According to a 2019 survey of UK office workers, as many as 40% of baby boomers and 70% of millenials experience anxious thoughts when the phone rings. This concept of telephonophobia appears to be a growing epidemic in our society at the moment. But a fear of the phone doesn’t mean you should avoid it altogether, otherwise you will never grow your business! So lots of business owners will grit their teeth and use the phone, but they won’t be happy about it. Believe it or not, that kind of discomfort and nervousness comes across in your voice, and it can even change the outcome of your calls with prospects. So how do you stop sounding nervous over the phone? Here are some tips to help you sound, and feel, more confident over the phone.
Even if we can’t see the person we’re speaking to, our body language has a huge impact on our mind, our behaviour and our confidence. The position we take when on the phone can dictate how we will approach it, and how we will sound. For example, when we are apprehensive or nervous, we tend to hunch over or curl up as much as possible – it’s a primitive instinct for protection. This body language has a huge effect on how we react to what we are hearing and how our voices sound when we respond. So next time you need to make a phone call or answer the phone, make sure your body is in a more confident position. Stand up with your chest back and your legs slightly apart. It might feel silly at first, but really channel that inner hotshot sales legend and that’s what you will feel. Standing in a strong pose will help with your sense of conviction, but also of your power over the direction of the conversation, making you sound confident and assured.
While you can’t always be prepared for everything someone will say to you in an organic phone call, you can still do some basic prep work to ensure to give the best customer service. This step is particularly important for sales calls. Before you even think about picking up the phone, make sure you are thoroughly prepared for the call. Make sure you know what the purpose of your call is, what your opening and closing lines are, and what key points need to be made. Writing these things down in bullet points can sometimes help, as this means you won’t forget or meander off course. For calls you receive it can be a little trickier, but you can still be prepared. Write up a script for calls with prospects, what questions you need to ask, information you need to get and action you need to take during the call. Write all of that down and put it somewhere easy to access. Now when a new prospect calls you, you have a cheat sheet of what to say, so your mind will never go blank. A little preparation can go a long way to fighting off the nerves and making successful phone calls.
Breathe, Take It Slow
If you’re nervous about talking on the phone, there are 2 things you’re likely to do. You’ll either talk very quickly, mumble or both. Don’t worry, it’s very common, and almost everyone does it! But if you’re trying to make a good impression, then you need to try and avoid it. Not only does it signal to the person on the other end that you’re nervous, but it makes you hard to understand. So if you start to feel the words building up and rushing out too fast, make sure you pause and take a deep breath. It might seem simple, but breathing properly will keep the shakes out of your voice and forces you to slow down and focus on what you’re saying. If you tend to talk quickly, we also find that focussing on pronouncing the ends of your words is a good way to keep an even pace to your voice, so that you can be heard and understood by the person on the other end of the phone.
These techniques are a very basic starting point, but they can go a long way to help you sound more confident on the phone. Over time, you’ll find you actually feel more confident too, as these things become habit. With practice, you’ll feel like a natural on the phone. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to answer it every time! That’s where we can help. At Verbatim, we offer a fully comprehensive telephone answering service, helping you answer the calls you would otherwise miss. To find out more, just get in touch with us today.