Is your office suffering from ‘telephonophobia’?

Have you ever made an effort to dodge a phone call? In the business world, it’s unavoidable. While some people eagerly anticipate productive client or sales calls, others may find them extremely stressful. If you relate more to the latter, you might be experiencing telephonophobia.

Many individuals share a fear of phone calls, indicating that telephonophobia is becoming increasingly prevalent. According to The Wall Street Journal, this issue is particularly common among workers under 40 who prefer texting, Zooming, Slacking, or emailing over making phone calls. Some individuals may feel anxious about expressing themselves or worry about saying the wrong thing. Others are turning to therapy to alleviate their call-related anxiety and seek advice on how to properly conclude a conversation. Many employers simply find this aversion to phone calls frustrating.

Some individuals experiencing sore thumbs and Zoom fatigue are advocating for the revival of voice calls, emphasizing their significance as a middle ground in business. They argue that video meetings can be excessive at times, while a simple typed message may not suffice.

Phone avoiders argue that any non-essential conversation should be conducted via email, rather than face-to-face or on-camera. For many individuals under 40, the sudden intrusion of a phone call can be uncomfortable, as they are more accustomed to communicating through text and instant messaging. They also find video calls less stressful, as they are typically planned and often involve multiple participants.

Phone avoiders find video calls less stressful

Phone anxiety can impact the customer experience

Nowadays, consumers hold brands to high standards, expecting a seamless experience from start to finish. Phone calls play a crucial role in customer satisfaction, with 65% preferring to contact companies via phone. Additionally, 80% of individuals prioritize speed, convenience, expertise, and friendliness in a positive customer experience. When employees experience phone anxiety, it can hinder their responsiveness and communication with customers, leading to lower customer retention rates.

Telephonophobia influences workplace performance

Telephone communication is an essential part of the business world, whether a company operates in a virtual environment or prefers traditional methods. However, employees with phone anxiety may find it challenging to cope. Telephonophobia can lead to anxiety and impact work performance. According to a study by the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, 56% of workers experience anxiety that affects their performance at work. Ultimately, fear of phone conversations can negatively impact productivity, performance, and career advancement.

Tips to help you overcome telephonophobia

If you are facing telephonophobia or are a dedicated business leader seeking to enhance your team’s phone skills, consider implementing these expert strategies to conquer phone anxiety and boost job performance.

Cognitive behavioural therapy 

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been proven to be successful in treating various issues, such as anxiety disorders like telephonophobia. The treatment typically includes recognizing and comprehending unhelpful or irrational thoughts, as well as engaging in systematic desensitization. Through the guidance of a therapist, individuals with severe phone anxiety can address the root of their fears and learn to modify their thought patterns to be more rational and beneficial.

Exposure and practice

Pre-phone call jitters may not always indicate a serious anxiety issue, but rather a lack of practice in the age of text messaging dominance. Increasing your phone conversations can boost your confidence and improve your communication skills.

Breathe and pace yourself

Prioritizing your mental well-being is crucial in managing telephonophobia and its associated symptoms. It is important to take a moment to relax and regulate your breathing before making or receiving a call. Try calming yourself by taking a few deep breaths, counting to four for each inhale and exhale. Remember to pace yourself by limiting consecutive calls to no more than ten. Additionally, engaging in mindfulness activities like deep breathing exercises, meditation, avoiding overthinking, and rewarding yourself with a short break can be beneficial before and after phone conversations.

Considering other methods

Individuals experiencing severe telephonophobia may find that utilizing alternative communication methods can enhance their performance and prevent anxiety from hindering their success. If phone calls are unavoidable, hiring a virtual receptionist to manage incoming calls can allow you to concentrate on tasks that align more with your strengths.

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