Telephone anxiety

Written by Lise Kryger. Posted in Anxiety, Blog

Would you go through snow and ice just to avoid having to call and make an appointment?  Is your telephonesessions ultra-short? Do you know that it is the fear of speaking in phones? And how it can be easier to talk on the phone?

What are the symptoms of anxiety of speaking on the phone?Telephone anxiety

  • Heart beat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweaty palms
  • Speech impediment
  • Shaky voice
  • Butterflies in the stomach
  • Thoughts that are constantly circling about ending the call
  • Avoiding phone calls

What causes the anxiety of speaking on the phone?

The reasons are individual but arises most often in a situation you have experienced as very unpleasant. Perhaps you have experienced being called by someone who has asked you a question you do not not feel comfortable saying no to because the person was waiting at the other end of the phone.

Perhaps you have experienced being put in a dilemma over the phone, and answered even though you had not found the answer yet. It may also be that the lack of body language and eye contact gives you an unresty feeling and easily come to misunderstand the person you are talking to. Or perhaps a form of performance anxiety occurs because you are “on” as soon as the receiver picks up the phone.

The reasons could be many – but there is always the opportunity to feel better about it if you have the will and practice.

Tips to make it easier to talk on the phone

  1. It’s okay to say no, even if you regret afterward, and dials again
  2. You may say – “I need time to respond to you – I’ll call you back later”
  3. Use open-ended questions – it helps the other to respond thoroughly and that you allow you to listen
  4. Listen to the other person’s voice and get the focus to what the other says right here and now
  5. Mindfulness: Use 5-10 min. before you call to get focused on the present moment, so you’re not thinking of future catastrophic thoughts
  6. Practice call. Find out what kind of  telephone conversation that is easiest for you to complete and practice – preferably several times a day. Get used to the situation
  7. Practice not avoiding, but try again and that you again. Avoiding reinforces anxiety
  8. Do not let someone else take the phone – take it! To let others take it for you is to shed responsibility. Take responsibility and be good at it instead.
  9. Consider the following: What is the worst that can happen? And what is the probability that it’s really happening? So what?
  10. Write 5 positive things down afterward that support you in your call and that you did your best
  11. Remember that it’s okay to be nervous,  speak incorrectly, or ask to be allowed to call a better time for you.
  12. Give yourself time to let it go. Accept that it is a difficult thing, but remember that it may be easier with practice

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Lise Kryger

Owner and founder of and

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