Do you find that you’re better face to face than talking to people on the phone? Talking on the phone can be more challenging than face to face for many reasons, and some people can experience a specific phobia regarding speaking on the phone. Three key features which make phone speaking more challenging are:
You can’t see each other: We don’t get to see the other person’s facial expression, so it’s harder to read their reactions. They can’t see our facial expression or gestures, such as nodding, or eye contact.
Speech quality is reduced over the phone: This is because phones do not transmit all the sounds that are part of the human voice, particularly very low frequencies and very high frequencies. This explains why it can be easier to be misheard over the phone, and also why we find it so hard to recognise letters over the phone, and so need to pair them with words, such as using the radio alphabet, e.g. A for alpha.
The buck stops with your voice: The success of how you communicate rests solely on the sound of your voice. This can feel like a huge amount of pressure, and create stress and tension in the body. It can also be particularly challenging in an era when we can find that the mobile is used for anything but making and receiving calls! However, to flip this another way, it’s a wonderful opportunity to maximise your voice as a way to connect with others, as through our voice we can readily show warmth, connection and interest…an emoji would never come close!
If you want to improve at your phone skills, below are some tips to help you to be more successful when you speak on the phone.
1) Connect with your body, before you make or answer a call. Put your feet on the floor. Notice how your body is touching the chair, notice your head, notice what your arms are doing. Taking 20 seconds to slowing scan down through your body and just connect with it.
2) Wait before you answer or dial a number. Rather than jumping to answer the phone, let it ring a few times, and just breathe. Again, this gets you grounded and more present. The same applies before you call someone. Take a few seconds to just breathe.
3) Facial expression: Smile…No the person can’t see you, but smiling, will do a couple of things:
- Helps you feel happier and more at ease (it’s very effective…try it!)
- Help you convey warmth, a sense of connection with the other person
- Helps your speech to be clearer, as you are likely to speak with more energy.
4) Say your name clearly. Do you ever pick up voice mails from people and you can’t get their name from it…even when you listen a few times? Our names are so familiar to us that we don’t think about how we say them, and we don’t do them justice. There’s a great Ted Talk by Laura Sicola called ‘Want to sound like a leader? Start by saying your name right.’ which is well worth watching.
5) (optional) Have a listen to this great song : by Prince, sung by Alicia Keys How come you don’t call me!
Do you have any tips to add? Do let me know.
If you feel you need more help at speaking with more confidence, be it on the phone or face to face, then check out my Speak with confidence services.Find out more