It seems that in this day and age the thought of picking up the phone and actually speaking to someone is becoming less and less attractive - in fact you may even find it positively outdated, feel completely allergic and come out in a rash at the very idea?!
Now this is understandable - for millennials especially. The age of the text, the email and the millions of ways of communicating via social media can often mean that picking up the phone is the very last thing that crosses a persons mind.
Yet this somewhat lost art is not something to be sniffed at - in fact in the working environment it will often yield much quicker and more responsive results and therefore is an incredibly important skill to master no matter how scary the thought of it might seem.
Ok an email or a text can be effective especially as a means of having a record of what was said and done, yet the little nuances that you can pick up and put across as part of an actual conversation can never be communicated this way. That's why you will miss out on a whole heap of understanding that is necessary for building strong and positive working relationships.
Not only that but what might take umpteen emails and days of chasing to achieve, can often be solved immediately and in just a few minutes by picking up the telephone.
Making phone calls gets better with practice and even the shyest among us can master the art and become more effective and efficient in their working practices by doing so. It's not my favourite thing to do either yet in my working life I've achieved far more over the phone than by email - plus I also know that the more you dial those numbers the easier the task becomes!
So lets look at a few tips for mastering this skill if it's something that you're just not too excited about having to do in your work environment.
SEVEN STEPS TO A HAPPIER PHONE CONVERSATION
Prepare - If you're particularly nervous about making a specific call then take a little time to prepare. Jot down a few notes, have their website or personal information open and displayed in front of you. Do a little research and take a moment to breathe and feel prepared.
Focus - Think about why you are calling and what you want the outcome of the call to be. Focus and don't be swayed off track, don't keep people on the phone too long chatting about your day or things that are irrelevant. This may be seen as time wasting to the person on the receiving end, you need to be able to get to the point.
Be positive and smile - It might sound odd as the person on the other end of the call won't be able to see you, but smiling whilst you are making a call will have a positive effect on the tone of your voice. Smiling whilst talking also lifts your energy levels making the call a much more positive experience for both you and the person you are talking to.
Speak loudly and clearly - Don't shout but make sure you speak loudly and clearly from the outset so that the other person can hear you. This might take some practice, especially if you're shy and naturally softly spoken, but it's something you need to be conscious of and if necessary - practice.
Don't rush - When we're nervous, especially when it comes to speaking, we rush. As if by saying everything quickly will just take the pain away and get it all over and done with! The problem is that if the person on the other end hasn't got a scooby what you've just mumbled at them in that split second then you'll only have to go through the agony of repeating it all again. Be confident in your approach and what you want to say and take your time (although it's worth noting that is doesn't pay to be too slow either!)
Listen and engage - Another lost art - listening! Sometimes in our panic, nervousness or general over excitement to get our point across we all to often forget to actually listen. Once you've said your bit listen to their response. And I mean actually listen! Hearing what they are saying and not just being quiet while they speak but thinking all the time about what you're going to have for lunch!
Don't beat yourself up - If it all goes wrong, you forget all of the above and are left a mumbling, quivering wreck then forget about it! Move on to the next and don't beat yourself up as you'll only manifest a greater fear for when it comes to making the next call. Like I say practice makes perfect and you won't get it right all the time so just don't worry. Don't give up - pick up that phone and start again.
What are your thoughts? Do you still believe that the phone call has value in the workplace? What would your tips be for conquering the fear of the telephone conversation?
I'd love to hear your views on the subject - leave your ideas and comments below and I look forward to reading them.