message rather than to make a call.

A 2019 UK survey revealed that younger audiences feel anxious when their phone rings, compared to older audiences.  Those who are more comfortable with using smartphones naturally gravitate to texting and messaging.  We feel more in control of the flow and expression of words.  And less put on the spot to deliver an immediate response to a question or request.  

However, in the professional world, texting will never be enough.  Customer and client relationship-building simply requires a more personal interaction.  And there are times in social relationships when a message is best delivered with one’s voice rather than on a screen.

Etiquette and Phone Anxiety

Building your confidence level helps you feel less anxious in a particular situation.  This is also true when experiencing phone anxiety.  And the best way to build confidence is to practice and become more comfortable with speaking on the phone.  

Phone etiquette skills can help you sound and be professional, kind, and considerate and you will feel more comfortable over time. 

  • Smile before and during your call.  A smiling face readies and steadies you.  It can also decrease your heartrate and make your voice sound calmer.   
  • Choose one positive word or expression to speak aloud or silently before making a call and as a call comes in.  “Success!” “Got this!” “Winner!”  “Confidence!”
  • Sit up tall and speak with energy. 
  • State your name and speak clearly.
  • Prepare by knowing the reason for your call and your preferred outcome or goal for the conversation.  
  • If there is an interruption, pause two seconds, breathe, and see where the conversation is. 
  • Let the call go to voicemail and prepare accordingly, phoning back as soon as possible.
  • Respond promptly to voice mails. 

You can see some additional tips for etiquettefully overcoming phone anxiety in this video.

Don’t worry, any mistakes or faux pas made during a call can be overcome.  Your positivity and cheerfulness will help you overcome any phone anxiety or negativity and you will leave a great impression on those with whom you speak.

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