According to a survey of UK office workers taken back in 2019, as many as 40% of baby boomers and 70% of millennials experience anxious thoughts when the telephone phone rings. This concept is known as telephonophobia and, unfortunately, it appears to be a growing phenomenon. But a fear of the phone doesn’t mean you should avoid it altogether – otherwise you will never be able to grow your business.
Lots of business owners will grit their teeth and use the phone, but they won’t necessarally be happy about making calls. Believe it or not, this kind of discomfort and nervousness can come across in your voice. It can even change the outcome of your calls with prospective customers and clients. So how can you stop sounding nervous over the phone? Here are some tips to help you feel and appear more confident.
Prepare for each and every telephone call
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 possible. This step is particularly important when it comes to 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, as well as 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 that 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 will need to ask, the sort of information you need to get and the action you may wish to take during the call. Write all of that down and put it somewhere easy to access. That way, when a new prospect calls you, you have a cheat sheet ready made with what to say, so your mind will never go blank. A little preparation can go a long way in shrugging off the nerves and making each phone call a success.
Take each call slowly… and breathe
If you’re nervous about talking on the phone, there are two things that you’re likely to do. You’ll either talk very quickly, mumble your words, or both. Don’t worry, this is 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.
This might seem simple, but breathing properly will keep the shakes out of your voice and will force you to slow down and focus on what you’re saying. If you tend to talk quickly, we also find that focusing on correctly 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 telephone. Over time, you’ll find that you actually feel more confident too, as these things start to become a habit. With practice, you’ll feel like a natural on the phone.