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Don’t be afraid, pick up the phone and make the call…Gaining trust, building business/personal connections fast

Building fast business and personal relationship

As some of us who’s been in doing business for a while and over the many years of experience, I learned a valuable lesson in building relationships and gaining trust and establishing what I describe as sustainable business relationship in many ways I can sum it up by saying, you need to present yourself as a decent a trust worthy human being. With that in mind we need to make absolutely certain that these characteristics takes the centre stage in any form of communication we conduct.

We need to open these communications channels (Email, phone, and face to face meetings) positively toward the intended recipient. People need to know you to trust you (that’s a given I know). So as it is obvious the easier form of communication (I call it least committal, in terms of personal emotional commitment) is the email, it is dry form of a communication, some of these emails now a days are not even written by human (Robo computer generated) how can intended recipient really connect with someone or build a relationship based on only using email? Trust me I’ve received some emails from real person you’d swear it was generated by a computer program…At the end of the day and as a minimum the intended recipient on the other side of our communication channel needs to know we really exist and we are a human (I stress the work Human) which I will explain further here.

My preferred method of quickly connecting with someone, the first time I reach out to someone, I make sure I follow my email with a phone call. That way the communication is now someone concrete and the email message gain a degree of legitimacy. However many people don’t like to talk on the phone and core of their job (any job now a days) requires them to talk on the phone for various reasons.  In my today’s blog I want to address the issue of: Phone Phobia

Not being able to talk on the phone has many reasons:

1-      Not enough time
2-      I don’t feel like it
3-      Or a more serious issue: Social Anxiety Disorder

I am going to assume the first 2 reasons are easy to solve, and we don’t need to waist precious keystrokes to discuss them. I am going however, to focus on the Social Anxiety Disorder and try to she some light on this important subject.

Many people may not like talking on the phone, or may even have a ‘phone fear.’ But a fear of talking on the phone may actually be considered a phone phobia when your hesitance to make and receive calls causes you to experience symptoms such as severe anxiety, shortness of breath, or a racing heart.

 Those who do not have social anxiety disorder may be afraid to use the phone; they may be more comfortable in direct social interactions, perhaps due to the fact that face-to-face settings allow them to be able to read non-verbal cues, like facial expressions. However, those with social anxiety disorder obviously suffer from the opposite. If you are dealing with this condition, a phone fear may reflect issues you are contending with regarding interaction with others at large.

Over the past few weeks I have been hearing (On several occasions) that some people don’t like to talk on the phone.

After doing some research on the topic, I found the following suggestions as treatment for the condition:

Treatment Options
Treatment for phone phobia can include:  Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, such as cognitive restructuring and exposure training. In addition, there are many self-help strategies that you can use to cope with anxiety about using the phone.

Cognitive restructuring involves challenging beliefs and replacing negative thoughts with more constructive alternatives. For example, if you constantly worry that you will bother the other person when making a phone call; cognitive restructuring might have you consider the evidence that this is actually true.

Why would the person answer the phone if he was too busy? Why would he have asked you to call if he didn’t want to talk to you? Eventually, you would reach the conclusion that it is unlikely you are bothering the other person or that he doesn’t want to speak with you.

Exposure traininginvolves the gradual practice of progressively more difficult behaviors. In the case of telephone phobia, a hierarchy of fears might look something like the one below (listed from easiest to most difficult). Each behavior is practiced until you are comfortable and can move on to the next most difficult one.

Telephone Fear Hierarchy
1.Call a number that you know will only have a recorded message, like a customer service line.
2.Call a family member or friend that you know well.
3.Call a business and ask a straightforward question, such as when they close.
4.Call someone that you don’t know well with a simple question.
5.Call someone that you don’t know well about a complicated issue.
6.Make each of the previous types of calls in front of one person.
7.Make each of the previous types of calls in front of a group of people.

Your hierarchy might be different depending on whether you find friends or strangers more difficult to talk to, and whether it is more difficult for you to talk on the phone in front of someone else.

It may be difficult to create a hierarchy to deal with the fear of answering calls. If you typically avoid answering the phone, one strategy would be to use a caller ID unit to identify who is calling. You could then start by answering calls from people that you are most comfortable with and letting other calls go to voice mail. Eventually, you would progress to answering more difficult calls.

Ideally you should practice cognitive-behavioral techniques under the supervision of a trained therapist. If meeting with a CBT counselor isn’t possible, or if you have already participated in CBT and are looking for additional ways to cope, the following strategies may come in handy.


Coping methods:

•Put a smile on your face before making and receiving calls. This may sound silly, but many say it helps them relax and even contributes to conveying a sense of pleasantness to the person you’re speaking with.

•Reward yourself after making difficult calls by spending some time doing something that you enjoy.

•Visualize yourself successfully making or receiving calls. Imagine a positive conversation and feeling good afterward.

•If you are concerned about interrupting someone when you call, ask whether you are catching the person at a bad time. If the person is in the middle of something, this gives him the chance to offer to call you back.

•If someone says “no” or turns down a request, realize that it could be for many reasons that have nothing to do with you. Try not to read too much into the actions of someone else.

•Do a bit of preparation before making a call, but don’t go overboard. Know generally what you are going to say, but try to anticipate that the conversation may not go exactly as you have planned. If there are important points that you need to bring up, make sure to write those down and keep them handy.

•Realize that you don’t always have to answer the phone. If someone is calling you at a bad time, or if you are too anxious to talk, it is acceptable to let calls go to voice mail from time to time.

•Know that the phone may not always be the best method of communication. If you need to have a record of your conversation or if you want to give the other person time to reflect before responding, email may be the better choice. However, if the issue you need to discuss is complex, emotional, or involves a lot of back-and-forth, calling or meeting face-to-face are best.

I hope this helps…and until next time…keep reading my blog and have fun

Robin
Coping Strategies
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