I have a confession to make. I have a fear of telephones. Cordless, cordful, mobile, immobile, smart, dumb, they all terrify me. When my phone rings the first thing I think is “Ugh, how do I send this straight to voicemail without the person calling knowing it?” I also don’t like making phone calls. If I can do something through 10 emails that each take 10 minutes to write vs. 1 phone call that takes 1 minute, I’ll write the 10 emails.
Why am I afraid of phones? Part of it stems from a fear of saying the wrong thing. With the written word I can compose and recompose my thoughts and get the words just right, not that I always do, as anyone who reads my writing can attest to, but I can, that’s the point. The other part of the fear is that the other person is going to say the “wrong” thing, or deliver bad news. When a client calls me I assume it’s bad news. Why? I don’t know. 99 times out of 100 a client just has a question about something, or they’re getting back to me about something. And yet I assume they’re going to yell at me, fire our firm, or sue me. In 14 years of doing business has this ever happened? No, but somehow it still goes through my mind. Call me paranoid, pessimistic, or in possession of a bad attitude, this is how I think.
But I’m working on being more positive. Here are some steps I’m taking:
- Preparation. If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear. Being in control, on top of things, and managing my life wisely helps get rid of the fear. You can learn more about two books that are helping me get in control here.
- Positive thinking. Trust me, I’m not the always-100% positive smiling guy you’ve seen around. I get down. I withdraw. But I’m a believer in positive thinking and self-fulfilling prophecies. When I pull myself up by the bootstraps and force myself to put a smile on my face, I get better results on phone calls, and everywhere else.
- Practice. It takes some real effort of will, but the more I practice picking up the phone and dealing with it, rather than ignoring it and dealing with the consequences, the easier it gets.
- Alliteration. Just kidding, I’m not sure how all those p’s popped up in this post.
I still fear the phone, but I’m working on it. I just took a call from a potential client who is now a client. It was a great call to take. And yet I almost sent it to voicemail.
What about you? Do you fear the phone? What have you done to get over it?
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Ha! I’ve had the same feelings about phones…even just messages. But hey, we smile in such moments and press on.