Telephone Confidence: Practice Makes It Easy

Even if you don’t think you have a great voice or pleasing phone manners and trip over your words, you can enjoy the process of becoming increasingly confident on the phone.

Mindset Matters

It’s important to accept where you’re at, flaws and all. It makes it easier to be willing to practice so that you become a more confident speaker and better listener on the phone.

person on telephone
Telephone confidence comes from practicing while being self-accepting rather than self-critical.

While it’s important to accept rather than be upset by your flaws, it’s also important to acknowledge and feel good about your strengths.

What are your strengths? Are you eloquent or a good listener?

Being honest with oneself doesn’t mean being hard on oneself but accepting the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The more you practice on the phone while accepting yourself, the more confident you’ll get.

Practice Makes Perfect

So after I made my first phone call nearly a month ago to express support of a bill, I felt more comfortable making another phone call a few days ago to support another important animal legislation. Instead of writing a script this time, I simply jotted down the following notes:

(619) 231-9712

Sen. Feinstein

Support legislation to cut federal funding for VA’s painful and wasteful dog experiments.

Then without further ado, I picked up the phone and called the number to reach Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. As expected, Sen. Feinstein wasn’t the one who answered the phone. Instead, it was an assistant.

Without worry or hesitation, I identified myself (my name and where I’m calling from), and then I stated the purpose of my call which was to express my support for the “legislation to cut federal funding for VA’s painful and wasteful dog experiments.”

smiley with teeth
Put on a happy voice!

The person on the phone had a cordial tone in her voice when she responded to me, and that made me feel good. However, I try not to allow others to influence me too much.

What made it easier this time around calling a political representative’s office is that I learned from the first time around the following:

  • The assistant will be the one who picks up the phone, at least that’s most likely. Knowing who is going to pick up the phone helps me know what to say.
  • I know the procedure. That is, it’s a simple and very brief phone conversation. I just state my support of a legislation and ask the assistant to relay the message to the senator. The only thing I’ll get asked (if I haven’t already told them) is what my name is and where I’m calling from. So there’s no pressure or expectation to chit-chat.

So How Do I Sound?

These days when I’m on the phone, I deliberately speak louder and with more inflection. By speaking louder and with more inflection, I feel more self-assured, and when you feel self-assured it’s more fun to speak and listen to people.

I’m sure I don’t have the voice of a good phone operator or receptionist yet, but I’m making progress and feeling more confident.  As Tony Robbins says, “Progress equals happiness.”

colorful sound waves
This may look like fabric design or abstract art, but it’s actually image of sound waves.

To make further improvement on my voice and confidence, I’ll have to record myself.

I bet I’ll cringe when I hear my voice for the first time on a recording. But I need to make a recording of my voice because it will give me something objective to work with.

I can then adjust my voice, such as adding more vocal variety.

The reason I haven’t recorded myself before isn’t because I’m afraid to face the facts of what I might sound like. It’s just that I need to figure out how to use a recording device like Screen-O-Matic. (I’m not a technical person.)

Confidence comes with more self-knowledge. Part of the reason for insecurity is because one isn’t sure how one comes across.

So once I figure out how to use Screen-O-Matic, I’ll try it out. In fact, I’ll put the recording on this website as well as YouTube. I’ll make both “Before” and “After” recordings. It will be my own vocal makeover.

Similarly, I got over camera shyness by “recording” myself again and again. That is, I took lots of selfies with a digital camera. So now I feel comfortable in front of a camera because I’ve done it many times and have more self-knowledge and acceptance of my visual image.

Unlike using digital camera, with Screen-O-Matic, the focus will be on the voice rather than visual image.

Depending on what I hear on the recording, voice improvements can be made in the following areas:

  • Enunciation
  • Projection
  • Resonance
  • Loudness
  • Pitch
  • Inflection
  • General Expressiveness

Yes, I’m sure I won’t like it when I hear my voice on a recording for the first time, but I’ll deal with it. It will be interesting to have a “Before” and “After” version of my voice recorded.

4 Replies to “Telephone Confidence: Practice Makes It Easy

  1. Jean, I was at one time really phone phobic as a teen then I got better then I got worse once texting came into vogue. NOw I usually ask people to email or text me and I don’t know why. I think it’s because I want to be able to measure my words in writing so I don’t regret anything I said, but now I know I can regret or badly phrase things even in writing and that it’s all about a state of mind. There is going to be miscommunication and misunderstanding and badly phrased things but ya accepting that will happen and not caring has to be key. I have to phone people and have to take calls to survive so knowing how I will feel better after I make the call and do it early in the day helps me push through….Anyway it’s an interesting subject I never hear people talk about. Is there a program specifically developed for people who want more phone confidence?

    1. Hi Gord, Thanks for sharing your experiences with the telephone. Maybe you’ve never heard people talk about anxiety with the telephone because they don’t like to admit having anxiety, which is why some people go to therapy instead to talk about mental stuff, even though therapy is sometimes not even helpful? In regards to whether there’s a program for people who want more phone confidence, that’s a good question. And the answer is yes! Hypnosis Downloads has an audio called “Fear of the Phone.” I’ll be trying and will write a review on that ASAP.

  2. Jean, I admit that telephone confidence is not a topic I have thought about specifically. Thank you for bringing this into to my awareness.

    I applaud your courage in calling the politician’s office. You cared enough about the cause to put yourself outside your comfort zone. Boosting your confidence was an added benefit.

    A person’s ability to communicate well with others, whether on the phone, or in any situation really, is a skill that anyone can acquire. Your website is a wonderful resource for this purpose.

    Back in my 20’s I enrolled in a public speaking course. I didn’t know it then but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made.

    I had not realized how self-conscious I was and how it affected my ability to express myself in different situations. I recommend this to anyone who wants to improve their communication skills generally. It is uncomfortable at first, but worth it. One does not need to become a public speaker to benefit from it in many ways.

    You are spot on about the importance of becoming a better listener. Often we don’t listen because we are more focused on what we will say next. People sense that we are not ‘tuned’ in to them and they lose interest in us….lol.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your informative and interesting post. ~Jude

    1. Yes, Jude, I think it will be relatively easy to call any politician’s office from now on. I just wasn’t sure what to expect the first time I made a phone call (to support a petition). I think I’m a naturally frank person and a straight shooter, so I have no trouble speaking my mind. However, I tend to get self-conscious, which can throw me off.

      Yes, I do care about the cause. I think this bill is sure to pass, actually.

      You mention public speaking. Interestingly, I’m not especially self-conscious about public speaking. But I know some people are. Even people who don’t have social anxiety in general might have an issue with public speaking. I think what it is is a part of me enjoys attention, so I don’t have a particular problem with it. I have more generalized everyday social anxiety, due to being a natural introvert and a loner.

      However, I think I see where public speaking can help in terms of general social confidence. It can help develop an effective voice as well as effective body language. This can then carry over to everyday situations where one feels more effective and confident.

      I find that when I’m being a better listener, I’m less self-conscious as well.

      Thank you. 🙂

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