With the explosion of written communication through email, text messaging, social media and other messaging apps, there’s no surprise why millennials hate picking up the phone and making an old school phone call. That being said, you need to get over your fear of the phone.

Written communication allows us to participate in conversations at our own pace, however the phone call phobia of the young generations is clearly a problem. If you’re like me, I physically get anxiety when I have to call someone. But here are some tips that will help you feel more confident and comfortable. Not to mention help you get over your fear of the phone.

Get over your fear of the phone by preparing beforehand

There’s nothing worse than being on the phone with someone who clearly doesn’t even know why they called you. Preparing beforehand will help not only make you feel more confident, but also make the person on the other end feel more confident in you. For larger conference calls, lie out an agenda and appoint a leader to make sure you stick to it. For one-on-one calls you can create some talking points that you know you need to cover prior to hopping on the phone. This will help ensure you don’t hang up realizing you didn’t even talk about what you intended too.

Know when to make a call versus email

One of the biggest issues is knowing when communication can be done through email and when it should be done in a phone call. If something involves a complex explanation, or when you’re noticing the email you’re drafting is becoming a novel, that likely means you should pick up the phone and have a real conversation. Long emails can be overwhelming and confusing, plus they can end up involving a lot of back and forth, which creates more work.

However, on the other side, picking up a phone to call someone every time you just need to ask or tell them something short and straight forward can get overwhelming and annoying. If it can be in an email versus scheduling a phone conversation for something simple, put it in an email! No one likes being in meeting after meeting, especially when that meeting could’ve been put in a few sentences in an email. 

Be human

No one wants to talk to a robot that feels like they’re reading off a script. Remember to be human when you are on the phone. Think of the way you talk in a text message. You likely have some back and forth banter or small talk with people on a regular basis, this should also carry over into regular phone conversations too. Have a real conversation with the person, ask them how they are, about specific things you know they’re doing, etc. This will also help with building a better relationship with the person.

Keep it short

This can be much easier for those that aren’t phone people. Phone people are the type of people who can legitimately talk to you for hours on the phone when really all they need is half the time to get their point across. Although you want to build a rapport with the person on the other end of the line, you also want to not waste their time and get to the point of why you’re calling.

Slow down

This is an important reminder for those that get anxiety when thinking of having a phone conversation. One of the best ways to overcome this fear and to sound confident is to slow down. Often when we are anxious or scared, we seem to ramble and talk really fast. This can come across to someone that we are nervous. Instead, taking time to breathe and properly think through and articulate your points. This helps make yourself sound calm, cool and collected. Don’t forget to breathe!

Phones don’t have to be intimidating. Lets face it, as much as talking on the phone is becoming less and less popular, it’s still sometimes mandatory to get a job done. Practice makes perfect. So instead of hitting “ignore” each time you get a call, put yourself out there. Force yourself out of that comfort zone. Eventually it will become more natural, just like how texting or emailing did.