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The Essential Guide On How To Get Over Phone Anxiety

Let's face it; nobody likes answering the phone at work. Here's how you can overcome phone anxiety and master your next call.
by Rob Gillham | Aug 26 2022

Calling or receiving a phone call can be a challenge for some people. When you spend a lot of time talking to colleagues or clients, this can be challenging. Making and receiving phone calls confidently and feeling relaxed can improve your productivity and work mood. The purpose of this article is to discuss the symptoms of phone call anxiety, possible causes, and ways to overcome it.

Are you ready to master your next call? Here’s how to get over phone anxiety.

Why Do Some People Suffer From Phone Anxiety? 

Telephone anxiety, also known as telephobia, occurs when you avoid speaking on the phone. It is common for people to dislike making or receiving phone calls. There is a difference between that and experiencing anxiety.

There is something more enjoyable about texting or emailing. Face-to-face communication is absent, but this makes some things easier. There is no one in charge but you. Sending a message is easy when you plan it out or delete it before sending it. Depending on your situation, you can be informal or formal. Since the other party cannot see your face, you might even become a more confident version of yourself. Those who suffer from social anxiety or are very sensitive may benefit from this.

According to a UK survey from 2019, almost 80% of millennials feel anxious when their phones ring, compared to only 40% of baby boomers. To avoid speaking on the phone, over 60% of millennials miss calls entirely. The results of another study showed that phone-anxious people prefer text messaging. Their comfort and expression are enhanced by it.

The anonymity of social media also makes it easy for people to engage in debates. When someone makes a negative comment, you can hide behind your screen and avoid seeing their reaction.

Phone Anxiety Causes

There are many reasons why people get phone anxiety. If you are unable to read the body language of the other person, you might feel self-conscious about your voice.

Our voices are the only means of communication when we speak on the phone. Communication is hampered by the inability to incorporate nonverbal cues. We are automatically disadvantaged by this disconnect, and some people find it extremely uncomfortable. Our response to a phone call is influenced by the tone of the person making the call. As soon as they pause, we can hear how they react instantly. 

Conversely, texting allows us to walk away without interacting with others. Especially if we feel rejected or disapproved of by the other person, we may benefit from this. An anxious person may find these factors intimidating when making a phone call.

Your productivity can be affected by phone anxiety at work. People who make and receive phone calls as part of their job can be affected, including salespeople, help desk staff, secretaries, journalists, public relations officers, lawyers, consultants, and others. A panic attack during a phone interview can also affect your chances of landing a job.

Phone Anxiety Symptoms

When it comes to using the phone, you may notice that you tend to delay or avoid it altogether. Nervousness is the main symptom of phone anxiety. A mild sense of anxiety to a full-blown panic can be experienced in this manner. In addition, you may experience physical symptoms, such as sweating, shaking, breathlessness, dizziness, nausea, joint pain, and an elevated heart rate.

How To Get Over Phone Anxiety

The longer you put off confronting situations that cause anxiety, the more severe the anxiety may become. To help you overcome anxiety, there are various practical steps you can take rather than telling yourself that you should get over it. Here’s our guide on how to get over phone anxiety:

1. Smile

Smiling physically puts you at ease and makes you feel happier. Make the other person believe you are face-to-face by using your own facial expressions and body language. Maintaining a straight face or standing stiffly might feel better.

2. Don’t Sweat It

Overthinking is a characteristic of anxious people. People don’t mean to upset you if they say something you don’t expect. It’s important to remember that we are missing nonverbal signals that can tell us how they’re feeling. Don’t read too much into what they’re saying. Put an end to the conversation, hang up, and move on.

In the moments before a call, the same applies. Don’t overthink what you’ll say, but do prepare what you’d like to say. There is always the potential for a conversation to veer off in a different direction. Keep an open mind and be curious. Don’t be afraid to go with the flow and keep your notes nearby.

3. Get Help

You can seek professional counseling in several ways if you think you might benefit from it. A referral to a specialist can be obtained from your general practitioner or medical practitioner. Alternatively, you can search privately for an appropriate counselor or therapist.

4. Plan Your Goals 

Begin by setting small goals. Keeping the conversation going longer than two minutes could be one of your goals. Answering the phone within three rings is another option. Those goals should be gradually extended.

5. Start With A Call

Face your fear with exposure therapy. Performing an activity regularly makes it less intimidating. Rather than speaking with a real person, you could call an automated information center. If you do not know what time a restaurant or dry cleaner closes, call them and ask.

As you gain confidence, your anxiety is likely to dissipate. You should make a list of all the people you wish to contact on the phone and call the first person on the list. Acknowledge your achievement after the call and move on.

6. Plan A Call

Preparation of a structured call is essential. In case you are worried that you might stumble over your words or forget what you were going to say, prepare a short script ahead of time. Read out your short script before making the call. This will help you to mentally rehearse what you are going to say.

7. Think Rationally

Don’t worry about disturbing someone if they’re too busy to talk. If they’re too busy to talk, they probably won’t answer the phone. Consider that the other person cannot see you either, so don’t fret about what they think of you. It’s impossible for them to see your appearance, your clothing, your body language, or your gestures.

8. See The Forest For The Trees 

Put yourself in another person’s shoes. Think about what advice you would give a friend or colleague. Whether you stumbled over a word or mispronounced it, it doesn’t matter to the other person. By doing this, you may be able to devise a plan to deal with your own anxiety.

9. Get Moving

Anxiety can be relieved by relaxation or breathing exercises. Exercise can reduce tension even for a short period of time. By focusing on the present, you can also avoid worrying about what may or may not happen in the future.

10. Know Your Triggers

Record what you were doing when you experienced anxiety and its severity in a diary. You can use this to determine whether you feel more anxious when your phone rings or when you plan on making a call. You can use it to determine whether you felt anxious before picking up the phone, worried about what you were going to say, or afterward, to evaluate whether you said everything you wanted to. Your diary can help you identify which calls trigger your anxiety, such as incoming calls versus outgoing calls.

Don’t Give Up

Knowing your limits is an imperative first step. The ability to speak on the phone is no different from any other skill. Identifying areas that need improvement and making an effort to improve them is all that matters. 

There are many ways in which progress can be made. It’s okay if your path or pace is different from someone else’s. Take these tips with you and master the next phone call you have to make. Remember, you can always hang up.

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