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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 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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