This week I was asked to help people overcome anxiety about making a phone call, perhaps a cold-call, as part of their work day. I’ll share what I said with you.
I often help prepare my client to speak to a reporter on the telephone.
- Practice your conversation “opener.” This is a critical 20 second time slot, where you get the other person interested in what you have to say. Lose it and you’ll have a hard time recovering.
- Prepare. Know your story. Know your material. Be ready to answer questions. Prepare by not only writing this material, but verbalizing. Get used to saying the words!
- Stand up during the call, for a higher energy level. It will keep your voice strong, and yes, smiles can be heard through the phone line. So, smile at the appropriate times, and you’ll put yourself and the other person at ease.
- Wear a headset to have hands free.
- Make “bullet point” notes, and have them at hand. Check-off each point as you cover it. The ones yet to be covered will be all the more apparent.
- If you need a script – for back-up – by all means, have one handy. I don’t advise using a script exclusively. However, if the caller is nervous, a script with the correct language is a great security blanket — if only to pull one or two lines from it and feel more comfortable about continuing.
Now, for my own tale — I did some phone banking for a candidate during the New Hampshire primary. I understand the apprehension of picking up the receiver and making that — particularly the first — call! All of my advice applied to me, and the more prepared and practiced I was, the better the outcome.