Call me a millennial, call me a bad business owner, call me whatever you want.
But the phone is far from my favorite — whether it's a client call or my grandma.
Email is my jam. Texting is right behind it. There's something about the freedom to slowly articulate my answer than in the urgency that comes from the phone.
But guess what, it's a shocker, but the world doesn't revolve around me — or you.
As a business owner, I have to suck it up and be on my phone daily. And more than likely, so do you.
Here's what you need to know to help conquer the fear.
Don't give out your phone number.
For as long as you can, for whatever you can, keep the majority of communication where you communicate best. If that's email, that's okay.
But there will be that moment when the method of communication needs to change up (for any number or reasons). You'll have to get the courage to get on a call.
And even when that happens you can avoid giving someone your real phone number (that they'll then be able to use and call at any random time they want). Grab a free google voice number, have your chat over on Talky.
Schedule it out so you can mentally prep.
When you have to actually suck it up and pick up the phone, I want to introduce you to your new best friend — Calendly, Acuity, or old school back and forth emails.
All these tools make it pretty easy to schedule a call, so that you'll know exactly when you'll have to belt out, "Hello, from the other side."
I try and schedule out any call I can (not just business). This gives me the mental space to pep myself up for anywhere from 10-50 minutes of unpredictability And it also gives me the control to limit my calls. It exhauts me to take more than two client calls in one day. So once I'm booked up, I'll block off the rest of that day.
Don't just mentally prep.
If you're anything like me (and since you're this far into the post, I'm thinking you are), your biggest fear is dead air. That thing where you know the other person is right there but no one is saying a single thing — all you maybe hear is some heavy, anxious breathing.
If you're on a virtual "coffee chat" — think of a few questions that you'd love to talk about with the person on the other end. Even if it comes off a little rehearsed, they're going to appreciate you took the time to even think about doing such a silly and introverted thing.
If it's a client or customer call — leave a space on your schedule to ask what they want to chat about and any big questions they have in advance. This way you can research out answers, rather than bs'ing in the moment.
And if you feel like you're about to bs, don't.
It's totally okay to say, "I hear you here — I want to put a little thought and research into this before I respond. I'll have an answer for you next time we chat."
This seems like one of those "well duh" headlines. But I had never really thought of that as an option until I was discussing my phone fears with an extrovert one day.
Being the expert means being thoughtful and educated. Don't be #fakenews. Take the time and do the research. There's nothing but merit in that.
You're not going to die.
Just do it.
Even after reading this post, you're still going to try and talk yourself out of every request for a call you get. You're going to answer voicemails with emails. You're going to try fake sick (or actually feel sick to your stomach) before a virtual coffee date.
But you need to just suck it up. You won't die. You'll make the person on the other end's day better (almost always). And you'll be proud of yourself.