Have you ever gone out of your way to avoid getting a phone call? There’s no getting around it sometimes, especially if you work in a corporate atmosphere. You’re not alone if you despise making phone calls. Many people dislike making or receiving phone calls, but if you have severe anxiety when doing so, you may have telephobia.
Telephobia is a dread or aversion to making or receiving phone calls that affects up to 76% of millennials and 40% of baby boomers.
If you suffer from telephobia or are a business leader looking for ways to help your employees improve their phone skills, keep reading to learn how to overcome it.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of psychological treatment that has been shown to be useful for a variety of issues, including anxiety disorders such as telephobia. Identifying and analyzing unhelpful or unreasonable beliefs, as well as performing systematic desensitization, are common components of CBT treatment.
Those who suffer from severe phone anxiety can work with a therapist to figure out where their anxieties come from and how to adjust their thought patterns to be more realistic and productive.
Additionally, systematic desensitization allows for exposure to anxiety-provoking scenarios such as hearing the phone ring or maintaining a phone conversation while under the supervision of a qualified psychologist. This graded exposure is thought to desensitize an individual to a stimulus, eventually causing them to stop being afraid of it.
Practice Talking on the Phone
You might just be out of habit in this day and age, when text messaging has overtaken traditional phone calls. Giving yourself more phone practice will help you build the confidence you need to maintain a productive phone conversation.
Make low-risk calls to satisfied clients or catch up with old friends or business partners to boost your phone confidence.
Preparation, like practice, leads to perfection. When you’re nervous about a phone call, you’re more likely to get muddled and forget important details from your pitch or consultation. Before making a call, it’s critical to plan ahead of time and jot down important notes for later reference.
Taking notes before, during, and after your phone calls can be very helpful to you or potential clients. You can learn about a customer service team that isn’t up to par, a product fault or technical malfunction that has to be addressed, a new company project or opportunity, or even a collaboration with a high return on investment potential.
Use this printable note sheet that will help keep your topics of discussion in order, making the conversations more efficient, focused, and meaningful.
Trick Your Brain
Rather than telling yourself to calm down before a big call, trick your brain into thinking it’s excited. Feeling calm is a low-arousal state of mind while feeling nervous or anxious is associated with high arousal. The feeling of excitement is also associated with high arousal, so it’s easier to tell yourself you are excited rather than calm.
Individuals who reframed their anxiety as exhilaration felt more enthusiastic and performed better in a research conducted by the American Physiological Association than those who sought to calm down. All they had to do was employ simple tactics like stating “I am excited” out loud or writing messages to themselves like “Get excited” before the big event to trick their brains into feeling excited.
Phone anxiety may have a negative impact on both your personal and professional life, so it’s critical to find ways to overcome it. Nonverbal communication, such as live chat or messaging, is sometimes the best option, but if phone calls are your only option, try hiring a virtual receptionist to handle your calls so you can focus on other elements of your business where your abilities are more applicable.
To learn more about telephobia and ways to overcome it read this infographic below.