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Why Some People Are Afraid Of Talking On The Phone

Why Some People Are Afraid Of Talking On The Phone

Today’s society communicates more than any previous generation, however it also “communicates” the least at the same time. Before text and email were invented, people either had to have face to face conversation, talk on the phone, or write letters to one another. Now, more and more people find that they prefer texting and emailing over any other form of communication. Although we communicate more, we have lost the true art of conversation. A new part of today’s problem, is phone anxiety disorder. Here are a few habits that could indicate you have phone anxiety:

  1. You often let your phone ring, only to text the caller pretending you missed their call.
  2. Your voicemail message says “don’t leave a message, just text me”
  3. You have disabled your voicemail altogether.

Why Does Phone Anxiety Exist?

1. Insecurity – When you can’t see the person you are talking to, you don’t really know how they’re reacting to your words. People can feel insecure about phone conversations because even though the person on the other end sounds like they are in agreement, they may actually be rolling their eyes at what you are saying.

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2. Social Awkwardness – The thought of running out of things to say can strike fear into a person’s heart at the very mention of talking on the phone. Dead air is one of the worst things that can happen to someone with phone anxiety!

3. Distraction – Some people need to type out their responses in a text message, or see the person to whom they are speaking to, in order to stay focused on the conversation. Distractions while on the phone can be a huge problem because there could be so many different things happening around you, you may end up losing track of what the other person had been saying for the last good amount of time. It’s embarrassing and awkward to have to admit that you weren’t paying attention, and then ask them to repeat their story.

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4. Ending the call – Some people with phone anxiety struggle with how to end calls. You need to hang up the phone, but because you feel awkward, winding down the conversation ends up being blunt or clumsy, causing you even more anxiety.

5. Lack of control – Texting and emailing allow you to have total control over what you are saying and how you are generally being perceived. You can plan out your responses, take your time, read over what you’ve written, and re-write parts that could possibly be taken the wrong way- or decide not to respond at all! With a phone conversation, none of the options above are possible.

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What Can You Do About Your Phone Anxiety?

Psychologists have a number of suggestions as to how people who suffer from phone anxiety can deal with their problem:

  1. Remember you are not alone. Psychologists report that phone anxiety disorder is extremely common, so the chances are pretty high that the person on the other end could also be feeling anxious talking to you! Think about how you can help the other person through their own phone anxiety, and it might even help you forget about your own.
  2. Figure out why talking on the phone makes you anxious. Sometimes the root of the problem has nothing to do with the problem itself. For example, you might have suffered rejection over the phone earlier in life, and what you are really afraid of is experiencing that rejection again, not actually speaking on the phone! Deal with the root of the issue, and the symptoms of the problem will go away.
  3. Take baby steps. If you have an issue, it can take a while to fully deal with it. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t seem to overcome your phone anxiety right away. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction, so don’t despise small beginnings! Start slow, and work your way up. Try ordering take-out over the phone instead of doing it online this week. You will never see the person on the other end, so if you mess up a little bit, it doesn’t even matter. Once you don’t feel nervous about it, you can move on to more serious phone calls.
  4. Change the way you think. Someone wise once said, “If your way of thinking has brought you to a place you don’t like, then have another thought! Think again!” Changing the way you think can seem like a daunting task, but according to psychologists, it is possible. You literally have to rewire your brain to associate talking on the phone as a normal thing to do, instead of associating this activity with fear and anxiety. The only way to do this is to face your fear. Don’t worry though, baby steps are still recommended.

Featured photo credit: woman-calling-with-her-phone-picjumbo-com via picjumbo

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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